“We’re going to knock him out. End of Story.” – Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao’s long-time trainer during the lead up to Pacquiao-Marquez 4.
As the hours neared closer to the opening bell, boxing phenomenon Manny Pacquiao knew what he had to do. Winning a decision over his arch nemesis Juan Manual Marquez was not an option; he needed to win the fight by knock out in order for the win to mean something.
After going 36 indecisive rounds with the older and less physically gifted Marquez, millions of Pacquiao fans all over the globe were pushing for him to finally put an end to the Marquez saga by finishing him off before the final bell in what was likely to be their final fight.
Juan had screamed very loudly that his past three fights with Manny (2-0-1 in favour of Pacquiao) were all robberies and that he had been cheated of glory. All three fights were extremely close and although Manny has eclipsed Juan in popularity due to his fan appealing fighting style, Marquez’s image shadowed him no matter how high he rose due to the controversial nature of their fights as well as Juan’s screams of injustice.
By the time last Saturday came around, almost everyone in Manny’s camp was so sick of Marquez and his complaining that this frustration found its way into the game plan for Manny. Not only was Freddie Roach telling the media that anything other than a KO win for Manny was not satisfactory, it was even being said that Manny’s own mother was insisting that he take down Marquez within two rounds.
And in addition to all this outside pressure from family/friends/fans to strictly aim for a knockout, Pacquiao’s last few fights were underwhelming and another close decision win over Juan would probably not have lifted his stock out of the downward trend it was heading in. Therefore it seemed as if the only way for Manny to reach the superb heights he was at just a short two years ago to his circle and his fans was to put Marquez down on his back and keep him there.
When Manny stepped in the ring last Saturday, he stood opposite a man who not only knew him inside out when it comes to boxing skills; but he stood opposite a man who understood what kind of pressure, urgency and demands that Pacquiao had on him that night.
Therefore as Manny came in and punished Marquez with lightning fast combinations, instead of darting in and out with efficient bursts as was his custom; Manny would stay right there with Marquez desperately trying to finally end Juan’s whining once and for all and fulfilling the KO wishes of all who believed in him and urged him on.
After inflicting heavy damage to Marquez in the fifth round and doing so similarly in sixth, Manny cornered Juan with seconds left in the round. Although he had easily won the round and was ahead in the fight, accumulating points was just not an option anymore and he moved in again to get closer to the now bloody and ever desperate Marquez.
As Pacquiao leaned in full of killer instinct and looking to sneak in another damaging blow before the final bell, Marquez sent the history-making right hand into Manny’s unguarded face and down went the icon along with all the intense pressure he was under to make sure Juan never made the final bell. They say knowledge is power; and the knowledge Marquez had of Manny’s only goal in the fight gave his right hand more power than any training, weight lifting or exercising could have ever done.