As a torrent of Tecate was
being thrown in celebration around the rafters of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in
Las Vegas, a delirious crowd of nearly 17,000 (mostly Mexican partisans) was
celebrating something that, to them, was the impossible dream. Manny Pacquiao,
who had a sterling history against the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik
Morales and one Juan Manuel Marquez, was on his face, lifeless and limp on the
canvas near his own corner at the end of the sixth round. Referee Kenny Bayless
could've counted to a 1,000; it was game over for the fabled “Pac-Man” on this
“The Mexicutioner” had been
“This victory is not only my
victory; this victory is for the entire country of Mexico,” said Marquez
through his promoter, Fernando Beltran, at the post-fight press conference.
Marquez, who in three prior
attempts to defeat the iconic Filipino, probably won more rounds than his rival
(except in the eyes of the judges), finally putting to rest any debate in their
fourth match-up by landing a booming, right-hand counter to an oncoming
Pacquiao. “I knocked him down earlier and I thought I could knock him out cold
and I threw the perfect punch,” said Marquez, who scored his first knockdown in
this historic series in the third frame with an overhand right over the low
guard of Pacquiao, who was caught on his heels - and soon, on his backside.
To Pacquiao's credit, he
battled back and in the fifth round and scored his own knockdown. In a
memorable stanza, both men exchanged leather in violent fashion and any doubts
about whether this fourth chapter of Pacquiao vs. Marquez was even necessary were
quickly forgotten. Consumer fatigue or backlash? Who could possibly be tired of
watching these two men battle? This was as good as it gets in the sport. The
beautiful brutality of it all.
In the sixth round, Pacquiao
seemed to take full control. He was beating Marquez to the punch, visibly
marking up his face and breaking his nose in the process. Marquez’s face was
becoming a crimson mask and at this point, it looked like Pacquiao had assumed
full control of this fight. He was landing with as much consistency on Marquez
since perhaps the first round of their initial hook-up in 2004 (when he scored
three knockdowns). This was actually looking like the vintage Pacquiao.
Then it happened.
“I got hit with a punch I
didn't see,” remarked Pacquiao, shortly after he had finally come to his
We have seen Pacquiao lose;
we've seen him hurt and dazed. But the sight of him frozen stiff like a cadaver
was both stunning and scary. Roach said to the media afterward, “I thought we
were in control of the fight; I thought we almost had him out. But he got a
little careless and walked into a two-inch punch.” The trainer made it clear, “It
wasn't a lucky punch; he set us up well. I was a little surprised he could pull
that off with how hurt he was. But he did.”
Pacquiao got greedy; he
doubled down trying to put the finishes touches on a round he seemed to be
winning. And like many others in “Sin City,” he busted. He was up on the
scorecards at the time of the stoppage by the scores of 48-47 across the board.
At age 33, you have to wonder what the future holds for Pacquiao. This was the
type of loss you can recover from physically but perhaps the real hurdles are
psychological. Can he possibly have the same thirst and hunger for combat as he
once did? Politics might be dirty but this boxing gig is no walk in the park.
“I don't think it's the end
of Manny Pacquiao,” said Roach, who's having the worst year of his professional
life in the corner. The fighter himself, who did not attend the post-fight
presser, made it clear he would continue on.
As for what the future holds
for both men, promoter Bob Arum said, “Fifth fight? Why not? Have you seen a
more exciting fight in years?”
But Marquez is taking a
siesta for now.
“Honestly, I'm not thinking
of any fight; I just want to rest. I just want to celebrate with my family,
celebrate with my friends.”
In the aftermath of this
memorable battle waged between Marquez and Pacquiao, I received a good number
of emails about this event. And I think these two really encapsulate the two
trains of thought I've read most on various social media platforms and the reactions
This first one is from a fan
from “The Windy City”:
What's up Steve? What a war! That fight was
unbelievable. Going into this fight I along with many writers and fans
were suffering from customer fatigue. However, we all should have known
better when two Hall-of-Famers and card carrying bad asses step up to fight
each other. I was expecting this to be like Leonard-Hearns 2 and ended up
getting this generations Hagler-Hearns with a Hearns on Duran type ending.
I would much rather see fights like this instead of skilled technicians
who cautiously dance their way to eek out decisions. Round 5,
particularly the last half of the round, will go down in a time capsule as one
of the most memorable rounds in boxing history. The skill and will these
two men have exhibited over the years is nothing short of admirable. If
they want to go again for a 5th time sign me up. No matter how many times
they fight you know you will get a good show with all the twists and turns that
make boxing great.
Lastly, even though he lost, it is the
way Pacquiao fights is what has made him so popular to boxing fans. This was
the old Pacman who always straddled the line between reckless and murderous
aggression. All credit goes to Marquez because he finally slayed the
dragon that he went to hell and back to get. 8 years, 4 fights, 42
rounds, 1 fight in Indonesia to get one of the greatest knockouts of all time.
I'm not going to address the craziness and flat out absurd statements
that i know I will hear from writers, crazed fans, nut huggers, fans who came
out of the woodwork, and those who will make fun of a guy giving everything he
had to get a knockout and got KTFO'd in the process. I'm just going to
enjoy what happened on Saturday night.
Finally boxing showed everything that makes it great. The drama,
action, and sheer brutality that in can bring at any given moment. That
is why I watch throughout all the lows and why I will always have respect for
anyone that steps through those ropes.
-Jay G. from Chi-Town
Jay, I was one of those guys who talked about a certain fatigue regarding this
match-up and I'm glad I was dead wrong. This was the very best the sport had to
offer. The in-arena atmosphere created by Top Rank was top-notch and the fight
had palpable electricity to it. I'm very honored and proud to say I've been to
all four editions of Marquez-Pacquiao. It's one of the reasons you do this job (it
certainly isn't for the money); you get to witness and record history. And you
know what? If they do a fifth fight, I will be very excited about it (I have a
feeling both men will be given a looooong rest and if it's consummated, it will
take place on Mexican Independence Day weekend - so expect another Top
Rank-Golden Boy conflict for this pay-per-view slot) and I'm sure they will
give us another great show.
I'm actually very interested to see how Pacquiao fights coming off such a
harrowing experience and as you mentioned about his somewhat “reckless” style.
Will he still have that same mentality in the ring? To me, that's the big
question because, honestly, I liked what I saw from him offensively. To be just
as frank, as good as Pacquiao is, he’s always had some flaws. And that's what
made him fun, the fact he wasn't perfect and yet was willing to take risks and
lay it on the line. Hey, eventually, he was going to die by the sword.
Then I got this email missive from a regular contributor to my inbox, Shane B:
I'm sorry, I've been a huge JMM fan for years and years, but this win
to me is as meaningful as Bonds 73rd home run in a season and No 756.
it's a total cheat. a complete sham. put
an asterisk on it. Believe your eyes.
these guys fought for 36 rounds and the
difference was one guy could put the other guy on his ass.
now at 39 Marquez is the brown version
of the Incredible Hulk with one-punch KO power.
we've seen this movie before.
Ben Johnson, Canseco, Sosa, McGwire,
Clemens, Bonds, Armstrong, and now Juan Manuel Marquez.
I'm sorry but you're hopelessly naive at
best if you think JMM hooked up with one of the world's notorious cheaters,
bulked up to Troy
Polamalu's size and now has one-punch KO power at 147 naturally.
and frankly the enjoyment of this damped
because we know what comes next.
NEV. (December 9, 2012) – Following his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, Fighter
of the Decade MANNY ”Pacman” PACQUIAO made a
precautionary visit to University Medical Center.
“Manny was given a CT scan and the
results were negative,” said Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s
advisor. “We were in an out
in just over an hour and Manny was in excellent spirits.”Pacquiao returned to
his penthouse suite in THEhotel for a family dinner followed by a viewing of
his fourth fight against Marquez. As
the DVD played, Pacquiao announced “Spoiler alert. I don’t think you are going to like
how this ends!
then issued the following statement to his fans:
and foremost I would like to thank God for keeping Juan Manuel Marquez and me
safe during our fight on Saturday night. I want to congratulate Juan
Manuel. I have no excuses. It was a good fight and he deserved the
victory. I think boxing fans who watched us were winners too.
all my fans, I would like to thank you for your prayers and assure you that I
am fine. I am looking forward to a nice rest and then I will be back to
behalf of Jinkee and our family, we would like to wish everyone a joyous
Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.”
The Marquez-Pacquiao IV replay will be aired on HBO this Saturday night at 9:30
p.m., ET/PT...Seriously, the first two fights on this pay-per-view undercard
had me longing for the days of Butterbean and Mia St. John...Just my opinion
but I think Adrien Broner would simply be too much for Yuriorkis Gamboa...Lightweight
Ray Beltran is suddenly on a nice run...Roach, on his recent losing skid in the
corner: “It sucks.”...How ‘bout that “Johnny Football!”?!...Are the Memphis
Grizzlies for real?...I think RG3 is a brilliant talent but I really have
concerns about his durability in the long run...I gotta say the Mirage Hotel in
Las Vegas has a great fitness center. You can actually get a real workout in
there...For some reason, Arum didn't like my question about looking ahead to
Marquez’s future in the ring. He bellowed out that it was disrespectful to even
think about it and that he wasn't like other promoters. Uh, OK, but didn’t Arum
bring up the possibility of Marquez-Pacquiao V? But Happy Birthday, anyway,
Bob...Downtown Las Vegas is an interesting scene; I'll say that...