There is no doubt that Juan Manuel Marquez is destined to enter any Hall of Fame associated with the sport of Boxing when his illustrious career reaches it’s conclusion. Marquez has been an elite pound for pound fighter for many years.
Although a highly skilled boxer, Marquez has been more than willing to mix it up and go toe to toe with his opponents throughout his career. Marquez’ willingness to engage in some of the sport’s more memorable battles has rightfully earned him recognition as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. Coming off of a narrow decision loss in his last fight to then WBO Welterweight world champion Timothy Bradley last October, Marquez returned to the ring to face former WBO Jr. Welterweight world champion Mike Alvarado on May 17th at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
In the lead up to this fight I stated that Marquez-Alvarado had the ingredients to be exciting on paper. This fight could be described as both a demonstration of one fighter’s vast skills as well as a tactical Boxing match that developed into a toe to toe battle.
Marquez established the pace of the fight taking the lead and being the busier fighter. As the fight progressed, Marquez began mixing in combinations to the body and head of Alvarado while using his lateral movement to avoid much of Alvarado’s offense and being an elusive target. Although Alvarado had periodic moments throughout landing punches sporadically, he seemed to give Marquez too much respect in allowing Marquez to dictate exactly how the fight would be fought. Marquez’ command of the fight was highlighted in the final seconds of round eight when he knocked Alvarado down with a overhand right that nearly knocked Alvarado out of the ring. Alvarado made it to his feet and survived the round.
At this point in the fight there really wasn’t much to say other than simply one fighter besting another. Sometimes however, even the most lopsided of fights can produce drama. Alvarado, clearly behind on the scorecards after eight rounds responded to the knockdown by scoring a knockdown of his own in round nine when he dropped Marquez with a right hand early in the round.
What had been a tactical Boxing match for eight rounds with Marquez showcasing his high Boxing IQ quickly developed into a fight as Marquez responded to being knocked down with fierce determination as he attacked Alvarado and the two proceeded to engage in toe to toe combat. Although Alvarado seemed intent on making Marquez take the initiative instead of bringing the fight to him for much of this fight, it should not be overlooked that Alvarado took significant punishment throughout this fight and walked through several punches that probably would have dropped most Jr. Welterweights or Welterweights and kept coming forward.
In terms of the knockdown that Alvarado was able to score on Marquez, there is probably a difference of opinion as to how one would choose to score that round. In most instances when a fighter is knocked down during a round, judges will typically score the round 10-8 in favor of the fighter scoring a knockdown. There are cases however, when rounds like round nine of Marquez-Alvarado where judges might score a round 10-9.
When rounds are scored under those circumstances, there could be certain factors that would make an otherwise 10-8 round a 10-9. Factors such as how much time is remaining in a round and whether or not the fighter who was knocked down can win the remainder of the round either by Boxing effectively or scoring a knockdown of their own. In this circumstance, I scored the ninth round unofficially for Alvarado 10-9 based on how effective Marquez was able to fight back after getting up from the knockdown.
In any case, whether one’s discretion to score the round 10-8 or 10-9 in favor of Alvarado, it did provide an element of the unknown in a fight that Marquez was winning clearly. Alvarado would nearly score another knockdown of Marquez in round eleven when a right hand staggered Marquez and it appeared that his glove may have touched the canvas. Referee Pat Russell correctly ruled that Marquez had not been knocked down, which could have played a factor in the scoring of this fight.
Although the outcome of this fight appeared academic at the conclusion of the twelve round Welterweight bout, the fight was entertaining and showed one fighter’s arsenal of skills and one fighter’s grit and determination. The unanimous decision in favor of Marquez was not surprising and was appropriate, but all credit should be given to Mike Alvarado for the warrior’s heart he showed in this fight.
With the win, Marquez now becomes the mandatory challenger for WBO Welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. Although all signs appear as though the stage has been set for a fifth installment of the epic series of fights between Pacquiao and Marquez, it would not surprise me if both were to take a fight against different opposition before resuming their rivalry.
Even though the best option in my eyes out there quite frankly for both Marquez and Pacquiao would be a fifth fight between the two, we will have to wait and see what the future holds. For now, Marquez has shown that his loss to Timothy Bradley last year was not an indication that at forty years old he was on the decline. Juan Manuel Marquez is still one of the best fighters pound for pound in the world and will give anyone in either the Jr. Welterweight or Welterweight divisions all they can handle.
As for what the future holds for Mike Alvarado, I believe that it could be possible that Alvarado will opt to return to the Jr. Welterweight division. It is quite possible Alvarado will look to face the winner of the upcoming WBO Jr. Welterweight title fight between Ruslan Provodnikov and Chris Algieri, which will take place on June 14th in Brooklyn, New York.
Both Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado treated Boxing fans to a memorable night. The fight, which signaled the return of Boxing to the legendary Forum in Inglewood, California site of many memorable fights over the years drew over 12,000 spectators and did not disappoint. For a venue that has played host to great fights over the years, it is my hope that it’s revival as a major Boxing venue continues.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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