LAS VEGAS Juan Manuel Marquez knocked Manny Pacquiao out cold with a vicious right hand at the end of the sixth round Saturday night, putting a ferocious end to the fourth fight between the two boxers.
Pacquiao had been down in the third round but knocked Marquez down in the fifth, and the two were exchanging heavy blows in the sixth round before Marquez threw a right that flattened Pacquiao face down on the canvas at 2:59 of the sixth round.
The referee waved the fight to an end as Marquez celebrated and the sold-out crowd at the MGM erupted. Pacquiao was down for about two minutes before his handlers managed to get him up.
After being helped to his corner, Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts) sat on a stool, blew his nose and stared vacantly ahead as his handlers cut his gloves off. It was a stunning end to a furious fight, and it may have signaled the end of Pacquiao's career.
"I threw a perfect punch," Marquez said. "I knew Manny could knock me out at any time."
Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) had vowed to finally beat Pacquiao after losing two close fights and settling for a draw in the first fight. But after Pacquiao knocked him down in the fifth round and was landing big left hands, it looked like it would be Pacquiao's night.
The two came out for the sixth round and the pace was just as relentless. Both were landing big punches and both were brawling when suddenly, as the round came to a close, Marquez shot out a right hand that landed flush to the jaw of Pacquiao, who crumpled to the canvas in a heap.
"I felt he was coming to knock me out the last three rounds, and I knew he was going to be wide open," Marquez said.
It was the second loss in a row for Pacquiao, who dropped a decision to Timothy Bradley in June and who had vowed to regain his prominence in the ring.
Pacquiao was aggressive from the opening bell but paid the price in the third round when he was stunned by a Marquez right hand that put him down. Pacquiao got back up and seemingly took control of the fight, dropping Marquez in the fifth round and landing the bigger punches until he was dropped.
"I got hit by a punch I didn't see," Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao, who earned more than $20 million for the fight, was ahead 47-46 on all three scorecards after the fifth round.
Gamboa beats Farenas Former Cuban Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa won on the Pacquiao-Marquez undercard, giving rapper 50 Cent a victory in his debut as a boxing promoter.
Gamboa, fighting for the first time in more than a year, survived a ninth-round knockdown to take a unanimous 12-round decision over Michael Farenas of the Philippines in the 130-pound fight.
It was the first fight for Gamboa (22-0) with 50 Cent, and it went longer than either fighter or promoter would have liked. Gamboa knocked down Farenas in the second round and again in the seventh, but every time he tried to finish him off he ended up getting tagged himself.
Gamboa, who lives in Miami, opened cuts around both eyes of Farenas early and used his quickness to land some big shots. But Farenas (34-4-4) was relentless and nearly turned the fight around when he landed a huge left hook in the ninth round as Gamboa was trying to drop him again.