Fighters get knocked out all the time. It's part of the sport, but even with that concept, there was something different about Manny Pacquiao's KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
The loss had a resounding effect on Pacquiao's career, and most notably, the way he's viewed by those within the sport.
It was a sobering, scary and life-changing moment for Pacquiao. When a fighter is dropped and loses consciousness, things go to a different level. Things have gone to that level in Pacquiao's world since the defeat.
Doctors have reportedly warned Pacquiao of the dangers of Parkinsons disease (ESPN). It is a degenerative brain condition that is often associated with boxers. The brutal KO has to make Pacquiao somewhat concerned about his health.
If he isn't, he should be.
Many boxers, such as Bernard Hopkins (featured in the video below), have expressed their doubts as to whether Pacquiao will ever be the same after such a vicious KO.
Boxing is as much mental as it is physical. Perhaps some fear is healthy and allows fighters to operate in their best interest in the ring, but when fear becomes the predominant emotion, it is never good.
This could be part of the aftermath of Pacquiao's defeat.
It is obvious that others besides Hopkins doubt Pacquiao's standing amongst boxing's elite. Boxrec.com has dropped Pacquiao to 15th on their pound-for-pound rankings.
We can dispute Pac-Man's loss to Timothy Bradley, but the reality is, he has lost his last two fights, and he hasn't actually been impressive since he stopped Miguel Cotto in 2009.
These factors have caused his descent in the rankings and hurt his overall perception in the sport.
Recently, an old criticism of Pacquiao has resurfaced. Former four-division champion Jorge Arce became the latest fighter to accuse Pacquiao of taking performance-enhancing drugs, per Boxing Scene.
Pacquiao is getting something, that's for sure. He never [comes up] positive [during drug tests], so it is logical that he is using something that is legal or not detectable in his urine.
Because I remember when Pacquiao did not want to fight [Floyd] Mayweather, because [Mayweather] said that he wanted to have doping tests [involved in their fight] and Manny refused to have them. Pacman is coming from [the] flyweight [division] and walks around at welterweight.
I am convinced that Manny is getting something, but it is not detectable. I've seen him overwhelm [fighters] who are much bigger than him
When it rains it pours.
Is the Manny really the 15th best fighter in the world?
Pacquiao desperately wants a fifth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, but Marquez has said that he sees no point in battling his rival again, per Boxing Scene.
Pacquiao is chasing redemption but playing a dangerous game at the same time. There are few opponents that will give him the type of satisfaction and status he seeks. But it is unclear just how much the KO loss has affected him.
If his skill level has fallen off, he could be beaten by a fighter that no one regards as elite. That would only send his stock even lower than it already is.
Unfortunately, Pacquiao may be on a path travelled all too frequently by other boxing legends that didn't know when to call it quits.