First Person View: Marquez KO Of Pacquiao Through The Eyes Of A Ringside Reporter
History was made on Saturday night and as epic as it probably was to watch on television, the gamut of emotions that churned through the MGM Grand Garden Arena as Pacquiao lay face down on the canvas made this perhaps one of the single most surreal experiences of my life. All I remember seeing is Manny Pacquiao dissolve into the canvas. I initially thought that he slipped, but my quick reflex memory recalled Pacquiao’s head snapping back. Marquez looked down, then into the crowd and he raced around the ring with his glove raised into the air.
“That didn’t just happen, did it?” I thought to myself. Surely, I yelled something when I realized that Pacquiao was knocked out. I don’t remember what, but it was something like “Ooooooooooh!” or whatever has little meaning. Just know I was shocked and drowned out by the surrounding people who shared in my shock and awe.
Yeah, that happened.
Before we get started on the events leading up to that spectacular finish, let me lay out some of the epic knockouts I have seen live from press row.
- Manny Pacquiao’s blistering knockout of Ricky Hatton that left the Brit motionless in the dead center of the ring. The picture perfect placement of Pacquiao’s punch and Hatton’s body will forever be burned into my memory.
- Kendall Holt’s sizzling 61 second war with Ricardo Torres. Nope, not nearly as high profile as anything with Pacquiao but perhaps one of the wildest rounds I have ever seen. In 13 seconds, Holt was put on his ass by Torres. A few seconds later, Holt was dropped again. Torres smelled blood in the water and charged in for the kill. They bumped heads and Holt unleashed a left hook that Torres hung up on the bottom rope with his eyes wide shut. I was about 20 feet from the ring and could see Torres limp body and vacant eyes. Spooky sh*t.
- Floyd Mayweather’s knockout of Ricky Hatton. It wasn’t the one punch devastation of the aforementioned that made it epic, it was the atmosphere as Hatton supporters crossed the ocean to sing that annoying ass “Hatton Wonderland” throughout the night. Right in the midst of the crowd chanting “There’s only one, Ricky Hatton,” Mayweather check hooked Hatton and sent him headfirst into the corner. The collective gasp nearly sucked all of the oxygen out of the building.
That’s all I can think of off the top although other fights such as Cotto-Margarito 1, Pacquiao-De La Hoya, Pacquiao-Cotto, Mayweather-Cotto, Chavez Jr.-Martinez and Pacquiao-Marquez 2 & 3 all rank as some of the greatest boxing events I’ve ever attended.
But what happened on Saturday night was mind blowing to witness in person and have to take in.
I’m seated in the fifth row of press with a dead center view of the ring. The surrounding boxing journalists from outlets ranging from MaxBoxing to Grantland are all buzzing crazy before Pacquiao and Marquez make their way to the ring. After all, we were just subjected to two horrific fights when the PPV portion of the card kicked off and had just been awakened by 50 Cent descending into the ring to perform “My Life” prior to Yuriorkis Gamboa and Michael Farenas’ relatively entertaining fight. But this is what we had been waiting for. You see, we’re there so we can’t go to the fridge and grab a beer or entertain a house party. We are perhaps more antsy than anyone else considering that some of us had been in the arena since 4pm when the first bell rang.
The feeling moments before a big fight is unlike anything else I’ve ever been a part of. 16,000+ fans at the MGM have been getting warm with liquor and either ready to fight or see a fight. Fortunately, it’s usually the latter. Flags are waving, chants are breaking out and the tension is intoxicating. Prior to the walkout, the very pro-Marquez crowd had engaged in an arena wide wave. National Anthems are sung in succession and us journalists begin pulling out our phones to try and snag a snapshot of the two fighters as they make their way to the ring.
Mind you, we are journalists. We cannot partake in the drinking or act like fans. We’re here to work. But we all have a lot of fanboy in us that leaks out at certain moments. This was one of those moments. After both Pacquiao and Marquez enter the ring and Michael Buffer begins his introductions, most journalists are settling into their social media accounts to deliver live updates for those who are unable to watch the fight. We’re always hoping and praying that the internet doesn’t collapse under the weight of the multiple laptops accessing the wi-fi. Others are prepping their Word documents for deadline reporting. So there is a lot going on as we prepare for the first bell sounding off.