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Boxing | International

Juan Manuel Marquez (R) and Manny Pacquiao © Reuters

Pacquiao knocked cold!



Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao in the sixth round in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

In a sensational finish to their fourth fight, the 39-year-old Mexican knocked Pacquiao cold with a booming right to the face to beat the Filipino superstar for the first time after three controversial defeats.

Pacquiao, 33, was also knocked down in the third round of their non-title welterweight bout. He had Marquez on the deck in the fifth but it was all over one second before the end of the sixth.

The knockout may have brought to an end the career of a fighter who was rated, not so long ago, as the best boxer, pound for pound, in the world.

And it gave Marquez and his many supporters the satisfaction of what they will regard as justice being done.

Pacquiao's wife was in tears as her husband lay flat on his face near the ropes for several minutes while doctors tried to revive him. He did manage a smile a little later.

The fourth fight between Pacquiao, an eight-division, ten-time world champion and Marquez, a four-division, five-time champion, began at a fast pace as the Filipino tried to stamp his authority on the proceedings.

But a huge right to the side of the head knocked “Pacman” right off his feet in the second round. Pacquiao took the count and responded viciously in an effort to return the compliment but Marquez kept his cool.

The Mexican probably won the fourth round as well but found himself touching the floor with a glove on the deck as Pacquiao nailed him with a left in the fifth and went in for the knockout, unsuccessfully, as Marquez stayed on his feet.

Pacquiao now has a professional record of 54-5-2, with 38 knockouts. Marquez stands at 55-6-1 with 40 knockouts.

Pacquiao weighed in at the welterweight division's 66.7kg limit on Friday and Marquez came in at 65 kg.

GAMBOA GETS UP TO WIN

On the undercard, Yuriorkis Gamboa beat Michael Farenas 117-109, 118-108 and 117-107 in a fight for the interim WBA junior lightweight title.

Gamboa remained undefeated at 22-0, with 16 knockouts, but was knocked down in the ninth round of an exciting fight. Farenas, now 34-4-4; 26, was knocked down twice in the first half of the bout but gave the 28-year-old Cuban Olympian a fright.

Gamboa, a former WBA and IBF featherweight champion, won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and now lives in Miami, Florida.

It was his first fight this year but he has beaten highly rated fighters such as Rogers Mtagwa, Jonathon Victor Barros, Jorge Solis and Daniel Ponce De Leon.

Farenas, 28, from the Philippines, had lost just once in his previous 30 fights.

Earlier Miguel Angel Vazquez retained his IBF lightweight title with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Mercito Gesta.

Vazquez, of Guadalajara, Mexico, improved his record to 33-3. He retained, for the fifth time, the title he won in 2010.

Before the fight, Gesta had been touted as the heir-apparent to Pacquiao. But he suffered the first loss of his career after 26 victories and one draw.

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JUDGES AT PRE-FIGHT MEETING

SAPA-AFP reports that the fight organisers had taken the unprecedented step of having the three judges attend the pre-fight rules meeting with both camps.

The Nevada Athletic Commission invited referee Kenny Bayless and the three judges, Adelaide Byrd, Steve Weisfeld and John Keane, to the meeting.

Before the fight, Marquez claimed he had won all three previous fights, of which Pacquiao won two and one ended in a draw.

Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, believed the judges will be fair. "If they do their job like they are supposed to do, everything will be fine," Roach said.

ROMNEY GAVE MANNY A PEP TALK

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave Manny Pacquiao a pep talk before the Filipino's fight against Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night.

Romney, who with his wife Ann was a ringside guest of Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Bill Brady, visited Pacquiao in his dressing room during one of the fights on the undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

"I wish you good luck tonight," a smiling Romney said in front of television cameras to Pacquiao, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions. "Have a great night. Good to see you."

Pacquiao's publicist, Fred Sternburg, said Romney began the short conversation by saying: "Hello Manny. I ran for president. I lost."

Pacquiao is no stranger to politics, having claimed a seat in his country's national congress in May 2010 when he was elected to the House of Representatives in the Congress of the Philippines.



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