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LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - A fuming Juan Manuel Marquez was contemplating retirement after claiming he was "robbed" in a majority decision defeat by Manny Pacquiao in their WBO welterweight clash at the MGM Grand on Saturday.
Holder and heavy favorite Pacquiao retained his title after earning the verdict from two of the three judges while the third ruled that the bout had ended level at 114-114.
Marquez firmly believed he had done enough to win, a feeling echoed by the strong Mexican contingent in the sell-out crowd of 16,368 who booed their frustration after the decision was announced.
"For me, the best judge is the audience and they responded sensationally tonight," Marquez told reporters after losing to Pacquiao for a second time in three meetings. They drew their first encounter.
"I would like to thank all the people that came to the arena. This time we not only beat him in the ring but also in the audience. The people were rooting for me and we are very happy for that.
"You need to win fights like this with intelligence and I was very intelligent tonight. Styles make fights and I think my style is complicated for his style."
What especially stung for Marquez was that he felt robbed of victory for the third straight time against Pacquiao.
"I think I won this fight again," the 38-year-old Mexican said, speaking through an interpreter. "What do I need to do before the judges give me the fight?.
"What I need to do is sit down with my family and my camp and make a decision about continuing in this sport or just simply retire from the sport. It will be difficult.
"I have to decide, I have to see what happens. Maybe I will retire, maybe I won't."
Marquez, whose career record slipped to 53-6-1 with 39 knockouts, said he had never considered quitting boxing until after Saturday's outcome.
"Honestly, it's a result of the fight," the three-division world champion added. "The thing that makes me think of retirement is because I have prepared myself so hard for 18 years. This was the biggest fight of my career."
Marquez's veteran trainer Ignacio 'Nacho' Beristain was just as frustrated.
"I feel that it is a joke for the people, for Manny and for Juan Manuel Marquez to have a type of decision like this," Beristain said.
"I felt very disappointed and frustrated. The real winner tonight I think is Juan Manuel Marquez, not Manny Pacquiao."
In their previous two meetings, the boxers fought to a draw in May 2004 before Marquez lost his WBC super-featherweight title to the Filipino in a controversial one-point split decision in March 2008.
Marquez gave Pacquiao extra motivation for Saturday's fight by wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan: "We Were Robbed" when the showdown was initially promoted in the Philippines.
Asked if he would arrange for a new T-shirt to be emblazoned with the words: "We Were Robbed Three Times," the Mexican smiled: "I was thinking about that."
Editing by Alastair Himmer