LAS VEGAS: Juan Manuel Marquez unanimously outpointed Marco Antonio Barrera for Barrera's WBC super featherweight title on Saturday.
Two judges scored it 116-111 for Marquez and the third had it 118-109.
The wild fight ended with both men bleeding — Barrera from his left eye and Marquez from his right — and raising their arms in victory.
"Barrera is a great champion," Marquez said through a translator. "He deserves a rematch."
A furious Barrera claimed he was robbed.
"They were bad judges," he said through a translator. "I won this fight and I don't know what happened. I did the necessary things to win."
Controversy erupted late in the seventh round. Barrera (63-5, 42 KOs) connected with a right to the chin that left Marquez (47-3-1, 35 KOs) crouched with one glove on the canvas, but referee Jay Nady ruled it a slip. When Barrera stepped in and hit Marquez again, Nady subtracted a point from the champion.
Marquez conceded that he had been knocked down.
"He connected," Marquez said. "He got me right on the chin."
When Barrera stepped in and swung at the crouching Marquez again, Nady subtracted a point from the champion. That meant Barrera lost the round 10-8 instead of winning it.
Barrera denied hitting Marquez when he was down.
"I never connected," Barrera said. "I never threw the punch because I knew he was down. He hit me four times below the belt and I never said anything."
Earlier in the round, Marquez stunned Barrera with a right to the head, then a left.
The 33-year-old fighters came from neighboring towns in Mexico but had never met. It didn't take long for them to get acquainted.
Early in the second round, they went toe-to-toe in the center of the ring. That set the tone for the third round, when another furious exchange erupted.
Near the end of the fourth, Marquez knocked Barrera into the ropes, but the champion slipped away and landed a combination.
Heavy exchanges at the end of the fifth and sixth rounds brought the Mandalay Bay crowd to its feet.
Marquez, who moved up from 126 pounds (57 kilograms) to 130 pounds (59 kilos), had said he would knock Barrera out — a prediction Barrera dismissed as "a dream."