"Boxing is a great sport, you can make a lot of money and have a lot of success. But you can really get beaten up." -- George Foreman
Former WBO Heavyweight champion Michael Bentt made some insightful comments after the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV shocking knockout.
"Pacquiao came forward, with no concept of defense. He was not armed with moving his head, the fight was over in a brutal way," says Bentt. "It was well earned by Marquez."
Bentt is remembered by boxing history for his astonishing world title victory over Tommy Morrison. Bentt, was such a long shot "opponent" for Morrison that there were no odds on the fight, which Bentt won by first round TKO, after being badly hurt himself earlier in the round, in Morrison's home state of Oklahoma. The bout was televised by HBO.
Bentt believes Pacquiao's popularity can actually grow after this defeat. "A boxer is much more compelling, more so when they lose. You still have people who are rabid Pacquiao fans."
"Pacquiao has the great Arum marketing machine behind him. If he wants to come back he can. They have to really really protect him. With that kind of knockout loss he's going to have ghosts of that knockout, he'll see it in his dreams. Every time, every sparring session, when he gets buzzed, ghosts of that knockout will appear. A boxer doesn't forget that kind of stuff, losing like that."
Bentt himself lost like that. After a decorated amateur boxing career, which included a New York City Golden Gloves Heavyweight title, Bentt was shockingly stopped in the first round of his pro debut against the unknown Jerry Jones in 1989 at Trump Castle in Atlantic City. But he recovered from that defeat and eventually earned the title shot against Morrison four years later. Bentt bested Morrison but then lost his first title defense against Herbie Hide in England by seventh round TKO. Bentt never boxed again and eventually became a successful actor, appearing in 23 films, including in Will Smith's "Ali" as "Sonny Liston."
Bentt, a resident of Hollywood, Calif, believes Pacquiao can turn the tables on Marquez if they decide to fight again. "No one wants to be defined by a knockout loss. Does Manny want it? You don't recover from that kind of knockout easily. You have to be willing to take that plunge and fight again. He's lost speed, he's lost desire. With all he's achieved, coming from nothing, he's fulfilled on paper. What's he got to prove? It's hard to maintain that fire, time after time. You don't forget that kind of stuff, losing like that."
Bentt also added that, "a fighter's biggest nightmare is getting knocked out like he was. If he can confront it and walk into the eye of that...it's a difficult thing."