LAS VEGAS-Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez had promised a knockout win and delivered with a wicked right that Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao never saw and will probably never forget on Saturday before a stunned crowd.
Even the Mexican faithful seemed shocked by their compatriot’s win over nemesis Pacquiao.
Marquez (55-6-1, 40 Kos) finally beat Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 Kos) in the most exciting of their encounters before 16,348 rabid fans at the MGM Grand Casino. It was the fourth encounter and only win on the record books for the Mexican hero, but probably the most satisfying for either fighter.
“It was very important to win this fight,” said Marquez.
It was a conservative first two rounds with both Pacquiao and Marquez looking to counter instead of attacking. Marquez proved more adept in the first round but Pacquiao landed a flush left lead that made a mark on Marquez’s left eye.
An overhand right hand from hell floored Pacquiao for the first time in many years. Marquez didn’t attack after Pacquiao beat the count but fired uppercuts and some body blows to end the round three.
Marquez carefully attacked Pacquiao who seemed intent in returning a knockdown but the Mexican fighter did not cooperate. Marquez connected on a three punch combo at the end of round four.
In a wild round five Pacquiao floored Marquez with a lead left hand that caught the Mexican perfectly running into the punch. But when Pacquiao tried to finish the fight he was met with some furious exchanges.
“Manny came back and he was in charge,” said Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach after.
With Marquez looking like he was going to be run over from a Pacquiao attack, he fired a counter right hand that connected perfectly and sent Pacquiao senseless for more than a minute at 2:59 of round six. There was no arguing this time who was going to win this fight. Marquez shocked the crowd and the millions watching at home with a single blow.
“I knew in the last two rounds Manny was going to go for the knockout,” said Marquez. “I could have been knocked out at any time. I threw the perfect punch.”
Although the sight of Pacquiao lying face down senseless scared the fans, he seemed very coherent. And was very matter of fact about the outcome.
“I got hit by a punch I didn’t see,” Pacquiao said.
Top Rank’s Bob Arum said a fifth fight could be made. Both Marquez and Pacquiao agreed.
Gamboa holds on
Cuba’s ultra-athletic Yuri Gamboa (22-0, 16 Kos) survived a crushing knockdown at the hands of tough Filipino slugger Michael Farenas (34-4-4, 26 Kos) to win a hard fought unanimous decision after 12 rounds.
Now promoted by musical artist 50 Cent, the fleet Gamboa seemed to be cruising to an easy victory after knocking down southpaw Farenas once in round two and another in round seven. But when Gamboa gambled to finish the Filipino in round nine, he was too busy unloading a speedy combination to notice the trap Farenas had set. Down went Gamboa from a crushing left cross. The Cuban was still woozy but managed to move and hold when necessary to avoid more contact.
Farenas seemed to gain new energy from the knockdown and attacked even more ferociously, but the slick Gamboa used his defensive footwork and side steps to avoid any more big shots. Farenas never stopped working hard and showed to be a very dangerous opponent for anyone else in the future. All three judges scored in favor of Gamboa 117-109, 118-108, 117-108.
IBF lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez (32-3, 13 Kos) used his quick feet and long arms to win by unanimous decision against San Diego’s Mercito Gesta (26-1-1, 14 Kos) after 12 rounds. The Filipino southpaw usually is the faster fighter and could not make the adjustments.
If you ever watched Vazquez fight before it’s always hit and run while taking advantage of a long reach and quick hands. Gesta wanted to engage in a firefight but this was strategic battle from long range. Though the San Diego fighter was never hurt, he seldom attacked the body and paid the price for the head hunting as Vazquez quickly scooted out of danger.
Gesta adjusted in the late rounds by going to the body and head but never put on full pressure against Vazquez who unlike most Mexican fighters, never goes mano a mano. It’s one-two and sciddily doo. All three judges scored it for Vazquez 117-111, 119-109, 118-110.
Javier Fortuna (21-0-1, 15 Kos) jumped out to a fast lead over Patrick Hyland (27-1, 12 Kos) with his speed and agility in the first four rounds. Then, the Dominican who trains along with middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez slowed down and Hyland began to gain points. It just wasn’t soon enough for the judges who all gave it to Fortuna 118-110, 116-112, 115-113. Fortuna becomes the number one contender for the WBA featherweight title.
Former U.S. Olympian Jose Ramirez (1-0) erupted on Colorado’s Corey Seigwarth (2-2) with a flurry of tight punches in the opening round. A Ramirez left hook to the body had Seigwarth nearly quitting but he resumed. Ramirez then attacked the body again and smacked another left hook and down went the Coloradan. He beat the count but was swarmed by Ramirez who would not allow Seigwarth a moment to breathe. Referee Vic Drakulich stopped the lightweight bout at 2:05 of the first round. Freddie Roach trains Ramirez.
Southpaw Dodie Boy Penalosa (10-0, 10 Kos) had all of the advantages going in against Mexico City’s Juan Raya (6-5) and used them to perfection in winning by knockout. Penalosa was taller, faster and stronger in blasting out Mexico’s Raya with a short counter right hook at 1:12 of round two of the featherweight clash. No count was necessary by referee Jay Nady.
After suffering a slow start Philippine fighter Ernie Sanchez (14-3, 5 Kos) turned things around midway through the fight against Philadelphia’s Coy Evans (10-2-1, 2 Kos), including a knockdown. Once Evans slowed down, Sanchez used lead right hands to keep the Philadelphia boxer from using his speed and power. The final three rounds saw both featherweights turn up the heat and slug it out. Sanchez emerged more convincing with his right hands. Two judges scored it 77-73 and one 77-74 for Sanchez.
In a swing bout Las Vegas prizefighter Alexis Hernandez (3-1, 1 KO) and New Mexico’s Jazzma Hogue (2-4-1) came out banging. Hogue got an early jump but when Hernandez connected with a solid right, he stopped to shake his head that it didn’t hurt. At that very moment Hernandez came back with the express and dropped the New Mexico boxer. Hogue got up but was met with another combination and down he went again. Referee Jay Nady inspected the dazed fighter and ruled him unable to continue at 2:20 of the first round.