Saturday 24 February 2018

Pacquiao poised for Marquez test


Tonight sees another big showdown for Manny Pacquiao as he takes on Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico.

The pair have a history of fights spanning seven years, and boast almost identical records, though Pacquiao (53-3-2) has six years of youth on the 38-year-old Marquez (53-5-1). The first match in 2004 was a draw, despite Pacquiao sending Marquez to the canvas three times in the opening round. In the second Pacquiao earned a controversial split-decision victory.

Incongruously, after 24 rounds of boxing -- although Pacquiao has floored Marquez four times -- he has lost more rounds to him than he has won.

And it certainly is high stakes for Pacquiao -- the only boxer to win world titles in eight weight divisions, will earn $25m (l18m) for this fight, with a further $10m (l7.2m) expected from an anticipated 1.5million pay-per-view television sales.


South Africa captain Graeme Smith credited his bowlers with the victory after the Proteas claimed an eight-wicket win in a remarkable opening Test against Australia in Cape Town.

Smith (101 not out) and Hashim Amla (112) both scored centuries yesterday and shared in a second-wicket stand worth 195, as South Africa reached their victory target of 236 with over eight sessions left to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.

However, while Smith and Amla took the plaudits on the final day, it was the bowling attack that Smith believes was the key to the win.

After being skittled for 96 on Thursday to concede a first-innings deficit of 188, South Africa needed something special in Australia's second innings, and the pace trio of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel duly delivered, dismissing the tourists for just 47.

"I think that's probably a win that I need to give to the bowlers," said Smith.


Andy Murray's winning streak ended when the world No 3 slumped to a 4-6 7-6 6-4 quarter-final defeat at the Paris Masters to Tomas Berdych yesterday.

The Scot, who was on a 17-match winning run, was two points from victory at 5-5 in the second set tiebreak, but Berdych kept his nerve to set up a meeting with Roger Federer, who beat Juan Monaco 6-3 7-5.

World No 1 Novak Djokovic pulled out with a shoulder injury before his quarter-final match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Meanwhile, Amy Bowtell stormed back from a disastrous second set to nail down a semi-final place in the ITF Circuit event in Loughborough in England yesterday.

The 18-year-old from Greystones recorded a 7-5 0-6 7-6 (7/5) victory over Britain's No 4 seed Lucy Brown after two hours and 34 minutes.

Today the 592-ranked Bowtell takes on the No 1 seed, Britain's 332-ranked Tara Moore.

Irish Independent

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