The Chilling: Juan Manuel Marquez KO6 Manny Pacquiao


Despite the tortured logic of an army of zealots, history was not revised Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. That Juan Manuel Marquez prevailed over nemesis Manny Pacquiao does not prove he won the previous three encounters, or that he was robbed in not winning. Nor does the sinister right hand that ended affairs in the sixth round prove Pacquiao was overrated, or cheating, or any other nonsense that blockheads who cannot appreciate competition without imbuing it with their warped worldviews would suggest. What transpired in the ring did, however, prove that neither man has ever had a more deserving opponent, and that the knockout remains one of the most dramatic spectacles in sport.

The fight began with Marquez, Mexico City, Mexico, moving to his left, away from the neurological toxin in Pacquiao’s left hand, while reacquainting himself with the conundrum bobbing and feinting just beyond his reach. Looking to establish the unpredictability that augments his power, Pacquiao used footwork and angles to bury home straight lefts over the first two rounds. Unintimidated by the fury that has paralyzed so many, Marquez slammed his fists into Pacquiao’s body in retaliation. Pacquiao, General Santos City, Philippines, was winning the fight with his speed and left hand, but a pattern was emerging, and a pattern—in its repetition and predictability—favored Marquez.

In the third round Marquez, 143, exploited that pattern. Feinting a jab to the body, he got Pacquiao to lower his hands and move to his left to avoid the punch. Marquez intercepted the escape with a looping right hand that smashed into Pacquiao’s jaw. On his back for the first time in nearly a decade, Pacquiao regained his feet and banged his fists together in an invitation to combat. But Marquez would not be goaded into a fight, save for a heated exchange as the round ended.

The fifth round saw Pacquiao, 147, return the favor, lancing Marquez with a left hand that forced his glove to the canvas. Having been dropped by Pacquiao four times previously, Marquez rose undeterred and welcomed his antagonist’s aggression with a hard right hand. Pacquiao wobbled him again with a right hook, but Marquez confidently let fly with his own shots as the round closed. Returning to his corner, blood flowing from his nose, Marquez looked unperturbed by the consequences of the round. It was more than familiarity, both with the canvas and the follow up onslaught, that preserved Marquez’ cool. A waning tempest, Pacquiao was still dependent on the athleticism that had begun taking its leave years prior, and Marquez, with a style conducive to longevity, was finding it easier to parse the riddle before him. In the next round he would provide his final answer.

Pacquiao’s feints and left hands carried the action for all but the final seconds of the sixth round. In those fateful last ticks of the clock, Marquez sealed his greatest victory. As Pacquiao stepped in with a jab Marquez dipped to his left and uncorked an overproof right hand that shook Pacquiao to his boots. Pacquiao pitched forward in an unconscious heap, and referee Kenny Bayless waved the contest off without a count at 2:59 of the sixth round.

A knockout this chilling, one that had his wife in hysterics and his promoter wearing the look of a pall bearer, is liable to haunt Pacquiao for some time. Of course, no fighter is better equipped for consolation than Pacquiao, now 54-5-2 (38). Without taking into account the fame, the millions of dollars, and the professionalism and comportment that typified his career, the violence itself promises some relief. Having wreaked similar destruction on a number of men over the course of his career, Pacquiao was certainly aware that such an outcome was always mere inches from reality. Better that Pacquiao be shown the black lights by a fighter worthy of the task and distinction that accompanies it, a man who had fought him on even terms over 42 unforgettable rounds, than by a fighter whose only merit is youth. There is honor—and some solace—in this loss to Marquez. “Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose,” Pacquaio said, with a smile, in the aftermath. It is unlikely that he was feeling as philosophical as he tried to appear. Yet however trite his words were, he was right. And he will wager with that fortune again.

The man who landed the already legendary recumbentibus was less committal about his future. Marquez, 55-6-1 (40), now has the accolades Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was unwilling to earn, and his scarred face deserves more than ever to be chiseled into the pantheon of Mexican greats. There are a number of compelling matches available to Marquez if he chooses to continue fighting; a rumble with rancorous Brandon Rios being the most spellbinding of the lot. But when questioned about his future, and in particular a fifth fight with Pacquiao, he wished only for rest and a conversation with his family. Marquez gives the impression that he has nothing left to prove, and that he has achieved a semblance of closure in stopping Pacquiao after coming up short in three previous tries. That logic is hard to dispute.


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Tags: Featured Floyd Mayweather Jr. Juan Manuel Marquez Manny Pacquiao Popular

  • Michael Nelson

    Great work as always, Jimmy.

    Seeing Pacquiao planted on his face was such an alien visual that it took me several seconds to process it; Douglas-Tyson and Tarver-Jones are probably the only two boxing moments in my lifetime that surpass it. As you said, even though he lost the first few rounds, JMM’s focus on the body was a nice twist that set up some nasty stuff later. Ultimately, both men proved that the KO talk wasn’t just 24/7 fluff.

    “Better that Pacquiao be shown the black lights by a fighter worthy of
    the task and distinction that accompanies it, a man who had fought him
    on even terms over 42 unforgettable rounds, than by a fighter whose only
    merit is youth.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    • thenonpareil

      Hi MN,

      this is our buddy JT’s interesting take. I’m going to have to do something about the size of the font here for the author’s name!

      • Michael Nelson

        Oh shit, I’m a moron. My fault JT. Good stuff brother!

    • Jimmy Tobin

      Thanks MN,
      I still have a sour taste in my mouth over Cotto’s lopsided loss to Trout last week. It was just so forgettable, such an anti-event. I know that’s how it goes in boxing, and that maybe it’s better for Cotto that he just got routed as opposed to getting starched (the guy has taken enough punishment), but there was just no drama. If they make the Canelo fight Cotto probably takes a beating, but by then everybody will expect it, and it’ll just be sad.
      Pacquiao was still favored to beat Marquez in what promised to be a close fight between elite boxers, so when he got pancaked I was awash with satisfaction. Not that Pacquiao lost mind you (though I was rooting for Marquez), but that he lost to someone great in an unforgettable way. What a spectacle.

  • Antwonomous

    Your last two pieces have been particularly excellent, Jimmy.

    But no mention of Marquez’ newfound buff physique and awesome punching power? I can’t believe more boxing people aren’t talking about it. More than 24 hours after the fight it’s still all that I can think about.

    • Jimmy Tobin

      Hi AW, and thanks.

      Bart Barry addresses this very subject in his column today. I’d give it a read. Besides, Bart, like our own CA, is a wonderful writer.

      Given the sport’s climate, Memo Heredia’s past, and Marquez’ bulging muscles, I too have my suspicions. But I figured that without any damning evidence of PED use, I was better served to just provide a recap of what happened. Marquez may indeed have been a bigger hitter in this fight, but the knockdown punch and the final shot were both nasty punches delivered with full leverage, right on target. Dudes get stretched by those punches. I didn’t want to sully Marquez’ victory by including allegations of PED use without having proof that A] he is actually juicing, and B] steroids made those punches as effective as they were.

      What I think may be different than what I know, but I stuck to what I know. Is that being more, or less honest? Not sure.

      • Antwonomous

        I totally understand and respect your stance, Jimmy. And I read Bart’s piece first thing this morning — he’s one of my favorites. He’s been pointing out what seems (at least to a few, including me) to be the obvious with Marquez for months now, and did it again today.

  • TotallyTy

    Amazing article as usual. I’d be surprised if marquez retires. Pacquiao did not have to fight him a third time, let alone the fourth. He took the fights based on his great respect for marquez, and now marquez will be honor bound to fight him once more. Yes it is crazy. Absolutely deranged. But it may well take two trilogies to actually end this. Finally, thank you for not making unsubstantiated steroid allegations against marquez. You may be the only notable writer this week not stepping in that doodoo.

    • Jimmy Tobin

      Hi Ty, thanks very much.

      I think Pacquiao fought Marquez because that’s where the money was. Marquez, having scored the most definitive victory of the series, probably doesn’t feel honour bound to anyone. He got what he wanted. They might fight again, but only because the dollars dictate it happen. Pacquiao will fight again, and Marquez probably will too (because hasn’t been knocked senseless yet). If he does, I’m hoping he tries his hand against Rios or Bradley. I don’t need another Pacquiao fight.
      As for the PED thing, as a guy who has lifted weights for over ten years, I’m not entirely shocked by what Marquez did. It’s suspicious as hell to me, and if you put a gun to my head I’d say he was juicing, but nobody did, so I just focused on the fight.

  • Dennis Wise

    Great stuff
    Like a lot of people I am of two minds regarding this fight. First, it was a great fight among two great fighters, trading knockdowns. Pacquiao seemed as if he was taking over the fight and then he’s out cold from a perfect vintage Marquez counter punch.

    But another part of me says lets be real this fight is a sham. Marquez is on PEDs and nothing can ever convince me otherwise. Granted, I don’t deny that theres a chance Pacquiao has used them as well, but there isn’t any evidence whatsoever of this. His physique never changed and he really didnt even put on that much weight as he had been in the 140′s by fight time since he and Marquez fought for the second time. Meanwhile Marquez, at 38, suddenly shows up with Tim Bradley’s muscle structure.

    Great, exciting fight. And a shame.

    • Jimmy Tobin

      Hi Dennis, thanks.

      That’s a fair view to hold, and I understand why so many people feel that way. In a somewhat similar situation, I have suspicions about the first Cotto-Margarito fight that won’t go away. As you say, you can’t be convinced otherwise, and I respect that. If this goes down as a great, exciting fight surrounded by a cloud of suspicion, well, it wouldn’t be the first one. There’s little consolation in that, I know, but at some point you exhaust the consolation and just have to deal with your suspicions.
      Hell of a fight though.

      • Dennis Wise

        Hey am I the only person that up until he flew into Marquez’ fist, and the newfound inability to handle his power with that first knockdown, that Pacquiao looked pretty good? It wasn’t vintage Pacquiao from a few years ago but his speed looked very good, he was boxing effectively, head movement etc.

        • Jimmy Tobin

          Maybe it was the juice he’s taking? I kid. Sort of. Who knows at this point? He looked good; aggressive, accurate, fast, and he brought back the hook (even stinging Marquez with it in the fourth round). And yeah, Marquez was looking for that right hand, but he was paying for it the entire time. He looked like a Pacquiao opponent when it was over.