The tributes are still coming in for Manny Pacquiao, now retired (and not likely to come back; there will be no sad ring return for Manny). So many people simply wish to extend their gratitude to Pacquiao, truly a one-off boxing hero. Pacquiao gave us everything during his quarter of a century (and six months) in the ring: great rivalries (with Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales), sizzling action in almost all of his fights, a genuine humbleness win, lose or draw, and of course, some sensational knockouts.
In fact, it’s probably fair to say Pacquiao’s career had two absolute highlight reel KO’s, both never to be forgotten – and Pac-Man was on both sides when it came to delivering and taking the knockout.
It was in May of 2009 when Pacquiao’s lethal fists took out British hero Ricky Hatton in nothing short of frightening fashion. Pacquiao levelled Hatton with a savage, indeed hellish, looping left hand bomb that put the “Hitman’s” lights out the split-second it landed. Pacquiao’s handiwork and its results were as disturbing to witness as they were exhilarating. Hatton was down for some time, all but motionless as he lay prostrate in the canvas in Las Vegas.
The stunning one-punch KO reminded some observers of the classic, for the ages KO the one and only Sugar Ray Robinson took out Gene Fulmer with back in the 1950s. Pacquiao’s KO of the Year was indeed special and you can make a great argument that the second-round KO Pacquiao scored over Hatton deserves to go down as his most memorable, even if it was not his most impressive victory.
But what about THAT knockout?
It was in December of 2012, when Pacquiao fought his final fight with arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez. Together, these two greats had swapped leather and controversial decisions for a little over four-and-a-half years, with the two legends boxing a total of 36 rounds. Going into the fourth fight, there was still no clear winner as far as who the better fighter was. But in globally shocking fashion, Marquez changed that (or did he?) in round-six of their final showdown.
After another great action fight – one that saw Marquez busted up and knocked down, with Pacquiao also tasting the canvas – “Dinamita” suddenly struck with utter perfection during the fading seconds of the sixth-round. Marquez, throwing and landing THE punch of his long career, caught an inrushing Pacquiao with a bomb of a flush right hand. Pacquiao went down just as violently as Hatton had done three years before, landing flat on his face, not moving for some time. It was absolutely The KO of the Year, if not the decade!
But this is where Manny Pacquiao earned perhaps even more fans. Refusing to feel sorry for himself, refusing to make any excuses for the loss, Pac-Man recovered, he dusted himself down and he got back on the horse. This is what a true champion does, and no fighter perhaps deserves the mantle True Champion more than Pacquiao.
All of us who saw those two electrifying knockouts take place will ever forget them. Both were genuine jaw-dropping moments. Quite literally.