LAS VEGAS — The idea of Manny Pacquiao being knocked out cold was shocking enough. The sight of him face down on the canvas, unresponsive even as bedlam broke out all around him, was positively frightening.
Pacquiao’s wife, who broke down in tears, tried to get in the ring to aid her husband.
Juan Manuel Marquez didn’t even bother to look. He was already busy celebrating the knockout of a lifetime.
This was boxing at its brutal best, a toe-to-toe slugfest Saturday night that was destined from the opening bell to be decided by fists instead of judges. Both fighters had been down, and both fighters were hurting when Marquez threw a right hand off the ropes with a second left in the sixth round that could be felt all the way in the rafters of the arena.
It will go down among the great fights of their era. But it was barely over when the cry arose for the two ever-so-willing fighters to do it again.
When it comes to Pacquiao and Marquez, four fights may not be enough.
If postfight comments from both fighters and promoter Bob Arum were any indication, Pacquiao and Marquez will more than likely fight for a fifth time. There’s too much money to be had and the fighter in Pacquiao will want a chance at redemption.
For any other fighter the knockout loss might be the end, but Pacquiao showed no sign afterward that he was willing to call it quits.