Juan Manuel Marquez, in his fourth attempt to knock off Manny Pacquiao, knocked him out Saturday in stunning result that shook up the boxing landscape.
Marquez, who had a draw and two close split-decision defeats to in the previous three encounters, made no doubt of this outcome, blasting Pacquiao with a right hand flush in the face with just one second left in the sixth round. The Filipino superstar, considered the best fighter in the world by many, went crashing face-first to the canvas, where he lay unconscious for several moments.
That punch elevated Marquez to superstar status, put Pacquiao’s future in doubt and likely pushed Floyd Mayweather Jr. even farther out of the mix. Marquez-Pacquiao V could be a possibility before the champions of the weight class — Mayweather and Tim Bradley, who took a controversial decision over Pacquiao this summer.
Marquez knocked down Pacquiao in the third round, but was a bloody mess when he pounded him with a perfectly timed counter right hand.
“I knew Manny could knock me out at any time,” Marquez said. “(But) I threw the perfect punch.”
The counter punch is on of Marquez’ strong suits, and he said he believed going into the fight it would be useful because Pacquiao had revealed he would attack Marquez.
“We always work on that [counter right],” Marquez said. “The change in rhythm was important. We knew he was going to come out aggressive, so we had a fight plan that was more technique and we were able to capitalize on it. We knew it would be a very difficult fight, but not an impossible fight. We had to use our technique and skill and we didn’t allow Manny to connect as he had done.”
Before being knocked out, Pacquiao was performing well. He knocked down Marquez in the fifth round and looked to be winning the sixth, a round with plenty of action.
“He caught me with my hand down,” Pacquiao said. “I got hit by a punch I didn’t see.”
Not many saw this result coming. But Marquez, a superb counterpuncher, bulked up for the fight and his punches seemed to have more power than at any other time in his career. He earned at least $10 million for the victory, while Pacquiao will get a minimum of $25 million.
Meanwhile, Mayweather has to be wondering if all the complications that prevented a fight with Pacquiao — one that could have added about $50 million to his fortune – will ever happen now.