"I was just starting to feel confident and the I got careless."
That's how Manny Pacquiao tried to explain his astonishing knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last night (Dec. 8, 2012) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was likely still a bit woozy from the crushing right hand that "Dinamita" uncorked at the end of round six, which caused the Filipino firebrand to incredulously face plant (watch it here), but his brief post-fight assessment seemed accurate.
"Pacman" didn't have much time afterward to elaborate on what exactly went wrong because he was sent to the hospital for observation. His trainer Freddie Roach, however, held court at the "Pacquiao vs Marquez 4" post-fight press conference and attempted to provide additional answers.
His take wasn't much different:
"I don't think [this is the end for Manny Pacquiao]. I was just talking to him before he went to the hospital and he's feeling fine. He knows he walked into a punch and he knows made a mistake and got careless. That happens in boxing. It's not the first time we've ever been knocked out and it's not the first time we're going to have to come back from a loss. It will be a lot of hard work, but I'm sure that if everything goes well, he'll be fine. I think we expected pretty much everything [Juan Manuel Marquez] brought. I didn't think he'd be as heavy-handed as he was, but his right hand held a lot more in it than his last fights.... Things started to go our way and we got a little too aggressive, he wasn't using his faints to pull him in and he just walked into one. When he came back to the corner I was going to tell him to just go back to boxing and sharp-shooting the guy because I thought the fight was just about over -- I didn't think the fight was going to last much longer on our side."
Pacquiao was aggressive from the start, buzzing around Marquez and pushing the pace. He vowed to finish his Mexican nemesis before their fourth fight and Pacquiao seemed hellbent on making that prediction come true. However, in a sign of destruction to come, Marquez dropped Pacquiao in the third round with a looping right hand.
Undaunted, "Pacman" rose to his feet and kept up his relentless attack, scoring a knockdown of his own in round five and re-arranging Marquez's nose in the process. Bloodied but certainly not beaten, Marquez was a wounded fighter who very well could have been on his way out, but then he landed the punch of a lifetime.
One that Pacquiao failed to see in his wild and exuberant desire to register a decisive finish, once and for all, over Marquez.
Prior to the devastating sixth round knockout, Pacquiao was ahead 47-46 on all three judges scorecards after the fifth round.
Pacquiao will likely return the the squared circle in the near future (read more on that here). He's remarkably just 33-years-old, but he has a ton of mileage on his sturdy 5'6" frame. He might be a little slower and a little less refined, but there is no shame in going out on his shield after such an electrifying match up.
He simply got caught ... and that's okay.