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Marquez settles old score with Pacquiao in Vegas

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Patrick Hyland was beaten by Dominican Javier Fortuna in the preliminary bouts.

Image: Eric Jamison/AP/Press Association Images

FOUR DIVISION WORLD champ Juan Manuel Marquez avenged two earlier defeats with a stunning sixth-round knockout of Manny Pacquiao on Saturday in Las Vegas that surprisingly turned into a slug fest.

Marquez, his face a bloody mess from a barrage of lefts by Pacquiao, came back from a fifth round knockdown with a hard right of his own in the final second of the sixth that sent the Filipino pugilist face first to the canvas.

“I am very, very happy,” said Marquez, who fought with a broken nose for the last few rounds. “How do you think I feel? I am very happy. This is a result of all the hard work I did.”

There was no title on the line but plenty of pride for Marquez as the future Hall of Famers squared off for the fourth time in eight years.

Mexico’s Marquez lost a controversial decision to eight division world champ Pacquiao 13 months ago. He lost a tight split decision in 2008 and they fought to a draw in their first fight in 2004.

“I think this fight was one of my best victories absolutely,” Marquez said.

Marquez, 39, said he almost retired after the loss to Pacquiao in November 2011.

“I was going to retire but now I am happy I didn’t,” Marquez said.

Marquez, who had been knocked down four times in their three previous fights, knocked Pacquiao down in the third round Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden arena.

But the tables quickly turned and Marquez was knocked down in the fifth. Pacquiao hit him with a thunderous left that sent Marquez reeling backwards across the ring. He touched one glove to the canvas but managed to stay on his feet.

A bloodied Marquez barely survived to the bell as Pacquiao pressed the attack, sensing that victory was within his grasp.

While Pacquiao says he wants a fifth fight, Marquez said all he wants to do is enjoy the win and rest.

“I am not thinking about any fight. I just want to celebrate,” he said.

“Right now in my future I don’t know what is coming but I am going to rest and I am going to celebrate with my family and my friends in Mexico.

“I am just thinking of the celebration rather than who I am going to fight next.”

Pacquaio is committed to fighting into 2013 but not after that. He also has his political future to consider.

He won a congressional seat in the Philippines and presides over a poverty-stricken Sarangani province where he comes from.

Pacquiao, who turns 34 on December 17, is running unopposed for another term in Congress. He will be eligible to run for the Senate by the end of that term. If he so chooses, he can become president of the Philippines by 2022.

Pacquiao said in the ring after the loss he would fight again. But his trainer Freddie Roach said prior to the bout that if they lost Saturday he would consider telling Pacquiao to think about retirement.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Paddy Hyland was disappointingly beaten on the undercard by Dominican Javier Fortuna in the fight for the interim WBA Featherweight Championship.

The bout went the distance, with the three judges unanimously deciding that Fortuna took the win. It was scored 118-110, 116-112, and 115-113.

Hyland was content to be on the defensive for the majority of the fight, though he did play the aggressor at various points in the middle rounds, but the fact that Fortuna landed the harder and more effective punches saw the match swing in his favour.

(additional reporting by Tony Cuddihy)

- © AFP, 2012

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