by: Rey Andres
After eight years, 42 rounds and hours and hours of trainings for the two great ring gladiators, finally the score was settled on the sixth round of their fourth encounter on who between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez would be the last man standing on the boxing ring.
Manuel Marquez, who appeared bulkier and stronger, knocked the daylights out of the Philippines’ “Pambansang Kamao” and sent him to slumberland for a least a minute that sent his beloved wife, Jinkee, in a state of panic momentarily. The scene was reminiscent of the reaction of now retired Ricky Hatton who Pacquiao sent to the canvas in their last encounter that sent the Briton on a three- year retirement course and desperation.
In the Pacquiao-Hatton encounter in May 2009 it will be recalled, Pacquiao knocked out Hatton cold with a sharp left hook that prompted the referee to award the Philippine champion the win at 2:59 of the second round.
In their fourth meeting last Dec. 8, Marquez, who was desperate for victory after being down 0-2-1 in their legendary series, knocked Pacquiao out with a flush overhand right hand with only a second remaining in the round of their non-title fight that sent shock waves not only to the sold-out crowd of more than 16,000 pro-Marquez boxing enthusiasts at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, to thousands of PPV subscribers and to his millions of fans in the Philippines and around the world.
Pacquiao went down face-first and referee Kenny Bayless did not even bother counting out Marquez who celebrated on the ring rope that elicited cheers from his Mexican fans who must have felt vindicated for vanquishing a number of their compatriots in previous boxing bouts. It was to Marquez who said after the match in an interview “a perfect punch” and probably a lucky one sensing that Manny could knock him out anytime.
Pacquiao said he did his best and became careless and got hit by a punch he never expected. It was part of a cycle of winning and losing as in life.
The stunning scene was something personal to Pacquiao’s millions of followers both in the U.S. and in his native Philippines who saw in him a hero and an example of one who confronted the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in his life at age 16 as a skinny pugilist from Mindanao.
Pacquiao, after the fight has a career record of 54-5-2 against Marquez’s 55-6-1.
After many years of “playing to the crowd” through his never say die boxing style a lot of people are now beginning to entertain the thought that maybe Pacquiao should hung up his boxing gloves for there’s “nothing to prove anymore”. His fans who saw him conquer bigger and stronger opponents have been amazed by his dedication to his sport and saw him practically metamorphose before their eyes- from being a gentleman boxer to a pious individual who “speaks from the goodness of his heart” whenever there is an opportunity and has remained humble in spite of success. They are thankful to him for putting the Philippines in the world map with his professional skills and meriting the attention of the world to see his native Philippines in a different light.
He has been rewarded with so much blessings that he probably would not be able to use in his lifetime and his fans dread to see him follow the footsteps of a good number of boxing greats in the likes of Jimmy Ellis, Floyd Patterson, Bobby Chacon, Jerry Quarry, Mike Quarry, Jimmy Young, Wilfred Benitez, Emile Griffith, Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson who are in a list of sportsmen afflicted with the condition known as “Punch Drunk Syndrome” or “Dementia Pugilistica or DP”, a by-product of his profession.
Punch-drunk syndrome also known as Boxer’s Syndrome, is a condition common among boxers “caused by head trauma which typically develops about 16 years after the initial head injury”. The affliction a group of symptoms consisting of progressive dementia, tremor of the hands, epilepsy, and parkinsonism caused by repeated blows to the head severe enough to cause concussion and characterized by weakness in the lower limbs, unsteadiness of gait, slowness of muscular movements, hand tremors, hesitancy of speech, and mental dullness.
Symptoms and signs of DP develop progressively over decades and the condition is thought to affect around 15% to 20% of professional boxers. The symptoms often do not become overt until middle age or later, and are often indistinguishable from Alzheimer’s.