Boxing

Manny Pacquiao Knockout: Legend's Legacy Suffers Huge Blow with KO

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 08:  (L-R) Trainer Freddie Roach talks with Manny Pacquiao between rounds against Juan Manuel Marquez during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

Manny Pacquiao leaned in on the follow through of a punch and took a huge overhand right (via espn.com) square in the face, that laid him out.

His legacy wilted almost as fast as his legs.

Pacquiao was stuck face down on the canvas, and it was quickly clear he would not be getting up from the sixth-round bomb.

In the fourth installment of this rivalry, Juan Manuel Marquez had the victory that had controversially eluded him in the previous three. It was the first decisive victory of this rivalry.

So where does all of this leave Pacquiao?

Well, officially he is a 33-year-old with a 54-5-2 record. He has been a great champion and is the only man to ever be the champ in eight different divisions. However, he has also lost two fights in a row, and hasn't looked his best in years.

You will be hard pressed to find anyone boasting that Pac-Man is still in his prime. 

Pacquiao made his legend by being a hard puncher who could knock out any opponent. Well, Pacquiao hasn't had a victory by KO or TKO since his 2009 TKO over Miguel Cotto, and he is now mired in a long string of underwhelming performances, and that is going to impact any legacy.

Had Pacquiao walked away from the sport in 2009, he would have been heralded by many as one of the greatest to ever lace up gloves. While nothing that has happened since can take away from his previous accomplishments, perceptions of his career have changed.

Pacquiao is looking more and more like a limited fighter who is far from elite, especially if he can't land a knockout blow. In that light, it seems absurd to call him one of the greatest ever. 

More damaging than that, however, is the fact that this loss came to Marquez. 

While Pacquiao held a 2-0-1 edge vs. Marquez, the fights were so close that there was no clear cut leader in this rivalry. Well, this fight wasn't as close. Pacquiao landed some huge shots of his own and a knockdown, but it was Marquez that got two knockdowns and the KO that is the stamp and lasting image of this rivalry. 

When it comes to this rivalry, the only reasonable case to be made for the superior fighter sides with Marquez, and that is going to hang over Pac-Man's legacy. How can he be considered one of the greatest ever when he isn't even the best fighter in his main rivalry?

He can't. And that will haunt his legacy. 

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