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Boxing needs a brilliant Manny Pacquiao now

November 9, 2011 |  4:45 pm


Boxing's greatest hits of the last three months.

Aug. 13, Las Vegas: Abner Mares punches Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko square in the groin in the 12th round of their world bantamweight title tournament final -- an unquestionable low blow worthy of a point deduction.

Referee Russell Mora instead awards Mares a knockdown, inciting outrage among fans inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and Mares wins a decision. A sanctioning body is so flabbergasted by the horrific call that it orders a rematch Dec. 3 at Honda Center in Anaheim.

Sept. 17, Las Vegas: World welterweight champion Victor Ortiz, failing to establish a plan to penetrate Floyd Mayweather's defense, head butts the unbeaten fighter. Mayweather, visibly angered, waits for referee Joe Cortez's first indication that fighting can resume and unloads two punches to a distracted Ortiz that knock him out and end the fight in the fourth round.

Oct. 15, Staples Center: Chad Dawson lifts Bernard Hopkins off the canvas, and Hopkins slams backward, suffering a separated shoulder that ends the world light-heavyweight championship fight in the second round, sparking massive jeering in the arena. The WBC later refuses to install Dawson as the new champion, even though he was named the winner in the ring.

This leaves boxing's top performer, Manny Pacquiao, to end the carnage of bad big fights Saturday when he and Juan Manuel Marquez renew their rivalry in Las Vegas with their third fight.

"I'm sure one thing about this guy [Pacquiao], you know he'll show up and it will be exciting while it lasts," Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said. "I don't think we'll have to worry this time about someone not showing up."

Pacquiao, who fought Marquez to a draw in 2004 and beat the Mexican fighter in a split decision in 2008, said he has watched the recent bad stretch of major bouts.

He said he realizes boxing fans are looking to him for something better.

"That's right, and I'm praying for that -- that I can give everyone the good fight they deserve," Pacquiao said.


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-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: Manny Pacquiao, left, and Juan Manuel Marquez pose during a news conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Credit: Steve Marcus / Reuters