Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will not fight a fifth time.
Heading into Saturday night, true boxing fans understood the magnitude of what was occurring before their very eyes.
A final chapter was written.
Pacquiao and Marquez came out of the gate equally aggressively (which is to say, not very) in the first round, but the latter’s shots just didn’t seem to be landing with any sort of efficiency. Whereas Pacquiao hit his foe with some clean lefts straight to the head, the best Marquez could muster was some solid body shots. All of Marquez’s shots were counters. The first round was quite clearly a Pacquiao-won round.
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Marquez came into the second round clearly looking to rebound from what happened in the first – but it just didn’t happen. Pacquiao continued to land his shots; Marquez continued to miss his. Whereas Pacquiao was landing an assortment of combinations, head shots and body shots, Marquez appeared content simply going (weakly) after Pacquiao’s body. This round went to Pacquiao, too.
The third round started out a lot like the first two – and then it happened. For the first time in 39 rounds of action, Marquez floored Pacquiao with a hard right. Fitting that it would happen after what were the worst two consecutive rounds he had ever fought against his arch rival. This round obviously went to Marquez, and Pacquiao was sent into his corner looking a little bit dazed. (Note: the knockdown here was especially consequential specifically because Pacquiao had won the first couple of rounds.)
After a big fourth round, there was a very noticeable attitude shift. Marquez was ever so slightly more aggressive, and Pacquiao was noticeably more tentative. That said, the latter fighter seemed to shake the previous round’s knockdown off fairly quickly and rebounded moderately well. This was a tight round – Marquez seemed to land more punches and combinations, but Pacquiao connected on the more legitimate hits. This one could have gone either way, but Marquez likely won it at the end.
In the fifth, the tables turned. Even though Pacquiao sort of rebounded in the fourth round, he had clearly lost the momentum. The only way to reclaim it? By knocking Marquez down just like Marquez had knocked him down. And, of course, that’s exactly what ended up happening. After the pair exchanged a flurry of punches, Pacquiao caught his foe with a hard left – boom, glove on the canvas. Just like that, he reclaimed the momentum. (And obviously won the round.)
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Marquez entered the sixth still looking a little wobbly from the hit he took in the fifth. Plus, a gash became visible on his nose. He wasn’t done, but he looked like he was getting there. And then it happened. Marquez throws the hardest right any human being has ever thrown.