[PHOTO - Juan Manuel Marquez, from Mexico, left, celebrates after knocking out Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, in the sixth round of their fight Saturday, in Las Vegas. Referee Kenny Bayless tends to Pacquiao at right. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)]

MANILA, DECEMBER 10, 2012 (PHILSTAR) Juan Manuel Marquez made sure it won’t go to the scorecards this time.

Marquez left no doubt as to who’s the better fighter between him and Manny Pacquiao, knocking the Filipino icon out cold on his belly to settle the score in their fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas today.

The end came at the end of the sixth round as Pacquiao walked straight into a booming right hand by Marquez. Pacquiao crumbled down to the canvas and stayed motionless for some time, and referee Kenny Bayless immediately waved off the fight.

The official time of the knockout was 2:59 of Round 6.

"I threw the perfect punch. I saw he was going for a 1-2. I stepped into the right and hit him," a vindicated Marquez said of the devastating blow that broke the hearts of millions of Filipinos.

It was a fitting end for Marquez, whose vastly improved physique translated into more power. The Mexican decked Pacquiao with haymaker in round 3 to the shock of Filipino fans in the packed venue. Pacquiao beat the count and managed to recover near the end of the round.

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"I'm very happy. Four and a half months (of training) led to this. I knew I was strong and I was quick. It led to this," Marquez added.

In another epic fight, the two fighters were involved in some vicious exchanges, like they did in their previous three fights. Pacquiao shrugged off the first knockdown and sent Marquez to the canvas in the fifth canto with a sneaky left straight.

Pacquiao pummeled Marquez for the rest of the round and appeared to be in control in the next canto. That is, until he got knocked out cold.

The knockout likewise stunned the Filipino crowd in attendance, with Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee shown sobbing as her husband lay still on the canvas.

The loss was Pacquiao’s third by way of knockout, having been previously stopped by compatriot Rustico Torrecampo and Thailand’s Medgoen Singsurat.

Marquez improved to 54-6-1, with 40 KOs.

Filipino Fans stunned by Pacman's knockout defeat

[PHOTO - FALLEN HERO: Manny Pacquiao lays face down on the mat after being knocked out in the sixth round by Juan Manuel Marquez during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Dec. 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada COURTESY OF INQUIRER]

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Filipino fans were stunned by Manny Pacquiao's knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez on Sunday, dampening the spirit of a nation battered by a powerful typhoon that killed more than 600 people in the southern region where the boxing champion lives.In New Bataan township, which was ravaged by Typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha) last week, refugees, rescuers and aid workers took a break from a grueling search for bodies and survivors to watch the fight on a big TV screen — only to feel disappointed by their hero's sixth-round knockout.

Town spokesman Marlon Esperanza said hundreds of villagers, most of whom lost their homes to mud- and rock-laden flash floods, packed the local gymnasium used as a temporary shelter. Many had hoped Pacquiao would triumph and share his earnings with the typhoon victims.

"People were really dismayed," Esperanza told The Associated Press by telephone. "It was like they were hit by another typhoon."

Elementary math teacher Constancio Olivar said people were cheering for Pacquiao in the sixth round, then fell into a silence for about 10 seconds when Marquez landed a shot flush to the jaw of Pacquiao, who fell heavily to the canvas and remained motionless for some time.

"It was like a double blow for me — this disaster and this defeat," said Olivar. His house was destroyed but he escaped with his wife, his youngest daughter and a grandchild. "We were all crestfallen. Everyone fell silent, stunned. It was like we saw a tsunami."

In Manila, President Benigno Aquino III's spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Pacquiao's defeat "cannot set aside the many honors Manny has given to the Filipino people."

"Nothing has changed, the Filipino people continue to admire and support Manny," he said.

Boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz said the defeat could demoralize Filipinos, particularly those in the typhoon-hit areas on the main southern island of Mindanao where Pacquiao is from.

"It's a double tragedy," he said. "People were looking at Pacquiao winning to give them some joy, some hope, some satisfaction. It didn't happen. On top of that, their anguish is further heightened as a result of his loss. ... This is like (Bopha) took a U-turn and came back to hit us with a Pacquiao knockout."

Nathanielsz said Pacquiao, who trained for two months, may not have spent enough time for physical conditioning unlike Marquez, who spent twice as many months preparing for the fight.

"The problem is when you get older, everything else must flow from the basic foundation of strength and conditioning. If you are not in condition, you have a problem," he said.

At the Baclaran Central Elementary School hall in the Manila suburb of Paranaque, where hundreds watched the fight, government employee Jacqueline Gabriel said she too was dismayed by Pacquiao's performance.

"Pacman is weaker now," she said, using Pacquiao's nickname. "He is no longer like what he used to be. ... He should retire now."

But factory worker Charlie Cerillo, 37, said Pacquiao, who is also a congressman, should not retire just yet.

"He should not have been a congressman. He should focus on sports and if he wants to be a congressman, he should focus on being a congressman," he said.

Pacquiao's mother, Dionisia, said that if it was up to her, she wanted her son to stop boxing.

"I want him to rest now, to relax," she told DZMM radio. "If he wants to be a politician, let him serve and pour everything into that. ... Only God will make him stop."

Is Manny’s religiosity a boon or bane? By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 9, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Since renewing his faith in the Lord after the third Juan Manuel Marquez fight and rediscovering inner peace with his family last year, Manny Pacquiao has been a picture of calm, conviction and concentration.

Focus is no longer a problem for Pacquiao who has finally overcome the bad habits of distraction. That’s why in the gym, Pacquiao is all business. He has rededicated himself to God and the Bible is his constant companion, both in hand and mind. The “new” and “resurrected” Pacquiao is the man whom Marquez will face in Las Vegas this morning (Manila time) and the Mexican should be alarmed.

If Pacquiao was lethargic in the past, he is now physically and mentally in control. Against Timothy Bradley last June, Pacquiao still wasn’t himself. He groped for form, probably because he had little respect for Bradley.

Pacquiao was in the process of transformation. He tipped the scales at 147, the welterweight limit and the heaviest he ever weighed in for a bout. While Pacquiao did enough to deserve the decision, he failed to convince two of the three judges. But against Marquez, Pacquiao is dead set to deliver a strong statement that with God back on his side, the power is back stronger than ever.

Trainer Freddie Roach noticed the change in Pacquiao. “He’s a better man now,” said Roach quoted by Jeremy Schaap in ESPN The Magazine. “He might be a little too compassionate at times. And that’s the thing I’m trying to change because when you hurt somebody in this game, you have to knock him out.”

When not preparing for a fight, Pacquiao immerses himself in reading and studying the Bible. He requires his entourage to memorize at least four passages a day and quizzes them to check if they’ve been diligent.

Pacquiao has sworn off his bad habits and is now totally dedicated to his faith and family. His wife Jinkee and their four children couldn’t be happier. And Pacquiao’s religiosity isn’t just a front.

There have been fighters in the past who walked the way of the Lord but while it’s unfair for anyone to judge their motives, some intentions were suspect. Aaron Pryor, Evander Holyfield, George Foreman and even the legendary Henry Armstrong became preachers of varying degrees. Pacquiao, however, is sincere in spreading the Good Word.

Pacquiao revealed to Schaap his favorite Bible verse – Ezekiel 18, verses 31-32, “Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit…for I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord, repent and live.” Pacquiao explained why the passage is meaningful to him. “Because God loves us so much,” he said. “He doesn’t want us to die. He takes no pleasure in the death of anyone.

That’s what he said. I mean, if we don’t have God in our life, we’re considered dead. I’m always praying but it’s not enough. I was drinking, committing adultery, sexual immorality, everything like that. Gambling. Careless words come out of my mouth. The Bible says we’ll be judged for everything we do. Whatever happens after our life here in this world, I know where I’m going. I have eternal life.”

Pacquiao told Schaap why he has turned a new leaf. “Because I’m reading the manual to life which is the Bible and I learn a lot of things there – how to obey the law and the commandments of God and how to have eternal life,” he said. “It doesn’t bother my boxing.

Boxing is a sport. We allow each other to hit each other but I’m not treating my opponent like my enemy. We’re doing a job to entertain people.”

Asked what he considers to be the greatest achievement in his life, Pacquiao didn’t mention anything about being the only fighter ever to capture eight titles in eight different divisions. “When I found God,” he replied. “No more drinking, no more gambling, no more girls.

Only my wife and my family. And no more bad words. I’m not gonna say words that can hurt someone. It can hurt their heart. The more humble you are, the more God will lift you up. Obey the commandments of God. No more vices. I’m happy.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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