Marquez knocks Pacquiao out cold in sixth round

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Marquez knocks Pacquiao out cold in sixth round

LAS VEGAS -- No need for Juan Manuel Marquez to impress the judges. No need for the referee to count to 10.

Marquez took care of all of his business Saturday night with a thunderous right hand that left Manny Pacquiao face first on the canvas with his remarkable career in question.

Unable to win a decision in their first three fights, Marquez won the old-fashioned way with a huge right hand that put Pacquiao down for the second time in the fight at 2:59 of the sixth round.

Referee Kenny Bayless never bothered to count as Marquez leaped into his handlers' arms in celebration and Pacquiao's wife broke into tears at ringside.

"I threw a perfect punch," Marquez said. "I knew Manny could knock me out at any time."

It was a stunning end to a thrilling fight, the fourth one in the last eight years between the two men. It could also be the end of the Filipino's career, though he said in the ring afterward he would like to fight Marquez for a fifth time.

"If you give us a chance, we'll fight again," Pacquiao said. "I was just starting to feel confident and then I got careless."

Pacquiao had been down in the third round but knocked Marquez down in the fifth and the two were exchanging heavy blows in the sixth round before Marquez threw a right hand that flattened Pacquiao face down on the canvas.

"I thought I was getting him in the last couple of rounds but I got hit by a strong punch," Pacquiao said. "I never expected that punch."

Pacquiao was down for about two minutes before his handlers managed to get him up as Marquez celebrated and the sold-out crowd at the MGM erupted.

After being helped to his corner, Pacquiao sat on a stool, blew his nose and stared vacantly ahead as his handlers cut his gloves off. It was a stunning end to a furious fight, and Pacquiao was later taken to a hospital for precautionary examination.

"We always worked on that punch," Marquez said. "We knew he was going to come out aggressive so we had a fight plan that was more technical. We were able to capitalize on it."

Marquez had vowed to finally beat Pacquiao after losing two close fights and settling for a draw in the first fight. But after Pacquiao knocked him down in the fifth round and was landing big left hands, it looked like it would be Pacquiao's night.

The two came out for the sixth round and the pace was just as relentless. Both were landing big punches and both were brawling when suddenly as the round came to close Marquez shot out a right hand that landed flush to the jaw of Pacquiao, who crumpled to the canvas in a heap.

"I felt he was coming to knock me out the last three rounds and I knew he was going to be wide open," Marquez said.

It was the second loss in a row for Pacquiao, who dropped a decision to Timothy Bradley in June and who had vowed to regain his prominence in the ring.

Pacquiao was aggressive from the opening bell, but paid the price in the third round when he got caught by a Marquez right hand that put him down. Pacquiao got back up and seemingly took control of the fight, dropping Marquez in the fifth round and landing the bigger punches until he was dropped.

"I got hit by a punch I didn't see," Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao, who earned more than 20 million for the fight, was ahead 47-46 on all three scorecards after the fifth round.

There was no title at stake in the 147-pound fight, but that didn't stop 16,348 fans from filling the MGM Grand Arena and roaring in unison from the opening bell as the two fighters went after each other.

Ringside punching stats underscored the ferocity of the bout, showing Pacquiao landing 94 of 256 punches to 52 of 246 for Marquez. But it was the one big right hand from Marquez that counted more than anything, knocking Pacquiao out for the first time in a career that goes back 17 years.

"He was in charge," Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach said. "He just got a little too careless and got hit with a punch he didn't see."

Promoter Bob Arum immediately said he could see a fifth fight between the two boxers, and a dazed Pacquiao seemed to agree.

"Why not?" he said.

Pacquiao weighed the class limit of 147 pounds, but it was Marquez who looked like the stronger fighter entering the ring after having bulked up with the help of a strength conditioner, though he weighed in at 143 pounds. In their earlier fights, Pacquiao had been the bigger puncher, knocking Marquez down a total of four times, but on this night it was Marquez who had the biggest punch.

The stunning knockout was the first real loss by Pacquiao in seven years. He lost a close decision to Bradley in his last fight, but most ringside observers believed he had won it fairly convincingly.

Marquez improved to 55-6-1 with 40 knockouts, while Pacquiao fell to 54-5-2.

Celtics-Cavs Game 4 preview: C's expect an aggressive LeBron

Celtics-Cavs Game 4 preview: C's expect an aggressive LeBron

CLEVELAND -- Marcus Smart made shots, Jonas Jerebko (10 points) outscored the entire Cleveland second unit by himself, and Kevin Love’s hot hand in the first half cooled off considerably in the second.

It was on so many levels the perfect storm for the Boston Celtics in Game 3 which ended with Avery Bradley getting a friendly bounce or two – OK, it was four bounces to be exact – that would be the difference in Boston’s 111-108 Game 3 win, which cut Cleveland’s lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.

But that perfect storm is now a thing of the past, which is why the Celtics are battening down the hatches for Hurricane James – LeBron James – in Game 4.

James scored just 11 points in Game 3 on 4-for-13 shooting.

Certainly, Boston’s defense had a role in James’ struggles.

But after looking to be a facilitator at the start of the game, James never flipped the switch to become a terminator.

So, as his teammates struggled with their shots in the second half, James didn’t ratchet up his aggression level to get buckets and in doing so, was just what the Celtics needed to get a much-needed victory.

Had Boston lost Game 3, this series being over would have been a mere formality with no team in NBA history has ever rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to advance to the next round of play.

But the Celtics are very much alive and well with a chance to even up the series at 2-2 with a victory tonight.

If they are to somehow find a way to beat the Cavs on their home floor a second straight game, it’ll most likely come after fending off a strong surge from James.

This season, James has been an offensive power following games in which he has scored less than 20 points in a game.

In the following game after he scores less than 20 points, James has averaged 27.8 points.

And his record in those games during the regular season was 10-3.

“He’s going to be aggressive,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “LeBron James understands how to play the game and he understands what his team needs from him. He’s most likely going to be a lot more aggressive. It’s our job to make sure we defend him as best we can; take other guys out of the game.”

Like Tristan Thompson who had 18 points but only took four shots (he made 3) to get it, as most of his scoring came from the free throw line after getting fouled.

“He had 12 free throws or something like that? He’s playing well for them,” Bradley said. ‘We have to try and limit him to less rebounds. It’s going to be hard. If we’re able to do that and guard the 3, I like our chances.”

Boston’s Al Horford anticipates seeing not just James but the entire Cavs roster try to be more aggressive at the start.

And that means as good as they did in Game 3, they’ll have to be even better tonight.

“On the defensive end, we feel there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement,” Horford told CSN. “We just have to come out and play.”

In Game 3, Boston fell behind by as many as 21 points but for the most part stayed within arm’s reach of the Cavaliers which was a major improvement over Games 1 and 2 in Boston.

And as the Celtics continued to climb back into Game 3, James’ lack of impact plays remained a mystery.

And while there are some who are quick to put Sunday’s loss on James, not surprisingly his coach sees things differently.

“We're all to blame,” said Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue on Monday. “We lost; it happens. For a guy who played great for five straight months, he's got to have a bad game sooner or later. He's human. He didn't shoot the ball well. It wasn't his ordinary game. But Kevin (Love) and Kyrie (Irving) had it going early and they played well, so it kind of got him out of rhythm a little bit in that first half. That's no excuse. Like I said, they played well, but we've just got to play better, be more physical.”

After reviewing the video from Game 3, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was once again impressed with James for the most part making the right basketball play most of the game.

“When you've got guys that are all on fire the way they are, the right basketball play is to find them,” Stevens said. “He just made it over and over.

Stevens added, “The guy is a tremendous basketball player. He makes the right play over and over, and he thinks the game, he sees the game. He's a really good defender. He can read situations. So, I thought he was pretty darned good. But like I said (following Game 3), I'm not going to be critical of the best player in the world.”

Indeed, Stevens has far more important things to worry about, like bracing his players for the impending storm known to all as LeBron James.