Las Vegas battles leave Fil-Ams in bittersweet victory By:Abner Galino

Las Vegas battles leave Fil-Ams in bittersweet victory By:Abner Galino

Philippine Senator and “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao throws a right hook to Jessie Vargas (left) who lost his WBO welterweight title to the older Filipino 8-division world title holder during their Saturday meeting at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Photo: Jun Camacho

 

Bittersweet.

Putting two Filipino boxing icons in one fight event, it turned out, wasn’t a good idea after all. Well, at least from the standpoint of many Filipino Americans. Because they were caught between the sweet feeling of celebrating Manny Pacquiao’s  new world welterweight title and the bitterness of commiserating with Nonito Donaire, 33, over his controversial lost of the super bantamweight crown.

The ESPN unofficial scorecard has Donaire winning at 115-113. However, the judges saw the fight differently and gave their nods to Donaire’s 24-year-old opponent Jessie Magdaleno with scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112.

The scoring of one of the three judges, Adalaide Byrd, was so bad, it prompted Top Rank Promotions boss Bob Arum to call for her disqualification.

“If there is one thing to say, because it really troubles me. You can complain about the judges and be a sore loser, so I’m not complaining about any decision because they are all correct. But the judge in the Nonito Donaire-Magdaleno fight, who gave Donaire only two rounds should never be allowed to judge again. The other two judges had Magdaleno winning very, very close. You can argue that was correct or Donaire winning close was correct, but to only give Nonito Donaire two rounds in that fight you have to wonder what that judge was seeing,” Arum sternly said during the post-fight press conference at the Thomas and Mack Center ‘s provisional media hub.

Donaire raised his hands in celebration at the end of his 12-round bout with Magdaleno, only to be disappointed when ring announcer Michael Buffer announced that the World Boxing Organization (WBO) has a new super bantamweight champion.

A thunderous mix of cheering and booing erupted inside the arena.

A CONTROVERSIAL DECISION. Donaire was pinned to the ropes but managed to escape the onslaught of the younger Magdaleno. The ESPN unofficial scorecard has Donaire winning at 115-113. However, the judges saw the fight differently and gave their nods to Donaire’s 24-year-old opponent Jessie Magdaleno with scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112. Photo by Jun Camacho

A CONTROVERSIAL DECISION. Donaire was pinned to the ropes but managed to escape the onslaught of the younger Magdaleno. The ESPN unofficial scorecard has Donaire winning at 115-113. However, the judges saw the fight differently and gave their nods to Donaire’s 24-year-old opponent Jessie Magdaleno with scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112. Photo by Jun Camacho

The Filipino boxing idol hurriedly stepped out of the ring but stopped at the steps to acknowledge fans. Donaire vowed to the cheering supporters and ran to the dugout. He didn’t show up for the post press conference.

Donaire relentlessly pursued Magdaleno around the ring from round 1 to round 12, landing occasional clear and hard punches to Magdaleno’s head and body.

Magdaleno, for his part, fought well and also landed his body shots and was able to hurt Donaire in the 9th round –hammering Donaire with a string of punches while the Filipino boxer was caught in the ropes.

A  former “Fighter of the Year” Donaire slid to 37-4 with 24 knockouts. Magdaleno improved to 24-0 with 17 knockouts.

The sweet part of the evening came later with the anticipated victory of Pacquiao who climbed the ring at -550 favorite

– which means a $550 bet on the Filipino legend could only win $100.

Pacquiao, 37, floored Jessie Vargas, 28, in the 2nd round with a right straight. But the Mexican fighter survived the round and went to on to put up a decent defense to Pacquiao’s relentless onslaught.

Although Pacquiao won via unanimous decision, Arum also noted bad scoring from one of the three judges assigned to the main event fight.

Arum appropriately pointed out that while the judges seemed to “saw the fight like everybody else,” one judge scored it six rounds for Pacquiao and six rounds for Vargas, narrowly giving the win to the Filipino fighter by virtue of knocking down Vargas in the second round.

Philippine Senator and “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao delivers an uppercut to Jessie Vargas who lost his WBO welterweight title to the older Filipino 8-division world title holder during their Saturday meeting at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Photo: Jun Camacho

Philippine Senator and “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao delivers an uppercut to Jessie Vargas who lost his WBO welterweight title to the older Filipino 8-division world title holder during their Saturday meeting at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Photo: Jun Camacho

“What fight was that judge watching?” Arum asked in exasperation.

“The Commission here prides itself on having the best this and the best that, should have a seminar to show these judges what to watch out for. Its easier for me to say that here because I’m not saying you stole the fight from my fighter, but it goes against the credibility of the sport when you have in these two individual judges who scored the fight so much differently from what everyone saw and what the other two individual judges saw,” Arum pointed out.

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