By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, inside of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Juan Manuel Marquez produced what is likely the most emphatic victory of his career in knocking out Manny Pacquiao six rounds into their welterweight bout.
Meeting his rival for a fourth time, Marquez overcame a fifth round knockdown and several rocky moments before flooring Pacquiao for the ten count with a short right hand just as the sixth round was closing.
While the victory was surely a sight to behold, one man who claimed to have seen the writing on the wall ahead of time was Sampson Lewkowicz, known best for his work in advising the career of middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
“I told you that he would win by knockout,” Lewkowicz would tell me at the post-fight press conference. “Nobody believed me, but it’s part of the game.”
As far back as Pacquiao’s June encounter with upstart Timothy Bradley, a fight in which Manny would lose a controversial split-decision, Lewkowicz had been telling me that the Filipino icon was nearing the end of his illustrious career.
In the wake of the brutal loss to Marquez, Lewkowicz again echoed those sentiments, this time with much more conviction.
“It’s definitely the end,” stated Lewkowicz.
Shortly after my discussion with Lewkowicz, I volleyed some questions in the direction of Martinez’s trainer Pablo Sarmiento, with Sampson serving as my translator.
“He came forward and he made the mistake of his life,” Sarmiento would tell me when asked of Pacquiao’s loss. “He will never be the same.”
Before out brief rap session closed, I was curious for Sarmiento’s thoughts on Marquez facing off with Bradley sometime next year, as it is a fight that is certainly a possibility.
“Bradley wins,” Sarmiento stated. “Because of the youth and quality of boxing.”