By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – In a night of loses for Filipino boxers, Manny Pacquiao was the biggest name to fall.
Pinned in corner and mercilessly getting beaten, Juan Manuel Marquez somehow unleashed a crushing right and Pacquiao dropped cold on his face.
As the Filipino champion lay there motionless for several seconds, referee Kenny Bayless didn’t bother to count, and declared the fight over at 2:59 of the sixth round.
It was a stunning end to an action-packed fight, which saw Pacquiao knocked down in the third round, and Marquez dropping to the canvas himself in the fifth.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank God for keeping Juan Manuel Márquez and me safe during our fight on Saturday night, ” Pacquiao told Ring Magazine.
“I want to congratulate Juan Manuel. I have no excuses. It was a good fight, and he deserved the victory,” said Pacquiao, who received well wishes from losing presidential candidate in his dressing room before the fight.
After being checked out at the nearby University Medical Center for a mandated CT scan, Pacquiao went back to his hotel, appearing fine – and eager for another match with the Mexican champion.
“I think boxing fans who watched us were winners, too. To all my fans, I would like to thank you for your prayers and assure you that I am fine. I am looking forward to a nice rest and then I will be back to fight, ” Pacquiao said.
There was no immediate word whether Marquez, 55-6-1 with 40 knockouts, would want a fifth fight with Pacquiao, whose record fell to 54-5-2- with 38 KOs.
Pacquiao’s loss culminated an unfortunate night for Filipino boxers, who lost two other big fights.
The loss foiled the Filipino’s bid for the WBA junior lightweight title, and handed Farenas, whose aggressive, move-forward boxing style pleased the crowd, his fourth loss against 34 wins and four draws with 16 knockout wins.
It was Gamboa’s 22nd straight win and his first fight since beating Daniel Ponce de Leon in September last year.
In an unimpressive fight, Miguel Vasquez beat another Filipino, Mercito Gesta, for the IBF lightweight championship.
Vazquez, who recently lost to WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley, was on his feet most of the fight, refusing to mix it up and frustrated Gesta, who now fights out of San Diego, no end.
The one-sided loss was Gesta’s first after 26 wins and one draw.
Obviously, however, it was Pacquiao’s loss that will sting the Filipino psyche for a long time, coming at a time when the Philippines was being devastated by a typhoon.
Pacquiao’s boxing victories have uplifted the country for about 20 years ago, and he has been hailed as a hero, winning a seat in the Philippine legislature in 2010. He is running for re-election in May and his wife, Jinkee, is running for vice-governor in their home province of Saranggani in southern Philippines.
Although he hit the deck on the third round with a right lead to the face, the 33-year-old Pacquiao recovered, sent Marquez down in the fifth and appeared to be in control.
In the sixth, he connected with a combination and trapped Marquez in a corner. He was going for the kill when Marquez came up with “The punch.”
It seemed Marquez, who had claimed he won all three of their previous fights, was waiting for him
“I knew in the last three rounds, with him coming after me, that he could be knocked out at any time,” Marquez, who has never been known as a one-punch knockout artist, told Ring Magazine. “I knew when I knocked him down early that I could knock him out cold.
“And I threw the perfect punch.”
Pacquiao said he did not anticipate it.
“I got hit by a punch I didn’t see,” said Pacquiao, who had graciously congratulated Marquez on his victory. “I’m going to rest and then come back.”
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