Manny Pacquiao’s stunning loss to Juan Manuel Marquez caught a lot of people off guard. He had looked less than stellar in his prior three fights, so it wasn’t the defeat itself that was surprising, it was the manner in which the Filipino star fell. This wasn’t a mildly controversial decision. Heck, it wasn’t even a unanimous decision that could be argued either way.
Pacquiao got dropped, plain and simple. There were no ands, ifs or ors about it – he got taken out with a beautiful punch by a guy who was just better than him during that particular portion of the bout.
Now, it is worth pointing out: Marquez’s knockout was also one of only a handful of great moments for him through six rounds of that match. Pacquiao was fighting the better fight. He was landing more, he was more accurate and he was winning the proceedings on every judge’s scorecard. But all of that is moot if you get floored, and Pacquiao got floored.
While everyone saw what happened on the eve of Dec. 8 and the immediate fallout, no one really knew what Pacquiao’s reaction to all of it was. At least not until this week.
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Speaking with Philboxing recently, Pacquiao explained that the fans’ response to his defeat really tore him up.
"I tried to control my emotions right after the fight but when I was alone in my room, I decided to view some of the TV footages of the reaction of my fans to my loss," he said.
"When I saw that people were sad and crying, I felt so sorry that I failed them and I cried.”
More than any personal humiliation he may have felt, Pacquiao was really bothered by how he had let his supporters down.
"I felt sad that I lost but it was not until that moment when I saw how sad the Filipino people were when I broke down and cried," Manny said.
He added: "If only I could embrace them one by one and tell them that I was sorry that I let them down, I will do it," he said.
Boxers lose fights. It happens. However, when you get to the level that Pacquiao was at prior to his Bradley defeat and then lose two consecutive matches, that may end up having a real impact on your psyche. It’s one thing to drop a fight in a fake loss like the Bradley one, it’s another to lose that and then get knocked out cold by your arch rival.
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Pacquiao’s end-of-year showdown versus Marquez (probably) will be fascinating to watch. If he wins, then it will be a clear sign that he is doing just fine mentally. If he loses, though, that will be the most obvious signal to date that even though the former champ still has what it takes physically to compete in this sport, he is now lacking that one special mental component that differentiates great fighters from champions.