Juan Manuel Marquez lured Manny Pacquiao in, then put him to sleep
BY JON SARACENO December 9, 2012 7:59PM
Referee Kenny Bayless, center, sends Juan Manuel Marquez, from Mexico, right, to his corner after he knocked out Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, left in the sixth round of their WBO world welterweight fight Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Updated: December 9, 2012 8:31PM
LAS VEGAS — Juan Manuel Marquez, a mask of blood covering his swollen face, was in full desperation mode late in the sixth round of his fight Saturday night against Manny Pacquiao.
Then, in a shocking instant, the man Marquez had wanted so badly to defeat for eight years made a critical, fight-ending mistake — one that led to a punch for the ages before a sellout crowd of 16,398.
With Pacquiao ahead on all three judges’ scorecards, he misfired along the ropes. At that point, Marquez launched a booming right hand that decked Pacquiao with one second left in the round.
With one resounding shot, Pacquiao fell face first to the canvas. He lay motionless, out cold, for more than a minute and needed smelling salts to be revived.
As referee Kenny Bayless attended to the fallen fighter, Marquez sprinted around the ring with his right arm triumphantly raised.
‘‘I never expected that punch,’’ Pacquaio said in a TV interview after the fight.
Pacquiao had been suckered, pure and simple.
It was the second time Marquez had dropped Pacquiao on Saturday after failing to knock him down in three previous encounters, the first of which ended in a draw and the next two of which were awarded to Pacquiao by a split decision and a majority decision.
Marquez later called it the ‘‘perfect punch.’’ And it was anything but the proverbial ‘‘lucky punch.’’ Trainer Freddie Roach had preached to Pacquiao throughout training camp to watch out for Marquez’s right hand.
‘‘That’s [Marquez’s] best punch against Manny Pacquiao,’’ Roach said of the counter right. ‘‘He did suck him into it a few times in the fight. It was a good setup. It was by design; it wasn’t a lucky punch.’’
Immediately after the fight, Pacquiao indicated he had no plans to retire. But Roach said wants to see Pacquiao in the gym again before he
decides what to recommend.
‘‘We’ll see,’’ Roach said. ‘‘If he gets back into the gym and I see signs of him declining, I will tell him to retire.’’