LAS VEGAS, Nev — Manny Pacquiao scored a unanimous decision over Marco Antonio Barrera in their super featherweight clash Saturday, sending the Mexican icon into retirement.
Two judges scored it 118-109 for Pacquiao who retained his WBC international super featherweight crown.
The third judge had it 115-112.
It was Pacquiao’s second victory over Barrera after an 11th round technical knockout in November 2003.
President Arroyo led Filipinos in lauding Pacquiao saying the people’s champ is the Philippines’ gift to the world of boxing.
"Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao once again buoyed the nation’s spirit with his excellent fighting form and indomitable spirit. We join all Filipinos in celebrating his well-deserved victory," she said.
"It was a good fight," said Pacquiao.
"It was different from our first fight. He is a good, smart boxer. I knew he’d have to box me, and that’s what he did."
Although the bout was widely expected to be explosive, it was frequently tactical, with Barrera working behind a steady jab and circling to his left to stay away from Pacquiao’s powerful southpaw left hand.
However, after a relatively cautious opening four rounds, the fight came to life in the fifth.
Barrera, a former three-time world champion, landed an uppercut.
Pacquiao responded with a left and the two exchanged furious combinations against the ropes.
The sixth round saw more toe-to-toe action but in the succeeding rounds Pacquiao asserted control, moving to his right to cut Barrera off and unloading flurries of punches before the Mexican could counter.
In the 11th, a solid left from Pacquiao drove Barrera to the ropes but he fought back with a flurry before being hurt again with another right-left combination.
As referee Tony Weeks moved in to separate them from a clinch, Barrera threw a punch on the break, causing Weeks to halt the action and deduct a point.
"He has such a strong defense, it was difficult to break through," Barrera said after the fight.
"I’m sad because I lost the fight, and he didn’t land many punches. He didn’t hurt me. I thought I controlled the fight with my left hand." – Reuters/ Malaya