Mike Sloan at ringside – After 36 grueling, intense, hotly-contested rounds, there was no clear victor between future Hall of Famers Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. The rivals fought tooth and nail three times throughout their historic careers and each fight – a draw and two decision wins in favor of Pacquiao – were debated and argued about.
The initial trilogy featured fights that were not only as close as they come, but also as entertaining as any before them. Many boxing experts suggested that Marquez was robbed at least once or twice in their battles (some believe all three times), which led almost all to believe that the two are simply too great combatants and neither could take that proverbial next step to prove who was the better man.
Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) flattened Pacquiao with one of the best counter right hands in boxing history, a punch so perfect, so powerful that once it detonated on Pacquiao’s jaw, the Filipino superstar was out cold. Pacquiao fell flat on his face, his arms tucked under his body. Referee Kenny Bayless didn’t need to count – but he did – because Pacquiao was not moving, not getting up any time soon.
Eventually the veteran third man reached ten, stamping an emphatic victory for one of Mexico’s greatest ever champions and possibly signaling an end to one of the sport’s greatest rivalries. In one of the year’s best fights that gave birth to one of 2012’s most fantastic knockouts, Marquez erased all doubt as to who the superior fighter is.
Marquez knocked Pacquiao down with a powerful overhand right in the third and it seemed at that point that Marquez might be able to pull off the minor upset. Pacquiao rose to his feet but he was very wobbly. Marquez didn’t rush in and instead countered the woozy congressman’s attacks. But like all three previous battles, Pacquiao was too tough and too excellent to lose and fought his way back into the fight.
Marquez played it safely in the fourth, but when he opened his arsenal a bit too much in the fifth, a rejuvenated Pacquiao delivered his trademark lead left hand. The punch sent Marquez sprawling backward and eventually down. Like always, the war was on.
The two welterweights ripped into each other and traded bombs in every corner of the ring. Like so many previous wars the two have fought in, it was a virtual phone booth with every punch able to end the fight. Both were wobbled, both were staggered, and both landed ferocious shots. Each gave as good as they got which made for one of the best displays of sheer willpower and killer instinct in years.
Marquez’ nose was bloodied and his face was quickly becoming a swollen, gruesome mask. Pacquiao was becoming busted up as well, but it appeared as though Pacquiao had turned the tides in his favor and began raking Marquez. Again they stood toe-to-toe but when Pacquiao chased Marquez into his corner, the Mexican unfurled the sort of punch that will loop on highlight reels until the end of time.
Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) was iced and counted out at the 2:59 mark of the sixth, marking the potential end of an era. It’s doubtful the mega fight between he and Floyd Mayweather will ever happen now, but the short-term possibilities for Marquez are endless. He scored by far the biggest win of his illustrious career but at 39, there’s no telling how much longer he’ll be able to stick around.
Much more on this sensational knockout win to come…
Photos courtesy of Raymond Spencer
This report was originally published on and is courtesy of SecondsOut.com