MANILA, Philippines – Doing a complete 180-degree turn, World Boxing Council (WBC) president Don Jose Sulaiman praised rivals Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez for their performances in their fourth fight last Saturday in Las Vegas.
In what is considered one of the best fights of the year, Pacquiao and Marquez exchanged knockdowns in rounds three and five, before Marquez finally got the decisive victory he desperately wanted when he knocked out Pacquiao towards the end of round six.
In a statement released to Boxing Scene, Sulaiman congratulated both Pacquiao and Marquez for the fight.
“The WBC and its president congratulate Juan Manuel Marquez for his dramatic and big win over Manny Pacquiao, proving the brave heart of all Mexicans,” the organization said.
“We also want to congratulate Manny Pacquiao for his bravery and for bringing global interest to fans in recent times,” they added.
“Marquez has placed Mexican boxing back to the heights where it belongs. To make a great fight, you need two great fighters like Marquez and Pacquiao.”
The statement showed a complete turnaround from Sulaiman, who had criticized the fourth encounter as “a fight without any importance.”
“There is no championship at stake,” Sulaiman said at the time. “It is a fight that only interests those in Mexico and the Philippines, and it is not drawing attention anywhere else in the world.”
“It is a fight with only a single purpose, to fill the date and nothing more,” he added.
Many believed Sulaiman’s anger was due to the involvement of rival sanctioning body World Boxing Organization, which created a special “Champion of the Decade” belt for the Pacquiao-Marquez fight.
But Sulaiman and the WBC may have changed their opinion following the great interest generated by the fight due to Marquez’s stunning victory.