Manny Pacquiao has refused to call time on his 17-year professional boxing career following a sixth round knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez that left him lying face down on the canvas.
A first defeat to Marquez in four fights between the pair leaves 33-year-old Pacquiao with a record of 54 wins, five losses and two draws – and a much touted potential contest with Floyd Mayweather Junior to decide the sport’s unofficial best pound-pound fighter now seemingly further away than ever.
“I thought I had got him,” Pacquiao told reporters, minutes after stirring from a Marquez counter-punch that left him out cold at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“I am so careless.
“I am so overconfident.
“It is a good fight. I am overconfident. I thought I got him.”
Rather than look forward to retirement from boxing and a career in politics, instead the Filipino Congressman made it clear he would be prepared to fight Marquez for a fifth time.
“If they give us a chance we will fight him [again],” he said.
Marquez had Pacquiao on the canvas as early as the third round with a straight right counter-punch – the first knockdown he had scored against the Filipino in four contests.
However, the Mexican failed to capitalise on the early breakthrough and reverted to his trademark defensive style.
Pacquiao regrouped and went on the attack, releasing a flurry of combinations, and Marquez survived a standing eight count in the fifth round following a straight right from the Filipino.
Again, Pacquiao went on the offensive, with Marquez suffering a cut above his right eye and what appeared to be a broken nose.
With Pacquiao in the ascendancy and seemingly taking control of the fight at the end of the sixth round, Marquez summoned a tremendous counter-punch that may yet spell the end of the Filipino’s glorious career.
Marquez climbed the ropes with his right hand raised in victory, his own blood splattered across his chest from the earlier damage inflicted by Pacquiao.
“We knew he was going to come out aggressive. We were able to capitalise on it,” said the Mexican.
“We knew it was a difficult fight but not impossible to win.
“We had to use our technique and skill and not let Manny connect as he has usually done.”
A visibly more ripped Marquez weighed in at a chiselled 143 pounds before the fight after controversially hiring former performance enhancing drugs supplier-turned-US government witness Angel “Memo” Hernandez as his strength coach last year.
Asked if the extra muscles helped, Marquez replied: “We worked strength and speed.”
The fourth contest between the two rivals is the first to provide a truly conclusive result in the eyes of many boxing observers, following a draw and two controversial wins for Pacquiao.
Although no world title was at stake, following Pacquiao’s loss of his WBO welterweight title in a dubious split-decision defeat to Timothy Bradley in June, Marquez claimed the WBO “Champion of the Decade” belt with his victory.
The Mexican refused to rule out the possibility of another rematch with Pacquiao. [BangkokPost.com]