In one of the most stunning finishes to a fight in the last decade, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2) was knocked out by veteran and arch enemy Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1) in the sixth round of the duo’s epic four-part, in-ring war.
If you watched the first six rounds of this fight—Pacquiao utterly dominated the early stages—this outcome is even harder to believe.
Pac-Man got knocked down early in the fight, but it was not a concern because it looked as if the boxing star was off balance and was taken off his feet my momentum as much as the power harnessed by Marquez.
Once Pacquiao regained his footing, it was as one sided of a fight through five rounds as the fans expected from Pacquiao after his camp said that he was looking to finish the fight early (h/t Examiner).
With the way the Pac-Man was attacking Marquez on the inside and not allowing his veteran opponent to use his reach against him like in the previous fights, it was clear that the new game plan for this fight was working.
In the fifth round, not only did Pacquiao even the knockdown tally by taking Marquez off his feet, he almost ended the fight with a barrage of hard hits that had Marquez reeling. If it wasn’t for the fact that the assault came so late in the round, the fight would’ve been stopped in the fifth—but it wasn’t.
Instead, Pacquiao sat in the corner ready for the sixth round with no intention of letting the fight reach the seventh. It was that mindset that got the boxing legend caught square in the face and dropped.
As both men came out for the sixth round, Pac-Man began his relentless attack on Marquez and opening up his bloodied nose even further. With Marquez’s face covered in blood, Pacquiao started to drop his hands and appeared to be hunting for the knockout punch.
With the seconds ticking away in the sixth round, Pac-Man got desperate for the KO win and saw that his opponent was cornered. After dropping his hands—a cardinal sin in the boxing business—Pacquiao stutter stepped in hopes of getting Marquez to switch his guard and began to throw a heavy punch.
Marquez knew what Pacquiao was doing and threw his hardest punch of the night from the corner. With Pac-Man leaning in, the punch landed flush and knocked the legend out cold.
The reason Pac-Man took this fight was to answer the questions about the controversial decisions from the three previous installments of this storied rivalry, but his overconfidence outside the ring carried inside Saturday and Pacquiao paid dearly.
While there is no doubt the future Hall of Fame boxer had the right game plan—attacking Marquez relentlessly from the inside—it wasn’t until he dropped his hands and tried to pick his shot from a distance that he got into trouble.
Legendary trainer Freddie Roach will have plenty to talk to Pac-Man about after this loss.