by Frank Warren, courtesy of The Sun
MANNY PACQUIAO, generally regarded as the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, was made to looked human again against Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas.
He has looked invincible winning world titles in a record eight weight divisions, beating much bigger men such as Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, but Mexican warrior Marquez seems to have his number.
Just like Ken Norton was Muhammad Ali's bogeyman in their three fights, Marquez has the style and know-how to trouble the Filipino.
The first fight in 2004 was a controversial draw, then Pacquiao won a just-as-contentious split decision four years later and now another controversial 12-round majority decision last Saturday.
One judge had it 116-112, another 115-113, while the third judge scored it 114-114.
In my opinion Marquez, 38, just nicked it, but Pacquiao did come on strong in the later rounds. The majority of ringside Press had Marquez the winner, as did the partisan Mexican crowd who booed and threw cups of beer and soda when the result was announced. Even Amir Khan, Pacquiao's friend in Freddie Roach's Wildcard gym, thought he'd lost it by one or two rounds.
Pacquiao, 32, who is in the top 25 of Forbes' highest-paid athletes, got a 22 million dollar guarantee plus a slice of the pay-per-view profits — and he could top 52 million.
Maybe all the commitments Pacquiao now has outside the ring have taken their toll — he is a congressman in his native Philippines, has multiple blue-chip sponsors to keep happy, a new fruit produce company he has just launched, as well as a singing career.
Marquez said he didn't know what else he needed to do to win and was thinking about retirement.
Promoter Bob Arum reckons the fight surpassed 1.3m PPV buys in America and is looking at a fourth instalment.
But the match everybody wants is a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jnr super-fight, which has to happen sooner rather than later.
Mayweather's counter-punching style is similar to Marquez's, only quicker and with more power. Against Pacquiao, the Mexican repeatedly counter-punched and landed his own right hand at will. One interested observer is Ricky Burns, who is the interim WBO world lightweight title-holder while Marquez holds full champion status.
I expect Marquez to vacate the title, but if he does carry on he will be ordered to face the Scot, who is a hot property following his great win over Michael Katsidis this month.
People have asked me if interims are good for boxing and I think they are. If a world champion is unable to defend the title because of an injury, medical or legal reason and is out of action, the division becomes stagnant.
Now if the champion is ready to return he must fight the interim champion or vacate.
Early this year WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly won the interim title. He had been sitting around for over a year waiting for champion Juergen Braehmer, and was declared full holder when the German failed to show up for their fight.
Great rivals James DeGale and George Groves will share a ring again, but not against each other, when they joint-headline on December 9.
They were due to feature at London's Excel but the show had to be moved to the Liverpool Echo Arena because of Olympic event testing.
I've promoted a few times in Liverpool this year and the city seems to be Britain's fight capital at the moment.
HEAVYWEIGHT Tyson Fury needs to work on his defence if he's going to move up a level.
Neven Pajkic, who only had five stoppage wins out of 16, found the British and Commonwealth champ too easy to hit last Saturday and put him down in the second round.
Fury dropped Pajkic twice in the next round before the ref stepped in, but he'll have to be better for the Klitschkos.