Saturday night, December 8, 2012 was the night Juan Manuel Marquez had been dreaming of this past year. He achieved an unexpected knockout against Manny Pacquiao just prior to the close of the 6th round. Both fighters had been busily engaged up to that point with Pacquiao attaining about 37% punching effectiveness to Marquez's 20%. Clearly, Pacquiao was headed for another narrow win in this fight.
To most fans, Pacquiao was slightly ahead on the cards. Pacquiao won the the first two rounds and the fifth. Marquez won the third, fourth and ended the fight in the sixth. He left nothing to chance with the referee or the judges.
Pacquiao was knocked down in the fight, as well as Marquez. The heaviest blows seemed to be in the sixth and last round. Near the end of the sixth, Marquez scored with a thunderous right which penetrated Pacquiao's guard, sent him to the canvass and rendered him somewhat motionless for about two minutes. The referee, Kenny Bayless, attended to Pacquiao briefly and then raised the hand of Marquez.
The course of this fight was every trainer's nightmare. Pacquiao clearly trained for this fight. He was ahead on the cards; however, the shear number of punches thrown created more opportunities for Marquez to penetrate his defenses and end the fight by TKO. By the sixth round, 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 the sixth round.
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, he threw slightly fewer punches and ended the fight before the decision could be left in the hands of the judges.
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.
At this point, 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.
Pacquiao has another problem. He basically serves two masters. i.e. boxing and politics At some point, he needs to concentrate his energies fully on one of these endeavors perhaps at the expense of the other.