Filipino phenom Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao was looking to solidify his supremacy over Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez with an emphatic knock out in their fourth meeting, putting to rest any doubts or controversies about his draw and two previous split-decision victories over Marquez, while leaving no doubt who the better fighter was, and is.
Marquez on the other hand believed he was robbed not once, not twice, but three times against Pacman, and he too would be seeking a violent end preceding the final bell, proving that he, Dinamita, was the better man in the ring all along.
When the smoke cleared Saturday night, 39-year-old four-division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1, 40KOs), of Mexico City, Mexico, boosted an already stellar legacy when he landed the shot heard around the world that ended the extraordinary reign of the Filipino in the 6th round, sending eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38KOs) crashing face-first into the canvas void of senses, in a brutal 12 round welterweight collision. It was a short Marquez right hand to the center of Manny’s face that flipped their rivalry completely upside down, depositing Marquez firmly in the driver seat in terms of who’s winning their epic display of warfare. Marquez’s perfectly timed punch, which put the southpaw to sleep in the evenings main event, stunned the sold-out crowd of 16,348 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, making a 10 count by referee Kenny Bayless pointless, and eliminating the judges — who were the center of controversy in the first three bouts — from the equation.
Marquez finally got the justification he vehemently desired after coming up just short in prequels 1, 2 and 3. In 2004 they fought to a draw in a fight that saw Marquez mount one of the great comebacks in boxing history when he dominated the majority of the last 10 rounds after being dropped three times and hurt badly in the opening frame. Pacquiao won the 2008 rematch by split decision, as well as the third meeting in 2011 by majority decision. The three contests were close, controversial wars, with both men believing he was the winner in each of them.
Pacquiao, 33, of General Santos City, Philippines, was aggressive and looked good from the outset, controlling the first two rounds with good head movement and hard straight left hands that were finding their target. It took Marquez a little while to find his range and get his timing down as he was mainly measuring Pacquiao. That all changed with just over a minute to go in the 3rd round when a Marquez right hand pasted Pacquiao’s back to the canvas — for the first time in four meetings — right in front of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and his wife Ann’s ringside seats. Even though the punch was jarring, Pacquiao got right back to his feet, and Juan did not go in for the kill until the end of the round when they exchanged heated power punches for the final 10 seconds.
With just under two minutes to go in the 5th round Pacquiao returned the favor when he knocked down Marquez with a straight left hand. Once Juan was back to his feet and fighting resumed, he clobbered the encroaching Pacman with a massive right hand and all-out-war broke out. In what was quickly turning out to be the best fight yet, Pacquiao rocked Juan with a short right hand, but Marquez’s chin, and his will, held up as he was able to sustain very heavy artillery from the blitzing Pacquiao, standing his ground and firing back in some incredible toe-to-toe action, resulting in the wounded Marquez walking back to his corner with a cut on the bridge of his nose.
After a minute’s worth of fighting in the 6th round Marquez’s face was swelling significantly and the flow of blood from his nose was heavy, but it wasn’t broken. Pacquiao seemed to be taking control of the fight and connected with a couple big left hands, but Marquez fought fire with fire, and in the end it was Pacquiao who got torched before being put out. With :01 second left in the 6th frame Marquez landed the defining punch of his career, when the advancing Pacquiao got careless, leaving his hands down as he walked into the infamy a thunderous Marquez right hand that changed everything. In a scene that probably frightened many ringside observers, and those watching in bars and living rooms the world over, Pacquiao’s lifeless body flopped face first into the canvas, completely separating him from consciousness as he lay face down for several moments before eventually coming to. Marquez jumped onto the corner ropes, with arms raised in victory, and with that he completed his dream of conquering his ultimate nemesis and counterpart. The official time of the stoppage was 2:59 of the 6th round, as another chapter in the saga of Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao came to a close.
Shortly after the bout ended the combatants embraced in the middle of the ring, following a rivalry that started 8 years ago, traversing 21 pounds and 42 rounds of boxing magic, and Juan told Manny, “You are a great fighter.”
With the knockout victory Marquez improved to 55-6-1 with 40 knockouts, while Pacquiao fell to 54-5-2 with 38 knockouts.
Pacquiao was ahead 47-46 on all three judges’ score cards at the time of the stoppage. Afterwards he underwent a post-fight scan, and was ruled okay.
“I knew Manny could knock me out at any time,” pointed out Marquez after the fight, “I threw the perfect punch.”
“We always work on that punch,” analyzed Marquez. “The change in rhythm was important. We knew he was going to come out aggressive, so we had a fight plan that was more technique. We were able to capitalize on it.”
“I’m very happy I didn’t retire,” said Marquez in reference to the fact that he seriously considered calling it quits after the third encounter — which seemed to be a clear Marquez victory but wasn’t — giving up all hope he would ever get a fair shake from the judges against Pacquiao.
Marquez opted to continue on, in the hopes of securing another opportunity of defeating Pacman. An opportunity he had no plans of leaving in the judges hands should he get another chance. Just before fight three Marquez bulked up significantly by enlisting the services of infamous admitted PED cheat Angel “Memo” Hernandez, causing many to question whether Marquez enhanced his power and physique in a legal manner. After Marquez’s utter destruction of Pacquiao, it’s only natural that questions and concerns will arise in the aftermath.
Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza had his own theory on why his fighter was short-circuited by Marquez. “I don’t understand how that should be shocking,” Ariza told BoxingScene.com after the fight. “[Marquez] had a strength coach, an educated one, one with credentials, and that’s what happens when you follow your guys program.”
In reference to the fact that Pacquiao dramatically reduced the duo’s own strength and conditioning exercises leading up to the fight, Ariza lamented, “We didn’t do any of it. We quit.”
Clearly taken-a-back by the way his stalwart eradicated Pacquiao with tremendous clarity and force, Marquez’s trainer Nacho Beristain wasn’t able to conceal his shock.
“I never thought that Juan could knock out Pacquiao. Juan is not a [power puncher]. He is a very precise fighter, and hits hard but not violently. He gets you with three shots in a row at the tip of the chin and he hurts you, but not like [what happened with the punch that he hit Pacquiao.] What happened was a phenomenon,” rejoiced Beristain, adding, “I’m happy because I had a desire to see Pacquiao on [the] canvas, because the truth is we already won three times. It’s like I’m dreaming right now.”
When Marquez was asked by Larry Merchant whether he thought his newfound muscles played a role in the crushing knockout of Pacquiao he retorted, “I don’t think so. We worked on strength. We worked on speed and I think you could see the good results.
“We knew it was going to be a very difficult fight, but not an impossible fight,” said Marquez.
Once again Pacquiao gave Juan all he could handle, dropping him in the 5th round, and hurting him on several occasions as it was looking like he may get Marquez out of there for the first time himself.
“He caught me with my hand down,” explained Marquez, “That was an error and we corrected it.”
The adjustments that Marquez has been able to make, throughout the entire Pacquiao saga is nothing short of brilliant. Marquez truly is a sweet scientist, who can exploit any imperfection a foe might present while expounding a solution.
Undefeated junior welterweight Brandon Rios was in attendance, and had a stake in the outcome as he was promised the winner. Before the fight Brandon said he wanted Pacquiao to win. Of course, Manny presents a more lucrative pay day, but a fight with Marquez wouldn’t be for mere peanuts so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Though Pacquiao lost, it’s not out of the question that Rios will get the Filipino next anyways.
Besides a possible bout with Rios, a fifth fight with Pacquiao is no doubt on the horizon should Marquez continue with his career.
“Right now, I’m not thinking about any fight. I just want to celebrate,” rejoiced Marquez.
While it’s true that Pacquiao made Marquez chase him down and wait for a chance at redemption, eventually he granted the Mexican two separate opportunities at redeeming himself. Surely Marquez will afford Pacquiao that same opportunity of atonement, right? Not so fast. Following the fight Marquez gave an official statement.
“First a congratulations and my appreciation to Pacquiao, who was always a great rival, very strong, very brave. I came well prepared for a difficult, hard fight, and to exploit the weaknesses of Pacquiao and I accomplished that. It is with great emotion that I give this joy to the Mexican public and my family. This is what I prepared for and here is the result… we won by knockout as I said and now it’s time to celebrate and spend time with my family. If my children ask me to retire, I will retire. I’ve already achieved everything that I’ve wanted to,” stated Marquez.
I seriously doubt it’s the last time we’ll see Juan Manuel standing opposite Manny in a ring, and a possible rendezvous with Rios is enough to make any fight fan salivate.
Like an Aztec warrior dedicated to human blood, Rios always looks for the sacrifice, as if it keeps the boxing universe in balance by the debt of blood he’s willing to pay, solidifying his spot in the eyes of the boxing Gods. When you fight Brandon Rios you must be prepared for life and death in the arena. And that’s just Marquez’s game. A potential tilt involving these two is fit for a bull fighting ring, as you can count on plenty of blood, and carnage, in what could be an all-out massacre for either toro or matador.
Despite his mega-star status and riches, through all the unbelievable ups, and impossible-to-escape downs, the humble Pacquiao has never shown anything but sportsmanship, honor and class towards his opponents, the sport, and most importantly the fans. When it comes to the sport of boxing, cleanup and cop-outs just aren’t who Manny Pacquiao is.
“First and foremost I would like to thank God for keeping Juan Manuel Marquez and me safe during our fight on Saturday. I want to congratulate Juan Manuel. I have no excuses. It was a good fight. He deserved the victory. I think boxing fans who watched us were winners too. To all my fans, I would like to thank you for your prayers and assure you that I am fine. I’m looking forward to a nice rest and then I will be back to fight. On behalf of Jinkee and our family we would like to wish everyone a joyous Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year,” said Pacquiao in an official statement.
“I got hit with a punch I didn’t see,” explained Pacquiao immediately following the fight. “I thought I was getting him in the last couple of rounds but I got hit by a strong punch. I did not expect that punch. I am going to rest and come back to fight. I would go for a fifth.”
“Manny came back after that first knockdown. He was in charge,” said Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach, “He just got a little too careless. He was hurting Marquez up until that knockout.”
The knockout loss brought the incredible run of Manny Pacquiao, over eight-weight-classes-worth of world titles, to an emphatic end. But there is no reason for Manny to hang his head, as he fought like the warrior that first compelled the boxing world fall in love with him many years ago. A warrior who gained unparalleled adoration from his people, while changing a nation forever.
Simply put, Marquez and Pacquiao were made for one another. While on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of fighting style, when you add together Juan and Manny’s abilities inside of a ring, it equates to a perfect symphony of violence. Allowing a glimpse into just how similar these two blood-and-guts warriors are in relation to spirit and determination, while at the same time bringing into existence some of the sport’s most transcending performances to date.
If any young fighter, athlete, or person wants to know how to conduct his/or herself with class, throughout one’s life endeavors, look no further than Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao.
As far as what’s next for Pacquiao, his future could possibly include, in no particular order, a fight with Brandon Rios, a rematch with Timothy Bradley, or Miguel Cotto, and of course another war with nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.
“A fifth fight? Why not?” Top Rank boss Bob Arum said. “Have you seen a more exciting fight in years?”
Concerning a Pacquiao-Rios encounter, a fight between those two savages can only lead to mayhem and destruction. Yes please.
Marquez’s right hand more than likely put the final nail in the coffin of Mayweather-Pacquiao, and could possibly bring Juan 2012 “Fighter of the Year” based off that victory alone.
Among the folklore of Mexico’s rich boxing history and the world alike, Juan Manuel Marquez has sealed his name in boxing eternity as one of the best Mexican pugilist to ever emerge from planet earth. From the beginning of a legendary career, to the butchering the Pacific Rim’s prodical son, Marquez’s name will be echoed throughout time.
“This victory is not only my victory. This victory is for the entire country of Mexico.”
-Juan Manuel Marquez
Esteban Walters is a deadline writer for “Leave it in the RinG” and journalist for Undisputed Fight Magazine . A Native San Dieg0 California and an Aspiring novelist . Walters enjoys studying politics, history and astronomy . A Die-hard boxing fan since witnessing Mike Tyson knockout Michael Spinks in 88′ and Die-hard San Diego Chargers fan ! Walter also likes following MMA, fishing, snowboarding, playing horse-shoes and spending time with my family, friends and pit-bulls.
Goals: Care for my loved one’s, do my part to enhance the sport of boxing, travel the world, assists children and the less fortunate, and contribute to making the earth a better place.