There was no doubt this time. Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxing star, was left face down on the canvas in Las Vegas on Saturday night, caught by a devastating right hook from Juan Manuel Marquez at the end of the sixth round.
It is the latest and perhaps defining image in one of the biggest rivalries in the world of boxing. It remains to be seen if it is the last.
The legend from the Philippines was looking pretty good, and was, according to many observers, leading on points but that metric is irrelevant when you are knocked out in such a manner. He never saw the Mexican’s hand, a classic counter-punch, coming his way. The fight was all over.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Two wins for Pacquiao and a draw were the results of the first three fights between the pair but Marquez claimed that he had actually won all three and there were some who agreed.
He tried making this point before the fight, by walking out to The Who song “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” By the end of the fight, no one could disagree.
"I knew Manny could knock me out at any time," Marquez remarked. "I threw the perfect punch."
"We always work on that [counter right]. The change in rhythm was important. We knew he was going to come out aggressive, so we had a fight plan that was more technique and we were able to capitalize on it. We knew it would be a very difficult fight, but not an impossible fight. We had to use our technique and skill and we didn't allow Manny to connect as he had done."
Pacquiao was groggy for a while after the fight but soon found time to chat to the media about what had gone wrong.
"He caught me with my hand down," Pacquiao said. "That was an error and we corrected it. We worked strength, we worked speed and you can see the result."
"I got hit by a punch I didn't see."
The reaction back home was one of shock. “I’m so shocked, I can’t believe it when Manny was ahead on points,” barber Pedro Varela told Reuters in Manila. “It was a good fight, Manny gave it all. He was impressive, It was one lucky punch from Marquez.”
Inevitably, talk soon turned to whether there would be a fifth meeting between the two. Fight promoter Bob Arum certainly seems likely to support the idea.
Manny himself is also keen to meet again.
"It is a good fight. I am over confident. I thought I got him. If they give us a chance, we will fight him again," he said.
Marquez, who is 39 and almost retired after the 2011 fight with his rival, was non-committal.
“I am not thinking about any fight. I just want to celebrate,” he said. “Right now in my future I don’t know what is coming but I am going to rest and I am going to celebrate with my family and my friends in Mexico. I am just thinking of the celebration rather than who I am going to fight next.”
In boxing, money talks and there is a good chance that a fifth fight will happen in the not-too-distant future.