The Hernan Marquez-Carlos Tamara flyweight bout was billed as a WBO eliminator. In reality, it was an eliminator of much greater significance. Both men, who had once held world title belts, were reeling from career-altering defeats and were in desperate need of a win to remain relevant in the highly competitive 112 pound weight class. The winner would earn a second shot at a world title, while the loser would be relegated to boxing purgatory.
On Saturday night, it was Marquez who prevailed in the end, winning a one-sided decision at Sonora Stadium in his hometown of Sonora, Mexico. The scores were 120-107, 120-108 and 119-109.
Tamara (23-8-1, 17 knockouts), of North Bergen, N.J. by way of Sincelejo, Colombia, controlled the range in the early rounds, using his noticeable height and reach advantage to keep the fleeter-footed Marquez (36-3, 26 KOs) off balance. Tamara, 30, landed the fight’s first significant blow when he landed a right cross on Marquez in the second stanza. Marquez, who is still only 24 years old, returned fire with his southpaw jabs.
Marquez began to close the distance effectively in round three, landed hard shots to Tamara’s body while barely missing a wild left counter near the bell that could’ve ended matters early. Marquez continued to press the action in the fourth, forcing Tamara to the ropes where he landed several flush left crosses and uppercuts.
Marquez opened round five quickly, landing a short right uppercut, then proceeded to spin Tamara around and land two left hands that sent Tamara sprawling to the canvas. Tamara rose quickly, but understood that he wouldn’t be able to box his way out of the situation.
Tamara began to stand his ground and wing hooks and overhand rights, but Marquez’s superior work rate and accuracy enabled him to take complete control as his right uppercuts split Tamara’s guard along the ropes and opened him up for the left cross. The referee appeared close to stopping it near the end of the round but held off.
Marquez continued to press forward in round six with more hard left crosses, including one that opened a cut on the side of Tamara’s left eye.
Only Tamara’s experience and composure kept him standing for the final bell as Marquez’s aggression and power punched holes in Tamara’s defense.
Tamara, who stopped Brian Viloria to win the IBF light flyweight title in 2010 but lost the belt four months later, has now gone 2-4-1 since then, with both wins coming against fighters with losing records. Marquez, who had defended his WBA flyweight title twice before being stopped in ten by the aforementioned Viloria in a unification bout last year, is now in line to face the winner of WBO/WBA flyweight titleholder Juan Estrada and WBO mandatory challenger Milan Melindo, who meet on July 27 in Macau.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to The Ring magazine and GMA News. He can be reached at [email protected]. An archive of his work can be foundat www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.