- Manny Pacquiao v Juan Manuel Marquez
Marquez knocks out Pacquiao at fourth attempt
Juan Manuel Marquez defeated long-time nemesis Manny Pacquiao with a stunning knockout in Las Vegas on Saturday evening.
In the fourth meeting between the two evenly-matched fighters, a bout for the ages was ended by a clinical counter-punch from Marquez - who dropped Pacquiao right at the end of the sixth stanza to claim a win he had long sought.
The Filipino had actually been enjoying the greater of the welterweight contest to that point, but perhaps got carried away in his own pursuit of an early end to the contest and was caught out as Marquez came up with a resounding end to their latest meeting.
"I knew Manny could knock me out at any time," Marquez said. "[But] I threw the perfect punch."
The 39-year-old Marquez sealed the knockout victory while the bell for the end of the sixth round sounded as he landed a heavy right-handed shot. It was the moment Marquez had waited eight years for, as Pacquiao remained sprawled on the canvas for some time following the blow.
"I was careless. He's not an easy opponent," Pacquiao said after he came around. "I did my best, but that's boxing. That's sports.
"I thought I got him in the last couple of rounds, but I got hit by a strong punch. I never expected that punch."
The opening two rounds went to 33-year-old Pacquiao, who quickly landed trademark combinations, working the body with great effect - but Marquez gave warning of his own threat in the third, as he landed the first knockdown of the contest to leave his rival rather stumbling to the sanctuary of the bell.
Reawakened by his corner, Pacquiao came out in the fourth and reasserted his dominance in impressive fashion, however, and indeed a round later it was Marquez who got a first feel for the canvas after he ate a stiff left jab.
After that whirlwind start the sixth round saw the concluding action, with Marquez knocking Pacquiao out cold with a precision overhand right just as the Filipino began to wade forward at the end of the three minutes.
"We always work on that punch," said Marquez. "The change in rhythm was important. We knew he was going to come out aggressive, so we had a fight plan that was more technique. We were able to capitalise on it.
"We knew it was going to be a very difficult fight but not an impossible fight. We work strength, we work speed, and you can see the result."
All was left was for Marquez to have his hand raised in triumph, as he moved his record to 55 wins against six losses and a draw.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, has now lost his last two fights - raising doubts about the viability of the long-touted super-fight against rival Floyd Mayweather Jr.