Philippines, 24 May 2018
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Dong Secuya
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“Fighter of the Decade” and eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao suffered a brutal sixth round knockout in his fourth showdown with Mexican legend and four division champion Juan Manuel Marquez before a sell-out crowd of over 16,000 fight fans including beaten Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney on Sunday afternoon, Manila Time.

The painful fact was that Pacquiao had bloodied and battered Marquez and was on the verge of finishing him off when the Mexican caught him with a short, wicked right straight which Pacquiao walked into as he tried to keep his pre-fight prediction of ending it early and decisively after three previous fights, two of which he won by decision in 2008 and 2011 which were all controversial.

As Pacquiao was out cold lying flat on his face Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who was celebrating his 81st birthday had to rush to Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee who was near hysterical after seeing her husband motionless on the canvas.

Pacquiao was immediately rushed to the hospital for the routine medical check-up which Arum said would include a CAT Scan because Pacquiao appeared to have suffered a concussion.

The brutal nature of the fight was also evidenced by the fact that Marquez also suffered a concussion besides a broken nose.

Pacquiao who had abandoned his strength and conditioning regimen under Alex Ariza which Marquez adopted during his four months training under strength and conditioning coach Angel Heredia appeared to have a bigger, muscular and stronger upper body although Pacquiao demonstrated his hand-speed, quick in and out movements, accurate punches and his old punching power despite being dropped in the third round by a bludgeoning overhand right by Marquez.

After taking the first two rounds the 3rd round knockdown evened the score with Mexican fans who outnumbered the large contingent of Filipinos jumping to their feet.

Pacquiao recovered well from the knockdown and stood toe-to-toe with Marquez in an effort to try and even things out as they continued to go after each other at the bell.

Pacquiao continued to connect with rapid-fire combinations but Marquez found his counter-punching instincts and ended the round with a flurry of punches.

For fight fans who had followed their three previous fights both men appeared to be at their best and looking for a definitive ending and taking the decision away from the hands of the three judges.

It was an epic fifth round with Pacquiao nailing Marquez with a right straight followed by a cracking left that dropped Marquez and as his glove touched the canvas referee Kenny Bayless correctly called it a knockdown.

Marquez retaliated with a big right hand but he couldn’t stall Pacquiao who came charging back and hurt Marquez again and went for the kill with both fighters trading vicious punches with Pacquiao getting the better of the exchanges.

Pacquiao had wrecked Marquez’ nose and bloodied his face as he continued to connect with devastating combinations that had the Mexican retreating.

As Pacquiao sensed he had Marquez where he wanted him he appeared to step on Marquez foot and missed with a one-two combination as Marquez nailed him with a short, crunching right flush on the face that dropped Pacquiao flat on his face as he was counted out and doctors rushed to attend to him.

At the time of the knockout Pacquiao was leading on the scorecards of all three judges by one point.

In a post-fight interview Pacquiao said he “got overconfident and never expected that punch. He got in a got shot, that’s boxing.”

Arum who was by his side said he expects that “after a few months Manny will get back to training and back to fight."

Asked about a possible fifth fight Arum said “Why not?” adding “the fight was a ring classic.”

Pacquiao himself said a fifth fight is “no problem” and attributed his shocking knockout to being “part of the game.”

Trainer Freddie Roach whose fighters aside from Pacquiao have suffered a succession of setbacks told “I don’t think he should retire. I don’t think this is the end of Manny Pacquiao. I talked to him before he went to the hospital. He knows he made a mistake. He knows he got careless and walked into one.”

Roach believes that should Pacquiao continue fighting he should take an easier fight first before considering a fifth fight with Marquez which Roach welcomed pointing out that “If Manny comes into the gym and trains hard, sure I would welcome another fight but it might be better to take a softer touch first.”

For his part Marquez said he had waited four-and-a–half months for this.” He recalled the knockout saying “I saw he was going to throw the one-two and I knocked him down.”

After he was dropped in the 5th round Marquez said “I knew I had to be calm because he could knock me out with one punch. He caught me with a good punch. He was very quick but I knew I could win.”

Pacquiao’s mother Dionisia said she “accepted what happened” after she watched the fight on a delayed basis.

A deeply religious Catholic, Dionisia said “she didn’t want him to abandon making the sign of the cross because that’s what made him rich before and he won many fights but he lost because Jesus Christ fought him.”

Dionisia said that if she had her way she want him to quit and concentrate on “serving his people as a politician.”

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ronnie Nathanielsz.

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