By Jackie Kallen
Ringside, MGM Grand
There was not a happier person on the planet last night than Juan Manuel Marquez. After knocking Manny Pacquiao out cold at 2:59 of the 6th round, he re-wrote boxing history. So many writers and fans had written him off and predicted that Pacquiao would eat him up and spit him out.
Thankfully I was one of those who believed this fight was Marquez’s to win. It was his turn. But he did it in a much grander way than even I anticipated.
Some are already touting this as “Fight of the Year” and I have to agree. Seldom since the Hagler-Hearns fight have two men gone at it at that pace and fury. The action was non-stop.
Though he was the underdog, the crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of Marquez. They cheered his every move and chanted his name in unison incessantly. When Pacquiao first got knocked down in the third round, they went ballistic.
When Marquez went down in the fifth, they practically had a mass heart attack. It was utter pandemonium. Even Mitt Romney was on the edge of his chair. It was starting to look like a Pacquiao victory was coming when an unseen punch came out of nowhere and sent Manny into the Twilight Zone. There was only one second left in the round.
At the press conference after the fight, the scorecards were revealed and Manny was ahead 47-46 on all three cards. He was not there to participate, however, since he was taken to a hospital for a CT scan and observation.
Marquez, on the other hand, showed up with an ear-to-ear grin and was beside himself with pride and joy. “I did it! I am so happy. I cannot explain how happy I am.”
All he can think of now is taking some time off, spending the holidays with his family and friends, and trying to decide where to go from here with his boxing career. Retirement does not seem to be an option.
Marquez-Pacquiao 5? A fight with Timothy Bradley? There are several possibilities. But Marquez wants to savor this victory and take his time deciding what he wants to do.
The heavily Mexican crowd at the MGM was out of control with excitement. They took over the entire place, singing and chanting the name “Marquez.” Similarly, the people in Mexico City were doing the same. It was said to look like an American city after a World Series or Superbowl win.
It was a nice gift for Bob Arum on his 81st birthday. Although Pacquiao lost brutally, the fight was a sell-out and tremendous success.
“A lot of people rolled their eyes at a 4th fight. They said it would just be a replay of the first three. I disagreed. Boy were those so-called experts wrong. This was the most exciting one yet. Which goes to show you that the media types don’t always know what they are talking about.”
Freddie Roach came to the press conference to speak on behalf of Pacquiao.
“I can’t say right now whether Manny will retire or not. It is his decision. Before he went to the hospital he said, ‘I am not retiring.’
I will take a good look at him in the gym and if I think he still has it, fine. If not, I will call it a day.
“Am I disappointed? Hell yes. Losing sucks. Do I think Marquez was on PEDs? I never said that. All I said was, ‘He does not look natural.'”
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen