Juan Manuel Marquez (L) of Mexico takes a punch from Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines during their welterweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada December 8, 2012. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Dec 10 (Mabuhay) -– Before suffering a knockout that shocked the nation, Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao believed he was close to making his great rival, Mexican warrior Juan Manuel Marquez, quit.

Pacquiao was leading in all of the judges’ scorecards when he walked into a perfect right counter-punch thrown by Marquez with just a couple of seconds left in round 6.

The “Pacman” crashed face-first to the canvas and was motionless for several moments. It was his first knockout loss since 1999.

“Nasalubong ko ‘yung straight niya,” Pacquiao said. “Na-out balance ako, na-pasugod ako at tamang-tama naman sa straight niya.”

After listless performances in his last two fights, Pacquiao was showing his old, aggressive form against Marquez.

Though he was knocked down in the third round, Pacquiao quickly stood back up and registered a knockdown of his own in the fifth.

He was controlling the sixth round and believed that it would only be a matter of time before he could finish off Marquez.

“Naisip ko kasi, one or two more rounds, hindi na, aayaw na ito,” Pacquiao said.

“Pag humihinga kasi siya, hirap na siya huminga. Sa ilong niya lumalabas, e basag na ang ilong niya.”

“Sabi ko, isa o dalawang round na lang, tapos na.”

But unfortunately for Pacquiao, he got reckless and walked right into Marquez’s short right hand.

“Ganoon talaga ‘yan,” he said. “Pwede ka bang pumunta sa isang larangan ng paligsahan na walang natatalo? Dumadating ang panahon na natatalo ka. Pag dumating ang panahon na natalo ka, buong puso mong tanggapin dahil pinasok mo ang trabaho na iyan.”

Despite the devastating loss, Pacquiao has no plans to hang up his gloves.

“Laban pa ulit,” he said.

He does not know yet who his next opponent will be or when he will fight next.

“Pahinga muna siguro,” Pacquiao said. “Saka na namin pag-usapan kung ano ang next fight.” (MNS)