Saturday night, December 8, 2012 was the night Juan Manuel Marquez had been dreaming of since his narrow loss to Manny Pacquiao a year ago. But the other night, he achieved an unexpected knockout against Pacquiao just prior to the close of round 6. Both fighters had been busily engaged up to that point with Pacquiao attaining about 37% punching effectiveness to Marquez’s 20%. Pacquiao was slightly ahead on the cards too (46 to 45 through round 5). Clearly, Pacquiao was headed for another narrow win in this WBO World Welterweight bout (their fourth overall).
Pacquiao was knocked down in the fight, as was Marquez. The heaviest blows seemed to be in round 6. Near the end of it, Marquez scored with a thunderous right which penetrated Pacquiao’s guard, sent him to the canvass and rendered him somewhat motionless for about two long minutes. The referee, Kenny Bayless, attended to Pacquiao briefly and then raised the victorious hand of Marquez to the thunderous accolades of the crowd.
The course of this fight was every trainer’s nightmare. Pacquiao clearly trained hard for it, but the shear number of punches thrown created more opportunities for Marquez to penetrate his defense and end the fight with a TKO. By round 6, Marquez was rapidly tiring for sure at the same time that Pacquiao was looking for a quick KO.
Pacquiao left his guard open a number of times due to the rapidity of the punches. Marquez realized that an opportunity was at hand and he took aim once an opening presented itself just before the close of round 6.
Marquez was under severe pressure to employ a “wait and see” attitude in order to achieve a knockout. Clearly, the fight was headed for another very close decision by the judges. Marquez knew this, threw slightly fewer punches but still ended the fight convincingly before the decision could be left in their hands.
This win for Marquez presents an opportunity to challenge Timothy Bradley, who won a very controversial decision against Pacquiao in their last fight. A Marquez v. Bradley matchup would be a good fight with Marquez favored due to his performance in this fight and even his previous fight with Pacquiao. Marquez would need to train harder for a fight against Bradley due to his tired appearance during various junctures in this fight.
Now, Pacquiao needs to assess his current situation. If he decides to stay in boxing, he needs to make some adjustments. Pacquiao needs to throw slightly fewer punches and concentrate more fully on his guard to prevent future knockouts or at least reduce the likelihood of losing a close contest due to a knockout. This feat is harder to accomplish as he gets older.
Pacquiao has another problem. He basically serves two masters: boxing and politics. At some point soon, he needs to focus his energies more fully on one of these endeavors, perhaps at the expense of the other—in addition to focusing on his family.