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Best of 2012: Pacquiao finishes the year on a sour note

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Ken Rodney, TSN.ca
12/24/2012 9:52:03 AM
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As 2012 winds to a close, TSN.ca looks back at the stories that made the year memorable. TSN.ca's Ken Rodney looks at Manny Pacquiao's year in the ring, beginning with a fight that may never materialize and ending with one of the world's best fighters face down on the mat.

Of all the places the boxing world expected welterweight superstar Manny Pacquiao to finish the year, face down on the canvas could not have been near the top of the list.

However, at the end one of the worst years in his professional career, that's exactly where he was after his second loss of 2012.

Following another failed round of negotiations with Floyd Mayweather on the super fight the boxing world wants to see, Pacquiao's first bout of the year was a June 9 WBO Welterweight title defence against Timothy Bradley, who moved up a weight class to take the fight.

The two fighters squared off in a bout that went the distance and although the champion appeared to control most of the fight, it was controversially awarded to Bradley via split decision.

Following the match the WBO ordered a video review of the scoring and all five of the judges on their committee scored the bout in favour of Pacquiao, however the official result will remain the same.

While controversy followed the Bradley fight, Pacquiao stepped into the ring with Juan Manuel Marquez in December, continuing a series that already had three hotly contested bouts.

The first time they met, in 2004, the fight ended in draw. The two subsequent rematches, in 2008 and 2011 ended in split decision and majority decision victories for Pacquiao respectively.

So it was with great anticipation that they met for a fourth time, in the final month of the year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

After two rounds of back and forth action, Marquez struck the first major blow of the match when he floored Pacquiao with an overhand right in the third.

The response came in the fifth as Pacquiao caught Marquez with a left that sent him off balance and was scored a knockdown when his glove touched the mat.

Pacquiao did not let up after the knockdown and had Marquez reeling as the round came to an end, seemingly gaining control of the fight.

The sixth looked like it was going to be more of the same but Marquez was able to answer with some hard blows of his own.

With just one second left in the round, Marquez ducked under a Pacquiao jab and hammered the former welterweight champion with a powerful right hook that knocked him out cold.

With Pacquiao lying motionless on the canvas, the referee didn't even bother to finish his count before waving an end to the fight.

It was an abrupt and shocking end to a terrible year for one of the best fighters in the world.

Manny Pacquiao Juan Manuel Marquez (Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)
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