It was the result that both were aiming for and only one was destined to get. It's just that few really believed the person to obtain this desired result would be Juan Manuel Marquez.
But it was Marquez, with one punch in the final seconds of round six, who scored a knockout victory over Manny Pacquiao and in his mind, finally got the win he believed he should have gotten eight years ago. The oddest part of this sensational knockout is that it may not be the end of the tale for these two. But that's another story for another day. Right now, the story is about Marquez and the biggest win of his career.
This fight was in no way a one-sided one, and really, how could it have been considering the fighters? For the fourth time in as many fights, Pacquiao & Marquez put on a dazzling display of action and power, it's just that this time they put nearly a whole fight's worth of action and big hits into six rounds. The pace they were setting was a quicker pace even for them and made it almost assured that the fight would not go the distance, or if it did, that this would have been one of the truly great fights in the history of boxing. Instead, we got one of the truly great knockouts in the history of boxing.
Pacquiao's loss is more an example of the golden rule in boxing (one punch and you're done) than anything else. This writer, and all three judges at ringside, had Pacquiao ahead going into round six and this writer was seconds away from scoring the sixth round for Pacquiao before Marquez changed everything.
Round three was where Marquez slayed one of the dragons that had haunted the last eight years of his career when he finally knocked Pacquiao down. The knockdown came on a looping right hand from that caught Pacquiao in the face and sent him down. It wasn't a particularly powerful punch, just one that landed in the right spot and had the desired effect. The ease and speed with which Pacquiao got up tells this writer that the punch was just one of those knockdown punches that doesn't do major damage to the one getting hit, but lands just right to send the man getting hit to the canvas.
Pacquiao returned the favor in round five by knocking down Marquez, but in this case it was Marquez's glove that touched the canvas and was keeping him up. Pacquiao may have set in motion his own demise at this moment because from the moment he knocked Marquez down in the fifth to the moment he was knocked out in the sixth, Pacquiao was headhunting and looking for the knockout.
The fifth round was an adrenaline fueled three rounds of action with fists flying and feet moving nonstop. It was two-man whirling dervish inside of a boxing ring with neither man giving an inch and neither stopping even for a moment. Plenty of big shots were delivered from both in what was the best round of the fight. The fifth was the eruption of the proverbial volcano that had been brewing from the beginning with two fairly slow rounds by the standard these men have set in their previous fights, and then two rounds where the action was picking up more and more with each passing moment until it reached critical mass. The eruption was round five of a scheduled twelve and it was amazing to watch.
The punch that did it came at the end of a wild sixth round of action. It was the final seconds of the round with both men appearing to settle down for the approaching end of the round. Near a corner of the ring, Marquez seemed to lead Pacquiao in and when Pacquiao obliged, coming in looking to land one more good shot, Marquez fed him a straight right to the face that knocked Pacquiao flat and immediately unconscious. One might think Ricky Hatton was watching somewhere thinking to himself, “Now you know how it feels Manny.” Referee Kenny Bayless started a count, but quickly stopped, knowing that a ten-count would be a waste of time and stopped the fight with Marquez gaining the knockout victory that both had been seeking.
The win earned Marquez a special “Fighter of the Decade” belt that the WBO awarded to the winner. This was very, very likely the WBO's attempt to commemorate Pacquiao's decade of work in the ring when he gained another close decision win over Marquez, but life can be strange sometimes.
And while it probably won't happen, this win has earned Marquez a rematch with Mayweather if he wants it. That fight isn't one that many people, this writer included, are in a hurry to see, but it could end up happening. On the other hand, Pacuqiao made it pretty clear after the fight that he's not going to retire and wants to fight Marquez for a fifth time. Why not at this point?
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