LAS VEGAS - The idea of Manny Pacquiao being knocked out cold was shocking enough. The sight of him face down on the canvas, unresponsive even as bedlam broke out all around him, was positively frightening. Pacquiao's wife broke down in tears and tried to get in the ring to aid her downed husband. Juan Manuel Marquez didn't even bother to look. He was already busy celebrating the knockout of a lifetime.
This was boxing at its brutal best, a toe-to-toe slugfest Saturday night. Both fighters had been down, and both fighters were hurting when Marquez threw a right hand off the ropes with a second left in the sixth round that could be felt all the way in the rafters of the MGM Grand arena.
It was barely over when the cry arose for the two ever-so-willing warriors to do it again. When it comes to Pacquiao and Marquez, four fights may not be enough.
"If you give us a chance, we'll fight again," said Pacquiao, now 2-1-1 vs. Marquez. "I was just starting to feel confident and then I got careless."
Pacquiao had come back from a third-round knockdown to drop Marquez in the fifth and was landing big left hands that broke and bloodied the Mexican's nose. He tried to close the sixth round with a flurry, a big mistake against a counterpuncher.
"I knew Manny could knock me out at any time," Marquez said. "I threw the perfect punch."
Pacquiao took several minutes to come around on the canvas before being led to his ring stool. He was taken to the hospital for a brain scan, then went to his hotel suite, where he ate with wife Jinkee and his entourage and watched a replay of the fight.
"Spoiler alert," Pacquiao said as the fight played on the TV. "I don't think you are going to like how this ends."