Marquez Knocks Out Pacquiao

Charles E. Sutton | 12/11/2012, 10:51 a.m.

The very thought of Manny Pacquiao being knocked out was surprising enough. But to see him face down on the canvas, unresponsive even as mayhem erupted all around him, was absolutely scary.

Pacquiao's wife saw it up close from her ringside seat just a few feet away. She began to cry and attempted to enter the ring to aid her defeated husband. Meanwhile, Juan Manuel Marquez never even looked in Pacquiao's direction. He was too busy celebrating the biggest knockout of his career.

This fight represented boxing at its raw best, a man-to-man slugfest Saturday night, that was action-packed from the opening bell and bound to be decided by the combatants -- and not the ringside judges. Both fighters had been knocked down, and both of them had been hurt when Marquez unleashed a right hand off the ropes with one second remaining in the sixth round that could be felt all the way in the parking lot of the MGM Grand arena.

It will be remembered as one of the best fights of the Marquez-Pacquiao era. Four fights may not suffice when it comes to Pacquiao and Marquez. Soon after the fight concluded, boxing fans began to talk about a fifth match between the two boxing warriors.

Some would argue that Pacquiao was on the brink of a big win himself when he was caught by a Marquez punch that sent him tumbling face first to the canvas. He had overcome a third round knockdown to deck Marquez in the fifth and was landing big left hands that bloodied and broke his opponent's nose.

All of their first three fights went the distance, and prior to the fourth bout, both fighters insisted that they'd be more aggressive this time around. Pacquiao paid the price for his aggression when he attempted to finish the sixth round with a barrage of punches, a mistake against a high-quality counterpuncher like Marquez.

The last time Pacquiao was stopped in a bout was in 1999 in Thailand when he weighed 112 pounds. It took him several minutes to come around before being helped to his ring stool. He stared straight ahead as the pro-Marquez crowd of more than 16,000 cheered fervently.

Pacquiao's surprising knockout loss to Marquez has dismantled, perhaps permanently, what would have been the richest bout in boxing history. With Pacquiao now considered damaged goods, a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight would be fought for significantly less money and generate far less interest than if it had occurred with Pacquiao still on a winning streak and still in his boxing prime.