Monday, November 20, 2006

Pacquiao knocks out Morales

Pacquiao knocks out Morales

National fist too much for Mexican

Agence France-Presse, Inquirer, Associated Press
Last updated 08:47pm (Mla time) 11/19/2006

LAS VEGAS--(3RD UPDATE) Filipino Manny Pacquiao lived up to his famous monickers "The Pacman" and "Pambansang Kamao" (National Fist) when he knocked out Mexico’s Erik Morales in the third round of their final rivalry at the Thomas and Mack Center here.

It was a quick and brutal end for Mexico’s El Terrible after Pacquiao stopped him two minutes and 57 seconds into the third round, leaving the three-time world champion seated on the canvas and shaking his head, saying he did not want to continue.

Pacquiao and Morales started slugging it out at the Thomas and Mack Center here with "The Pacman" Pacquiao persistently aiming for the body of "El Terrible" Morales.

Pacquiao landed more punches than Morales in the first round. Morales tried to corner Pacquiao in the second round but staggered after being hit by Pacquiao’s left fist.

Morales, clearly in the defensive, hit the floor twice in the third round after Pacquiao unleashed a series of punishing blows. After falling for the last time, Morales went to his corner and signaled he was giving up the fight.

"I did my best. I had all the training. I did everything I could do. Manny was just too good for me," Morales said.

"I looked to my corner. They encouraged me to get up but I said no. It was to no avail. There are times you are a beaten man. I was a beaten man tonight."

Morales was knocked down as many times in the fight, three, as he had been in his entire prior career and spoke like a man who had fought his last bout when asked about his future.

"I have to think a lot about it. It was a night that just wasn't for me," Morales said. "I've had a long, illustrious career. I've done it all... It's fine if they want to promote me. But it might not be the best thing."

Pacquiao improved to 43-3 with two drawn by taking his 34th triumph inside the distance. Morales lost for the fourth time in his past five fights, falling to 48-5.

The Filipino powerhouse left no doubt about who was the better fighter. Pacquiao lost a 12-round decision to Morales last year, but avenged that defeat by stopping the Mexican in the 10th round of a rematch last January.

"He didn't respect my right hook. He was surprised by my right hook," Pacquiao said. "That was my big difference over him."

Thousands of Filipino fans at the sold-out Thomas and Mack Center chanted Pacquiao's name, worshipping their native megastar of film, music and endorsements--and don't forget boxing, where he belongs among the world's top handful of pound-for-pound fighters.

The fighters split their first two meetings in the previous two years, with Morales winning a unanimous decision and Pacquiao replying with a TKO victory over "El Terrible" last March.

Their rivalry became one of boxing's better trilogies in recent years, with both punch-addicted brawlers dazzling casual fans and building rabid followings in their native lands.

Morales' career could be in trouble after four losses in five fights, including consecutive setbacks against Pacquiao. He also lost two of three fights in his previous trilogy against Marco Antonio Barrera.

While Pacquiao is a ferocious, straight-ahead puncher who's usually loathe to change his bombardment tactics for any opponent, Morales altered his training strategy and re-hired his trainer-father, Jose, for the third fight after firing him following a recent loss.

Though both fighters have only middling profiles in the United States, each of their three pairings has been an international incident.

Television sets from Manila to Mexico City were tuned in to the pay-per-view telecast of a fight pitting perhaps the Philippines' most famous person against one of the toughest fighters in Mexico's long line of famed brawlers.

Thousands of Filipino fans traveled halfway across the world to Las Vegas for the fight, while thousands more came up from Mexico and Southern California to support Morales.

With reports from Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press

Copyright 2006 Agence France-Presse, Inquirer, Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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