Saying Goodbye to a Legend

By Christian Giudice on December 11, 2012
Saying Goodbye to a Legend
There is a huge difference between being knocked out and hurt. Pacquiao was hurt.

Looking at his body of work, Pacquiao has given himself entirely to a sport, to his people. No knockout or loss can take that away…

As Manny Pacquiao slowly descended face first to the canvas Saturday night, something became clear even before he landed in such frightening fashion. It was over. It was over the same way it was over for Alexis Arguello after a 23-punch barrage from the hands of Aaron Pryor in 1982. In regards to the Pryor onslaught, late trainer Emanuel Steward said it best: “It will always be in the back of his mind.” Like Arguello, Pacquiao was eventually revived physically, but the wounds from this fight won’t heal—ever.

Great fighters get knocked out toward the end of their careers. Some of them return; others try to move on. However, there is a huge difference between being knocked out and hurt. That being said, Pacquiao was hurt. Hurt in the sense that people feared for his safety. The hurt was magnified as those close to him clamored to be by his side. It is easy to blame the loss on carelessness and claim that Pacquiao was winning the fight, realistic to admit his skills have deteriorated and he will never be the same fighter again.

Whether he admits it or not, Pacquiao knows the consequences of walking into such a monumental punch. All fighters innately know their capabilities and limitations, yet few are willing to admit them. He will never attack an opponent with such ferocity, never corner a man and refuse to let him escape, never land those devastating combinations in the same fashion, but, most importantly, he will never arouse those legions of fans who have followed him religiously for so many years. Looking at his body of work, Pacquiao has given himself entirely to a sport, to his people. No knockout or loss can take that away.

For periods during the bout, Pacquiao showed glimpses of his old self. In fact, in the second and fifth rounds, Pacquiao landed that beautiful straight left hand with the same vigor as he had five or six years ago. By knocking Marquez down in the fifth, Pacquiao began to change the tenor of the fight. In the same round, the old fire returned as Pacquiao trapped Marquez against the ropes and landed hooks to the body and head.

Thus, if there was any question as to how Pacquiao would cope with the classic counterpunching of Marquez, he answered it early on through his movement and how he effectively used angles. Pacquiao adapted by no longer walking directly into Marquez’s comfort zone, so the straight right did not have the same derisive effect as it had in the past. With the exception of the third-round knockdown punch, Pacquiao had frustrated Marquez as if to confirm, “This time I will be better than you.” For a couple rounds, he was.

Then came the punch.

If the last punch was tragic, the first right hand was equally as significant. When Marquez landed those right hands in the third and sixth rounds, the punches had nothing to do with Pacquiao’s carelessness or Marquez being “lucky.” The offensively-minded Pacquiao has always fought that way, and he never got hit with the two vicious right hands like he did against Marquez. By getting hit by a looping right hand that came from a distance and then walking into that knockout right hand, Pacquiao became vulnerable, and placed himself in dangerous positions on two different occasions. Great fighters don’t fall into those traps.

Truth is, a fighter does not go down like Manny did and expect to be competitive again. If he leaves now, Pacquiao’s legacy won’t be tainted. He still goes down as an all-time great who engendered more love and passion than any fighter in recent memory. Millions fell in love with the sport because of Manny. Millions fell in love with Manny because he cared for his people. His fights brought people from different social spheres together. Forget about the boxing aspect, Pacquiao will leave the sport with options and his faculties intact. Few, if any, great fighters can say that when they retire.

If you have watched or covered Pacquiao throughout his career, you respect him not only as a boxer, but as a man. Everyone knows what Pacquiao has meant to the sport, and if people close to him had any concern for his well-being, they would call for him to retire. To lose someone of Pacquiao’s class and stature would be tragic. If he fights Marquez again, that is the risk that he takes.

Still the memory of those final seconds and the aftermath will stay fresh for everyone who witnessed it.

As Pacquiao’s cornermen and doctors raced to the ring apron, his wife, Jinkee, screamed to escape from a throng of spectators. The collective boxing public gasped for air. The punch marked the end of an era. It brought closure to the rivalry, but the fight signified a level of sadness that is rarely acknowledged in sport. To see a hero so desperate and helpless is hard to take. To see it again would be impossible to bear.

Christian Giudice

Author: The Rise and Fall of Alexis Argüello
Author: Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran

Twitter Account:!/chrisgiudice
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  1. bikermike 06:09am, 12/15/2012

    I think it is a little premature to ‘say goodbye to a legend’  I saw no decline in skills nor reflexes by EITHER JMM nor Pacquaio in that last match up.

  2. Michael 05:10am, 12/15/2012

    It wasn’t a lucky punch they’ve fought 3x before. All those rounds all those punches. Bound to happen. PAC is finished only if HE thinks he is. Who didn’t think Marquez was finished? If PAC cannot make the sacrifices he once did to prep for a fight, THEN it’s over.  No one dodges me sandman. Except Marciano and Mayweather—so far

  3. Frank 11:38pm, 12/14/2012

    @Galvaran, maybe you are new to the sport or have only been watching since mayweather and pac have become mainstream. But to say Floyd has never been rocked while in his prime is just plain false. Check mayweather vs castillo and mayweather vs judah. Judah hit Floyd the hardest he’s ever been hit and, had the ref been paying closer attention, would have scored the only knockdown in Floyd’s professional career. His glove touched canvas. Shane landed a big punch that rocked Floyd, but Floyd has def been hit harder.

  4. Bodyshots 01:02pm, 12/13/2012

    Btw, at the moment of the KO, i also had Pacquiao* ahead 3 rounds to 2 for Marquez (i gave Juan the third and 4th rounds) but i wasn’t at all concerned. ebb and flow is the M.O. of most great fighters and i was confident that Marquez would make up for the lost rounds with additional KDs and a late-rounds TKO. of course, NObody expected one of the top-5 KOs in boxing history. on a scale of 1-10, Marquez’s KO of Pacquiao* was a solid and unforgettable 10.

  5. Galvaran 10:42am, 12/12/2012

    @Paul, Yes I thought it was a lucky punch.  Never said that Marquez didn’t train or wasn’t skilled enough to catch PAC but from what I saw it looked like he was just swinging..  It could be it that Marquez “planned” it but IMO it was lucky.  Opinion.  I’m making a Mayweather comparison because Floyd was never really rocked before in his prime.  It was out of the blue, a shocker when I saw a past his prime Mosley connect the way he did.  Just like it was shocker that Marquez was able to knock PAC out with a single punch because he’s never been able to do it before.

  6. the thresher 09:15am, 12/12/2012

    Gee, I must have been watching another fight, but what I saw was Pac beating up and getting ready to stop JMM until he walked into a brick.

    JMM ackowledged as much.

  7. BK Don 08:15am, 12/12/2012

    Really good piece, but i don’t agree w/ the author. Pacman was very competitive with an elite fighter for 5+ rounds and was in fact winning the fight. This is after beating a top tier fighter in Timothy Bradley in his last outing (I don’t care what the judges ruled). Manny has obviously lost a step, all fighters do with age but it’s not fair to him to ask him to leave the sport b/c he suffered a bad knockout. Lewis suffered a terrible KO against Rahman later in his career and not only avenged it, but continued to compete at a top level.

  8. Selanne 07:13am, 12/12/2012

    It’s not the end for Manny. He’s vowed to come back. I think he will and he will fight Marquez for a 5th time.

  9. Bodyshots 06:40pm, 12/11/2012

    Btw, even if the fifth match takes place when Marquez is 50, Freddie will never-Ever assume that Marquez is too old, small, ringworn, faded, or vulnerable Again. with the possible exception of the first fight, that seems to be a primary factor that Roach is counting on for Pacquiao* to defeat Marquez. bottomline, it never happened and the rivalry is Over.

  10. Bodyshots 06:34pm, 12/11/2012

    fight-fans exceedingly familiar with Marquez recognize the crunching work he puts in even during losing(?) rounds. i submit Exhibit A: Marquez v. Diaz I. “Baby Bull” earned some solid rounds in the early going. emphasis on Earned because Marquez was seriously dinging him with the entire arsenal of Boxing punches throughout. what is apparent is that nobody can stand Marquez-caliber punishment for very long and it’s immiment. omnipresent. unrelenting. especially when Marquez is Hurt(?!) and shifts into MADD-mode determined to leave a lasting impression. last Saturday was a masterpiece of Marquez in legendary action and the mission that he dedicated himself too those many years ago is finally accomplished . . . Viva Marquez!

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 05:37pm, 12/11/2012

    As the controlling body in LV for this dangerous combat sport the NSAC doesn’t test for HGH…doesn’t test for EPO….doesn’t test for synthetic T ...but they do test for weed big time and if a fighter tests hot his or her ass is as they say grass! It will more than likely take a fatality in a high profile fight to force them to do their job i.e. insuring the health and safety of the fighters who literally put their lives on the line when step into the ring.

  12. Fayell 05:31pm, 12/11/2012

    He wont retire haha dont matter what people say if he says he can go then he can go and will get back up im mexican but damn respect pacman cheered for him sincce before the marquez fight. Watch him come back and even better he finally got k.o’d big whoop they told him he was ok and now he is resting.

  13. BTBchamp 04:56pm, 12/11/2012

    Quoting the article, “Truth is, a fighter does not go down like Manny did and expect to be competitive again.” The author probably didn’t see Roberto Duran fall face down and stayed down exactly like Pacquiao did, and rebounded later in his career to capture yet another belt. George Foreman did so too. And a few others.

  14. FrankinDallas 04:53pm, 12/11/2012

    Only thing ending may be Roach’s reign as a top trainer. What was the plan? To run into JMM’s punches until Marquez got tired? Pac won two bouts by decision…he didn’t need to go back to his old swing for the fences style. If Roach told him to go for the home run/ko, then it’s his fault. If not, then we can forgive Freddie.

  15. raxman 04:23pm, 12/11/2012

    i think the main thing apparant from this fight is that pac has certainly lost the stamina he once had. up to and including the margarito fight pac would fight every minute of every round. in recent fights we’ve seen pac take long sections of rounds off. in this fight he was back to fighting the full 3 minutes but by the 6th he looked to be gassing. what other explanation is there for him not hurrying to finish jmm off after having him hurt at the end of the 5th? when they met centre ring at the start of the 6th it was hard to tell which was in worst shape - jmm from the shots that hit or pac from the many that missed.

  16. Darrell 03:50pm, 12/11/2012

    Best article after the washup of this fight.  It would be tragic for the man to get kayoed like this again…now it’s happened, could easily happen again.

  17. BB Bergmann 01:22pm, 12/11/2012

    Pacquiao not only suffered a stunning KO, earlier in the bout he was knocked down with a clean shot that a blind man could have seen coming from around the wide corner of the barn across the field. How many wider shots have ever been seen at this level that resulted in a knockdown? In addition, what caused Pacquiao to come in with reckless abandon against one of the best counter-punchers in the business…a counter-puncher with inhuman recuperative abilities? Pacquiao was not fighting some young gun; he was fighting a 39 year old war horse that showed his own signs of age. Pacquiao has not stopped anyone in over 3 years. In the three years prior to that he stopped Morales, Solis, Diaz, De La Hoya, Hatton and Cotto. What is it that prevents fans from recognizing that something’s changed when it’s obvious that something’s changed? Pacquiao has clearly entered the sunset years of his career and I would not be shocked if he was not a fight or two from retirement (if not sooner).

  18. Eric 12:58pm, 12/11/2012

    Jumping the gun a little too soon on this one perhaps? Ever hear of Floyd Patterson or Roberto Duran? Ever see Ingemar Johansson handle Floyd like a ragdoll in their first fight only to be knocked out himself in the second and third meetings with Floyd. Remember when Thomas Hearns flat out pancaked Roberto Duran in the second round in a fight that was one-sided from the opening seconds. How many thought that was the last we would ever see of the “Hands of Stone.” It isn’t as if Pacquiao was getting creamed like Floyd or Duran, on the contrary, Pacquiao was winning the fight and ran into a punch. Sheet happens. This guy will be back just like Patterson and Duran.

  19. Paul 11:47am, 12/11/2012

    @Galvaran: when Manny carelessly clashed legs with Marquez, he lost his firm footing, leaving him off balance within the range of Marquez’ punch for only a second - and you think that Marquez was able to hit that mark was just luck? He was just swinging anyway? Nothing to do with 1000s upon 1000s of hours spent training boxing? Refining reflexes? And you express confusion at the fact that people are calling for Manny’s retirement after being ko’d, but they didn’t when Mayweather ALMOST got ko’d. huh?

  20. Galvaran 10:37am, 12/11/2012

    End of a legend?  You can’t be serious? Tell me PAC was not lighting Marquez up before the punch?  PAC got caught with a really good (and i think kind of lucky) punch.  He was going for the kill and got careless.  He didn’t get knocked out cause he’s old or slow.  Anybody can get caught.  Mosley almost knocked Mayweather out, did anyone say Mayweather was a dying legend?  What you should really write about is how PAC is now human again.  The knockout humbled him and instead of becoming a dying legend he’ll be working to become a different one.

  21. BB Bergmann 09:56am, 12/11/2012

    For Pacquiao it could be as simple as this: careless, overconfident, ring-IQ slippage, or lost something (speed, peripheral vision, etc) along the way. Two of the four are not a big deal. The other two are potentially game-over issues.

  22. bikermike 09:33am, 12/11/2012

    I have to get my front door replaced…...turns out that that lady down the lane ...(tequila lady…she’d have a shot before she went to work in the morning…I smelled it when I pushed her car out of the snow last winter) has several boyfriends..and when we were watching the fight(Pacquiao Marquez IV) at her place…her other boyfriend was waiting outside for me.

    Luckily ...I stayed the night..and when he found out where I lived…he began to kick my door in.  I have a dog ...and he left…well at least most of him.

    Pacquiao was as good as he ever was in this match….his punches were fast and accurate…rapier like accuracy..

    Marquez was the difference.  He wasn’t trying for a decision…he was gonna win by KO or lose by KO…....a much different strategy than the previous matches.

    Marquez was behind when the knockout came…and he was getting punched to pieces….his mouth and nose were filled with blood…his eye was closing….but he was not showing any quarter.

    Pacquaio walked right into that counter punch…and he went down for enough time to take a reading on global warming ffs.
    Marquez went for broke…and he was victorious.

    I salute Marquez…IMHO…Marquez should have been awarded at least two of the previous three fights….if the ring was square…and the judges weren’t bought and paid for.

  23. Bodyshots 08:12am, 12/11/2012

    “As Manny Pacquiao slowly descended face first to the canvas Saturday night . . .” there was nothing slow or gradual about it. Manny* went down as if he’d been Shot. gravity never looked so deliberate or overwhelming. Btw, too much is being made of Pacquiao* seemingly winning on the scorecards building up to the final KO. it was obvious that Marquez was not looking to win on the scorecards but with decisive and explosive punching. he was transparent about his preparation and fight-plan all along. the KO was intentional and premeditated. once Marquez humbled himself to recognize that he lacked the celebrity clout to sway judges against Pacquiao* he adopted the mind-set of most Mexican fighters, which is to win by KO if they want to avoid being robbed by American scorecards. a lesson that even Pacquiao* was subjected to v. Bradley. bottomline, the primary reason for Marquez’s victory is called Boxing, which he and Beristain do better than Pacquiao* and Roach and with both parties being thoroughly forewarned, they Proved-It once and for all last Saturday night . . . Viva Marquez!

  24. Joe 08:02am, 12/11/2012


  25. andrew 07:55am, 12/11/2012

    same thing could happen to mayweather,if he stays fighting safe opponents,it won’t,but,the great fighters come back,like Ali, when he lost,they were saying the same things(retire,he’s finished etc.),look what Ali accomplished after he lost to frazier in 1971,and ten to norton,he proceeds to get a shot at foreman who looked invincible,they were saying don’t fight him you’ll die in the ring,Ali shocked everyone..manny has al ot yet to accomplish,and yes,he will beat the invincible mayweather,just as great legends do,he will come back.

  26. TOLZKY 07:52am, 12/11/2012

    Marquez put his bait to trap Pacman for that style which is good for a counter puncher and he’s successful….Marquez do it in 3rd & successfully finished it in 6th round. Likewise Pacman is not invisible he is also a human being…anyhow, hope both fighters are well okay and healthy after the fight….

  27. 06:54am, 12/11/2012

    Stupid, its not saying goodbye to a legend it’s saying goodbye to the Pacquiao that we have been seeing for the last couple of months, to the pacquiao that no longer has the will, the fire, the eye of the tiger, we lost him ever since he won the election, ever since he has conquered everything, but after that knock out it grounded him, it humbled him and it gave him the reason to not call it quits yet.  I just hate reading stupid ass columns written by people who clearly don’t know much about boxing, or thinks of pacquiao like he is a normal fighter, like Cotto, Hatton and many other fighters.  Well Pacquiao is a champion born once in a lifetime, and what gets him going is if that he has something to prove, the way he did with Barrera, Oscar, Morales the 2nd time and Cotto, hell he even let Cotto punch him hard in the 2nd round just to prove to everyone that he could take the punch of a welterweight.  I know this looks funny but Pacquiao reminds me of the Rocky 3, Rocky was given opponents that clearly didn’t possess a challenge for him during the peak of his career, after he has proven that he could beat Apollo he never had an opponent that was worthy enough to fight him, that lost his interest, his fire, the eye of the tiger, and when a challenge was given to him he loss.  This was what happened to pacquiao, tell me was mosley a challenge? was margarito a serious threat? hell even he lost to Bradley, still that guy didn’t equal the skills that marquez has.  Because Pacquiao almost has everything now, he doesn’t have anything to prove, he no longer has the eye of the tiger, it was marquez who had it.  I doubted Pacquiao would lose this fight and I feel sorry as a Huge Pacquiao fan that i said he deserved it, but I was in shock by the way he was defeated.  I wanted Pacquiao to lose so that as a huge Pacquaio fan I would get excited again in every scheduled fight, and now I get to get my early Christmas gift.  I know that this is not saying goodbye to a legend this is saying hello to the Pacman who has that eye of the tiger, and I know come rematch time, Pacquiao would come back victorious, because this time he has all the reason to keep on going, to train hard.  The result would be the way Rocky defeated his opponent at Rocky 3.

  28. angelo 06:23am, 12/11/2012

    pac will come back stronger, he’s been knock out twice before but always comes back stronger. he was beaten by Morales but it only made made him more stronger and devour everything in his path. Pac was winning in the scorecards and he knows that marquez is already ripe for knock out, Pac will bounce back.

  29. Irish Frankie Crawford Bear Saijo (aka) Gimpel 06:22am, 12/11/2012

    Simply a great article as far as it goes….everyone including the NSAC is hip deep in elephant dung….but there’s no elephant in this room….right! Of course it’s all good because JMM executed his game plan and damn near executed Manny in the process!

  30. Jaime 05:14am, 12/11/2012

    I don’t agree with you. Manny was beating Marquez to the punch and got careless.Try to watch again the replay to see what I’m talking about.

  31. gladiatorsports 05:12am, 12/11/2012

    How to cheat.  Explained by the biggest cheater of them all:

  32. T.O.N.E-z 02:52am, 12/11/2012

    pac-man pull ya skirt down homie! happens to the best of them…you’re not invincible…shake it off and stay swingin!

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