While a stunned and disbelieving nation is still coming to terms with the brutal sixth round knockout of eight-division world champion and "Fighter of the Decade" Manny Pacquiao at the hands of four-division champion and Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez, the Pambansang Kamao appears to have moved on and has displayed a lot of class after that humbling loss.
Both men had the required post-fight check-up at the University Medical Center where Pacquiao who suffered a concussion according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was given a CT Scan which his adviser Michael Koncz said was "Negative. We were in and out in just over an hour and Manny was in excellent spirits."
Pacquiao returned to his penthouse suite in his hotel for a family dinner followed by a viewing of the fight and, showing he hadn't lost his sense of humor, Pacquiao said as the DVD played "Spoiler alert. I don't think you are going to like how it ends." Afterwards he issued a statement which read "First and foremost I would like to thank God for keeping Juan Manuel Marquez and me safe during our fight. I want to congratulate Juan Manuel. I have no excuses. It was a good fight and he deserved the victory. I think boxing fans who watched us were winners too."
He assured all his fans: "I am fine. I am looking forward to a nice rest and then I will be back to fight."
Defeated Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney went to Pacquiao's dressing room while an undercard fight was going on and told him, "I wish you good luck tonight" with the smiling Romney adding "Have a great night. Good to see you."
According to Pacquiao's publicist Fred Sternburg, Romney began the short conversation by saying: "Hello Manny. I ran for president. I lost." He too appeared shocked by the way the fight ended.
Pacquiao's charming wife Jinkee cried her heart out in anguish when she saw her husband flat on his face on the canvas hardly moving, as Top Rank promoter Bob Arum rushed to her side to console the distraught lady.
NOT THE BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT
It was not the best birthday gift for Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who celebrated his 81st birthday on fight night shortly after learning that a sell-out crowd of over 16,000 predominantly Mexican fans had paid over $10.6 million to watch the fight "live" with hundreds of thousands expected to have followed the action on pay-per-view.
He was nearest the action when Marquez caught Pacquiao with a devastating short right hand counter punch as Pacquiao, having broken Marquez' nose and bloodied his face went in for the kill with a one-two combination that missed its target as Manny appeared to step on Marquez kill and was off-balance for a split second which was all that the brilliant counter-puncher Marquez needed to unload a thunderous right that ended it all.
Referee Kenny Bayless didn't bother to count as ringside doctors rushed to administer to the fallen cross-over superstar who had battled Marquez in three previous fights that invariably ended in controversy, none more controversial than their third fight which many boxing fans and respected media people felt Marquez deserved to win.
Both men had made it clear they wanted a definitive end to their fourth encounter. Pacquiao said he wanted to make it short and Marquez indicated he wanted to win by a knockout and take the decision out of the hands of the judges, claiming they had robbed him of victory in his past three fights.
While Marquez achieved what he wanted so badly and in many respects a knockout is convincing, the undeniable fact is that Pacquiao had him in trouble and was leading on the scorecards of all three judges by one point when as both he and celebrated trainer Freddie Roach said, Manny got careless and paid the price.
Pacquiao said "I got overconfident and never expected that punch. He got me with a good shot. That's boxing," even as he conceded he didn't see the punch.
Bob Arum said that one defeat doesn't mean the end of a fighter's career and expressed his wish that "after a few months back in training, Manny will be back to fight."
Referring to the Marquez fight as a ring classic Arum posed the question "Why not?" in relation to a fifth fight to which Pacquiao dutifully responded, "No problem. It is part of the game."
Marquez, who dropped Pacquiao with a walloping right overhand shot in the third round after a good body shot, spurred the courageous Filipino to fight back with a vengeance, throwing punches and trying to even the count but the knockdown actually evened the score at 28-28 after three rounds with Manny taking the first two.
Round five was a classic as Pacquiao nailed Marquez with a right straight followed by a devastating left that dropped Marquez whose glove touched the canvas as he tried to steady himself and Bayless, very correctly, ruled it a knockdown to once again put Pacquiao ahead on the scorecards.
Marquez came back with a big right hand but Pacquiao was not to be denied as he hurt Marquez again and continued to pounce on him as both fighters went toe-to-toe trading vicious punches.
By the fateful sixth round Pacquiao had broken Marquez' nose and bloodied his face as he landed lethal combinations that put Marquez on retreat mode. Sensing he had the Mexican for the taking Pacquiao pursued his foe and appeared to lose his balance for a split second after stepping on Marquez' foot and as he prepared to throw a one-two combination he missed and Marquez pounced on the slightest of openings and connected with an incredible right hand counter flush on the face that sent Pacquiao flat on his face and out cold.
CHANGE IN RELIGION
Pacquiao's mother Dionisia blamed her son's defeat to changing from a devout Catholic who carried a rosary as he entered the ring, knelt in prayer in his corner before the start of a fight and made the sign of the cross, to a Bible-studying Christian surrounded by pastors.
She told GMA 7 that pastors had bothered Pacquiao and created confusion in his home. "Why did they take my son?" she asked "when he was quiet and was a champion when he belonged to his former religion?"
Dionisia said she is "not afraid to face the pastors no matter who they are."
From a boxing man's point of view it would seem unfair to blame religion for his defeat although there are quite a few who believe this was one of the causes of Manny's loss.
PROBLEM IN PACQUIAO CAMP?
Well-known TV analyst and a longtime friend of Pacquiao. Moy Lainez told Yahoo! Philippines, "there appears to be a problem within the Pacquiao camp between Roach on the one hand and strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza on the other" with Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz also ranged against the Colombian.
Lainez believes that Pacquiao's sparring was "too long and his punch-mitts were also too much" even as he explained that in the old days the punch-mitts were referred to as "coaching mitts" whereby a trainer used it find out why a fighter didn't punch properly, checked on his timing and his reflexes.
He said "while it's nice to watch Manny on the punch-mitts going ten rounds it is not helpful because the trainer is not hitting you back and guides you on what to do."
Lainez suggested that Pacquiao "concentrate more on his conditioning and working on the heavy bag."
He pointed out, "I don't think Roach and Ariza are in agreement" and noted that Marquez concentrated on strength and conditioning under Angel Heredia which is also what Pacquiao's former assistant trainer and heavyweight contender Justin Fortune did.
At the same time Lainez recalled that after his first fight against Marquez Rod Nazario, Pacquiao's first manager told him, "Manny, don't make the mistake of fighting Marquez again" even as he recalled that in those days "you didn't know where the punches are coming from whether it was a left or a right and he is really strong but that changed when Roach took over and fighters like Marquez know what he is going to do and was well prepared."
Asked whether he agreed that Pacquiao and Marquez should fight one more time because there are many who feel that a "lucky punch" did Pacquiao in, Lainez said "If it's up to me I would not fight Marquez right now and instead face Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley to whom Pacquiao lost a roundly condemned split decision and " If he wins impressively then he should fight Marquez or try Floyd Mayweather, Jr." although such a fight would be almost impossible to make at this time.
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.