Manny Pacquiao admitted Juan Manuel Marquez deserved his victory in the pair’s fourth fight, at the MGM Grand last night.
With Pacquiao leading 47-46 on all three scorecards, he was caught by a shuddering right hand from his Mexican opponent at the end of the sixth round which left him on the canvas for the second time and earned Marquez a knockout win.
Pacquiao issued a statement to his fans following the fight, which read: “I want to congratulate Juan Manuel. I have no excuses. It was a good fight and he deserved the victory. I think boxing fans who watched us were winners too.
“To all my fans, I would like to thank you for your prayers and assure you that I am fine. I am looking forward to a nice rest and then I will be back to fight.”
Pacquiao received medical treatment following the bout, but his advisor Michael Koncz said afterwards: “Manny was given a CT scan and the results were negative. We were in and out in just over an hour and Manny was in excellent spirits.”
The win may bring 39-year-old Marquez no titles, but for the Mexican it ended years of frustration as he vanquished his rival at the fourth attempt.
Their previous three encounters have not been short of controversy with decisions disputed – two Pacquiao wins and a draw – but there was no doubt about this one.
After two cagey rounds, it was Marquez who landed the first telling blow in the third.
A big right-hander sent Pacquiao to the floor and, though he bounced straight back up again, it was clear the Filipino was rattled.
A high-octane and even fourth followed, but in the fifth it was Pacquiao who stepped up a gear, landing a big left jab on Marquez, who touched the canvas with his glove.
With Marquez cut and hurting, the 33-year-old scented blood and pressed forward in the sixth.
But in his haste to finish off Marquez he left himself open and the Mexican produced a thundering counter-punch which left Pacquiao face down on the canvas.
Marquez told the Guardian: “I never thought he was going to beat me, even though I feared the knockout when he came at me in those final three rounds.
“I was coming on strong, though. When he dropped me, he caught me good, but I was think I was going to push hard in the later rounds.
“I fought on the inside sometimes but with a lot of intelligence. This was one of my best victories. I did it for me and I did it for Mexico. It would make me so happy to be there now, celebrating with my countrymen in Mexico City, but I will get there soon.”