International Boxing Hall of Famer “Sugar” Ray Leonard recently commented on WBO “Champion of the Decade” Juan Manuel Marquez rendering Manny Pacquiao unconscious with a spectacular overhand right at 2:59 of the sixth round on Dec. 8.
In a genuinely scary scene, the 34-year-old Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs), who had controversially earned a draw and two conquests over Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) since their first meeting in May 2004, remained motionless on the canvas for several minutes.
After being floored in the third, “The Fighting Pride of the Philippines” rebounded and took the 39-year-old Marquez, ranked by Ring Magazine as the third preeminent fighter today, down with a solid blow in the fifth.
"I saw a fight that was exciting from the very first round, and the only real shock to me was when Pacquiao was the first guy to do down, Then, all of a sudden it became a movie, because, then, all of a sudden, Marquez went down in the fifth round," said Leonard, 56, who captured five belts in five different weight classes and was rightfully named Fighter of the Decade for the 1980s by Ring Magazine. "That wasn't the way that the writers had written the script, because Pacquiao was coming back and had Marquez hurt and he was beginning to dominate. So when Pacquiao put Marquez down, and then he kind of hurt Marquez again in the sixth round, Pacquiao started to do what he does best, and he just threw a barrage of punches that causes most fighters for the most part to cover up."
Leonard (36-3-1, 25 KOs), one of the most skilled and accomplished pugilists ever who managed to emerge victorious in bouts against ring icons Wilfred Benitez (53-8-1, 31 KOs), Thomas Hearns (61-5-1, 48 KOs), Roberto Duran (103-16, 70 KOs) and Marvin Hagler, lauded Marquez for his amazing counterpunching abilities.
"Pacquiao was facing one of the most perfect counterpunchers who ever lived. Marquez is a consummate counterpuncher, and he was determined to make that work for him this time against Pacquiao. Marquez would cover up and cover up and then was laid back before coming back with his own stuff, namely, that right hand," said Leonard, the winner of a gold medal as a light welterweight at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. "Pacquiao, at the same time, was coming in, trying to take advantage of an opportunity, because he had hurt him. But then -- Pow! -- that counter-right hand got him. That kind of knockout, that's rare. It doesn't happen. When someone goes down, face-first like that...let me tell you, I was very, very concerned about Pacquiao, because I like Pacquiao and I like Marquez."
Since absorbing “that kind of knockout,” Pacquiao, who neurologist Dr. Rustico Jimenez recently observed to be exhibiting initial signs of Parkinson’s disease, had his boxing license suspended for 120 days by the Nevada Boxing Commission.
Meanwhile, entirely dismissing the concerns of the president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Pacquiao’s promoter, corruptible weasel Bob Arum, remains determined to cement a fifth clash between the eight-division titlist and Marquez.
Pacquiao, voted “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s by the BWAA, is one of the preeminent prizefighters in the annals of the sport.
Unfortunately for the once fearsome southpaw, Pacquiao, who will soon undergo tests at a brain clinic in Las Vegas, is now a shopworn scrapper who needs to permanently shelve his gloves.
If Manny Pacquiao, who pocketed in excess of $20 million for what amounted to his second consecutive defeat, again throws fists with Juan Manuel Marquez, the famed Filipino’s life could become a horror “movie.”