What a fight.
Juan Manuel Marquez did what many said he couldn't do—he beat Manny Pacquiao, knocking out the eight-division champion towards the end of the sixth round.
While the fourth installment didn't go the distance like their three previous bouts, nobody who bore witness to their epic showdown can walk away feeling that they didn't get their money's worth.
The two fearless warriors put on a show that highlights everything that makes boxing great.
Let's take a look back at the key moments from what could be the end to one of the most storied and thrilling rivalries in recent history.
Pac-Man Sticks With the Game Plan
Heading into the fight, Pacquiao was telling anyone who was listening that his plan of attack was a simple one—pure aggression and constant movement to negate Marquez' powerful counter punches (h/t Los Angeles Times):
Aggressiveness is the most important thing for this fight.
In and out, in and out, side by side. Speed, hip movement. We have a Plan A and Plan B. The plans are to pressure and counter him. Move my head. A lot of work.
If there’s a chance (for a knockout), I’m going to do my best to make the fight look easy.
Pac-Man did just that for nearly three rounds, keeping Marquez off balance with his speed and consistently landing with straight lefts.
Marquez Strikes Back
With 1:19 left in the third round, Marquez' right hand sent a message that Pacquiao received loud and clear.
This fight isn't over.
Pacquiao got back up and seemed to be more annoyed than anything else that Marquez had sent him to the canvas—the first time Pac-Man had been knocked down since a 2003 bout against Serikzhan Yeshmagambetov.
We wouldn't realize it at the time, but this was the biggest turning point of the match because after this, Pac-Man abandoned half of his original game plan—he stopped moving.
It would wind up costing him dearly.
Pure Aggression Floors and Nearly Stops Marquez
After knocking Pacquiao to the canvas, the fight changed gears, going from a boxing match to an all-out brawl.
Both fighters were wailing away on each other, but Pac-Man continued to assert the dominance that was his left hand in the fifth round.
First, he dropped Marquez with just under two minutes remaining in the round:
Then just over a minute later, the Filipino pugilist appeared to break his Mexican counterpart's nose and nearly dropped him again:
By the time the round came to an end, Marquez was a bloody mess and the pendulum of momentum had swung back in Pacquiao's favor.
It certainly looked like Pacquiao was poised to stop Marquez in the sixth.
Return of the Dinamita
Pacquiao was like a shark that smelled blood in the water, desperately trying to secure the definitive decision he longed for against his long-time adversary by knocking Marquez out.
But Dinamita's right hand had other plans.
Marquez didn't just knock Pacquiao out—he knocked him out cold with a punch that will resonate through the boxing world for a very long time.
Of course, the question on everyone's mind is will we see a fifth bout between these two legendary fighters?
Marquez was non-committal after the match (h/t Los Angeles Times):
"I know in the future I will rest and celebrate. I'm thinking more about the celebration than who I'm fighting next."
A shaken Pacquiao was more succinct in his response, simply saying "Why not?"
Why not indeed.
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