Marquez's sixth-round knockout of Pacquiao at the MGM Grand on Saturday night was stunning. There's no other way to put it.
If Marquez had simply won, people would and should still remember Pac-Man's hard-fought wins in two of the previous three fights between the two fighters. However, because of the brutal nature of Marquez's decisive punch, those last three fights are a moot point.
It's that simple. Marquez's devastating right hand put Pacquiao out before his head hit the mat, leaving spectators wondering what just happened and Pac-Man wondering the same.
ESPN Stats & Info sums up how stunning it really was:
Medgoen Singsurat was the last fighter to score a knockout win over Manny Pacquiao (in 1999) prior to Juan Manuel Marquez tonight— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 9, 2012
As a boxing fan, what are you going to remember? Who really remembers the specific events from the first three fights now? I bet they're cloudy, and that's only going to get worse over time.
Marquez's crushing blow made this a one-part series—a two-part series at most, should these two happen to have another go at it. Unanimous decisions and draws pale in comparison to Marquez's devastating punch on Saturday night and rightfully so.
Prior to the knockout, the fight was exciting, too. It's not like the knockout made it the only thing worth watching. Each fighter brought his game plan and went to work.
Pac-Man tried to use increased head movement to keep Marquez from landing solid punches. It worked for the first few rounds, before Marquez landed a great overhand right in the third round to put Pac-Man on the mat for the first time.
Pacquiao would answer later on, but the tone was set with that first knockdown.
Either way, it was the best action between these two fighters yet. In an age where boxing fans are yearning for excitement, there's very little doubt as to which bout most people will remember.
Some people probably predicted Marquez to win on Saturday night, but I'm guessing a very small minority predicted the eventual outcome. I jumped out of my chair in utter shock when it happened, making it an instant moment for me, and I'm sure I wasn't alone.
Winning a decision, no matter how decisive, will never equal a knockout in terms of public perspective. Marquez's violent right hand on Saturday night ensured that his role in this rivalry will be remembered above all else.