Yuriorkis Gamboa's hand is raised after he defeated Michael Farenas. (Eric Jamison / Associated…)
LAS VEGAS — Mitt Romney introduced himself to Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night by telling the Filipino boxing star he was the guy who lost the presidential election.
Reality television star Snooki's new boxing promotion group, Team Snooki, debuted on the major stage of MGM Grand Garden Arena and its fighter fell to defeat.
Rapper and new promoter 50 Cent appeared to be the only one among the celebrity group to avoid experiencing such awkwardness, dropping from light standards to perform his new single, "My Life," as his star fighter, Cuba's Yuriorkis Gamboa, walked in.
Then Gamboa found himself in a fight for survival.
The events preceded Saturday's main event bout, the fourth meeting between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, which was not concluded at press time. For full details, go to latimes.com/sports.
A 2004 Olympic champion returning from a yearlong layoff due to a promotional dispute, Gamboa (22-0) knocked down Michael Farenas (34-4-4) of the Philippines in the second round with a hard right to the head, and Farenas was cut at the left eye in the third.
Farenas remained a game opponent, but was dropped again by big right hands in the seventh.
Gamboa went to a repeated attack in the ninth, but Farenas responded with a left hook to Gamboa's chin, knocking him down and forcing Gamboa to hold on for the round's final minute.
Judges awarded Gamboa a 117-109, 118-108, 117-108 unanimous decision.
Romney, the ringside guest of promoter Bob Arum, went backstage during preliminary bouts to meet Pacquiao.
"Hi Manny. I ran for president. I lost," Romney said.
That happened while Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, star of MTV's "Jersey Shore," and her father Andy were watching their fighter, Ireland's Patrick Hyland.
Hyland (27-1), in a featherweight bout lacking action against Dominican prospect Javier Fortuna, couldn't respond effectively to Fortuna's speed.
Judges awarded Fortuna (21-0) a unanimous decision by scores of 118-110, 116-112, 115-113.
Snooki clapped for her fallen fighter, then left her seat. She had a post-fight appearance to make at the MGM Grand nightclub Tabu.
Mexico's International Boxing Federation lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez (25-3) put on a clinic to hand San Diego's Mercito Gesta his first loss, with judges giving Vazquez a 117-111, 119-109, 118-110 unanimous decision.
Also, Jose Ramirez, a 2012 U.S. Olympic boxer from Avenal, Calif., made an impressive professional debut, scoring a first-round technical knockout of Corey Siegwarth in 2:05.
Ramirez, a 20-year-old lightweight, first knocked down Siegwarth (2-2) with a hard left hook to the body.
"I saw his face, he was in a lot of pain," Ramirez said.
Ramirez continued to batter the opponent across ropes until they settled into a neutral corner. A vicious combination to the head caused referee Vic Drakulich to stop the fight.
"It was a good experience," Ramirez said, calling his first bout without headgear in the large arena "a little tense. Hopefully, next fight, I'll control my nerves a little bit better."
Ramirez said he plans to fight at least six times a year.