LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao released a statement the morning after being brutally knocked unconscious by Juan Manuel Marquez at the close of the sixth round:
“I am fine. I am looking forward to a nice rest and then I will be back to fight.”
Marquez, at 39, might never have an opportunity to walk away from fighting on such a high after his dramatic moment of vindication that followed three bitter decisions against Pacquiao: two losses and a draw.
Yet veteran promoter Bob Arum said he expects Marquez to return for a fight Arum believes is now the most wanted bout on the landscape: Marquez-Pacquiao V.
“It depends on how much money Marquez wants to make,” Arum said Sunday, assuring the Mexican fighter’s $6 million guaranteed purse from Saturday will be amplified because of his stunning performance. “Don’t be naive. He’ll be back.”
Pacquiao, 33, was positioned to take a 57-55 lead on all three judges’ score cards after battering Marquez in the sixth round and rallying from his first knockdown since 2003 in the third round to knock Marquez to the canvas in the fifth.
Then, Pacquiao came forward with a jab late in the sixth, and Marquez answered with what he called a “perfect punch,” a devastating right counter into Pacquiao’s jaw and nose that sent him slumping to the canvas, face-down.
The knockout may have represented the official death of the long-negotiated and anticipated Pacquiao showdown against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“The world wants to see these two guys fight again more than it wants to see Mayweather, fighting in his style,” Arum said.
In Saturday’s post-fight news conference, boxing’s power brokers anticipated a fifth meeting between the pair.
“Everyone’s asking me about the fifth fight,” said Todd DuBoef, president of Top Rank, which promotes both fighters. “When you’re entertained like that, how can you not make another?”