For Filipinos, December 9, 2012 was the day the earth stood still.
Manny Pacquiao, in his fourth bout against Mexican archenemy Juan Manuel Marquez, found himself on the bad end of a rocket-powered punch that left him lifeless like a log. The stunning sixth-round finish took away the country’s collective breath, with rumors of Pac’s demise growing larger with every second he spent lying face-first, eerily peaceful on the mat.
To everyone’s relief, he got back up. And as the bout against Brandon Rios proved, not only has he gotten up, he’s back to his world-beating ways—reviving, as well, rumors of a Mayweather fight. This turnaround has been immensely inspiring, especially when everybody had already declared that Pacquiao was done for.
Today—a year and a day after that career-changing night—we celebrate Pacquiao’s comeback by remembering the very ordeal that Pacquiao had to come back from. Below, are a few choice quotes surrounding the fight that encapsulate Pacquiao-Marquez IV.
In the red corner:
On the significance of the fourth bout:
“This fight is more important than the last three because it’s for my legacy.”
On planning to KO Pacquiao:
"It's very important for me to knock Pacquiao out. I don't want to be in the ring and worked so hard and know I won the fight and have my heart [broken] again. I need to knock him out this time."
On producing a convincing win:
"My motivation is that I want them to raise my hand in the ring. I don't want people to just say, 'You really beat him.' I want them to know that I beat him.''
In the blue corner:
On ending the fight quickly:
"He needs to prove something. I want him to fight toe-to-toe with me so that we can finish early. Twelve rounds is long; why aren't we looking to make boxing short, right? Either me or him."
On shutting Marquez up:
"I am giving him a chance. I am giving him a chance to prove he can win the fight because he thought he has won all three and he keeps talking about it. So it is very important to me to win this fight, especially since Marquez really wanted this fight."
On his knockout intentions:
"Right now my mind is focused on being more aggressive for this fight. If there is a chance in the ring during the fight, why not make the fight easy and [knock him out] if I have the opportunity?"
The trainers speak up:
Marquez's coach Nacho Beristain reveals their gameplan:
"I would like Juan to go for the knockout."
Freddie Roach had the same thing in mind:
"It's the last time. We're going to knock him out. End of story."
Fight promoter Bob Arum has his own take too:
“You have two fighters who don’t trust the judges and they’re going to take it in their own hands. “You’re going to see two guys fight aggressively and go for a knockout. It means that Marquez is going to forget about counterpunching and go after and attack Manny. Marquez feels he has enough strength now, that he can take out Pacquiao. It’s not going to be anything like the first three fights.”
NEXT: Legendary boxers Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Roy Jones share their own thoughts