Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mail Bag
MARQUEZ IS THE TRUTH!
Marquez is awesome! I will say that a couple of things stand out to me when I watch Marquez fight:
1) Marquez never has an off night. No matter who he fights he always shows up to fight.
2) Marquez carries some pop at 135.
3) Marquez overcomes adversity better than anyone I have ever seen. Doesn’t matter if he has a cut or gets hurt.
4) Has under rated conditioning. The broadcasters always talk about how he must be tiring or Marquez can't keep this pace and then he always does and usually always wins.
5) Professional fighter and an all time great (IMO). You can't call a guy #2 in the world pound for pound under rated but doesn't it kind of feel like that? – Pat
It’s immensely satisfying to hear and read so many fans’ praise Juan Manuel Marquez. He’s been written off more than once in his distinguished career and underrated for many years. Sadly, when he was in his prime, and putting some of his tightest performances, he did so in front of pitifully small audiences. I recall covering him on Sunday afternoon Univision and Telefutura shows nine years ago. He won his first title in front of about 1,500 in a ballroom inside the Mandalay Bay. (That’s was in 2003, and it’s when I met two of Marquez’s biggest fans, Darryl Walker and Kirk Cristiano.) One of the most fun nights I ever had as a boxing writer was in August of 2006 when both Juan Manuel and Rafael shared a double-header in Lake Tahoe (that’s when JMM took on scary tough Terdsak Jandaeng) in front a couple thousand Joey Gilbert fans. Marquez was all offense that night and he dropped the sweetest combinations I’d ever seen in taking out the Thai badass to win the WBO’s “interim” featherweight title. (That same night Edwin Valero won his first title. The combination of “my son” and the Marquez brothers being victorious made that an evening to remember. Steve Kim, Kirk, Darryl and I did a lot of drinking, cigar smoking and s__t talking with drunken Gilbert fans after dinner with Gary Shaw’s group and Team Marquez and after the always classy Marquez acknowledged ‘those two gringos’ for supporting him all those years at the post-fight press conference). That magical evening was JMM’s first step in getting out of boxing limbo after losing to Chris John. He’s come a long way. Anyway, here are my responses to your points:
1)Marquez always shows up to fight. However, I think he’s had a few “bad” or “off” nights before, particularly in his losses with Freddy Norwood and Chris John, but also I thought he looked tight in his fight with Barrera and a little flat against Diaz Saturday night. Still, he got the job done when it really counted.
2)I wouldn’t describe Marquez as a power puncher at 135 pounds, but he knows how to dissect his opponents, wear them down to a degree, and set up very sharp and accurate shots that catch them in the right place at the right time. Put simply, if you drop your guard or lose your focus for an instant with Marquez, he’ll make you pay for it.
3)His heart and toughness have been underrated for quite some time. He responds to adversity as well as anyone I’ve ever covered.
4)The Marquez brothers are among the most dedicated active boxers. Few live as clean and train as hard as they do. If Juan Manuel wasn’t in supreme condition he wouldn’t have been able to get up from those knockdowns in his fights with Barrera and Pacquiao and acquit himself so well, and he wouldn’t have survived into the late rounds vs. Diaz.
5)You can count me as part of that rapidly growing group that considers Marquez to be a great fighter. I understand what you’re saying about his pound-for-pound position. He was so competitive with Pacquiao and he’s accomplished so much it’s like there shouldn’t be a No. 2 pound-for-pound slot. Pacquiao and Marquez should be No. 1 A and No. 1 B.
DIAZ AND CUTS
Although Marquez was landing some pinpoint shots as the rounds went on, I thought Diaz was basically controlling the fight up until he got cut. After the cut, it seemed like he just fell apart, stopped throwing punches and just looked more tentative, like a different guy in there. I couldn't help thinking back to the Diaz-Nate Campbell fight when Diaz was cut and seemed to be lost in the ring afterwards. Do you think Diaz has some kind of mental-block when it comes to fighting while cut? – AE
I agree that Diaz was controlling the fight until he got cut and I agree that the Baby Bull loses his focus when he gets a bad cut that bleeds a lot.
However, Diaz is not alone when it comes to being squeamish about his own blood. Some people are just wired that way. My brother’s a military doctor, the kind of guy who has no problem dissecting cadaver or stitching someone’s arm back on, but if he gets a little nose bleed and sees his blood he either goes into a trace or literally faints. Many fighters panic or unravel when they get cut during a fight, even elite ones.
Former 108-pound champ Chiquita Gonzalez was 30-0 (26) and considered one of the best fighters/punchers on the planet when he lost to Rolando Pascua. He suffered a bad cut in that fight and fell apart, getting KO’d in six rounds by the unheralded journeyman. Marco Antonio Barrera was 43-0 (32) when he lost to Junior Jones the first time. He suffered a cut from a headbutt in that fight and all the will seemed to leak out of his body, he got dropped by a great right hand from Jones shortly after the cut was opened and then saved by his corner (who caused the bout to be a DQ loss instead of a KO by jumping into the ring before the round was over). Manny Pacquiao gets flustered from cuts, too. He was a mess when the rough tactics and headbutts from the late Agapito Sanchez opened up cuts over both his eyes when the two fought as 122-pound title holders back in 2001. The cut Pacquiao suffered vs. Morales in their first fight may have helped El Terrible win that one, and he seemed to lose his focus for a round or two when he suffered a cut in the rematch with Marquez. Donald Curry suffered a cut just before he was taken out by huge underdog Lloyd Honeyghan. Curry was considered the best boxer, pound for pound, at the time. These guys are all hall of famers or future hall of famers (except for Curry, who is at least borderline), so Diaz is in good company. I think he can be squeamish and still have an accomplished career.
OBSERVATIONS IN HOUSTON
I attended the fight at the Toyota Center Saturday night and I had a few observations. First of all the size and enthusiasm of the crowd was really something. When I attended the Diaz/Katsidis fight this past September I thought it would be hard to top the atmosphere but Saturday night did just that.
I thought that the main event reminded me of a lightweight version of Ali/Foreman. Marquez's legs looked shot. From where I was sitting Diaz seemed to be winning the majority of the rounds with his pressure fighting while Marquez seemed at times to be fighting for his life. On the other hand Marquez's combinations are a thing of beauty and Diaz had a bad habit of standing still with his guard up after a flurry of punches which played into the hands of Marquez who would unload on any and all unprotected areas. I don't think Marquez fought the fight he wanted to fight. I think he was fighting for his life and did a helluva job doing so.
I thought the Juarez/John fight was a difficult one to score. John was clearly the faster, busier and more accurate fighter while Juarez was the more aggressive and heavy handed. I had the fight 115-113 for Juarez. I saw Juarez winning rounds 1-3 with pressure and a fierce body attack. I had John winning 4-7 by being busier and more accurate. Juarez won 8 and 9 by stepping up the pressure and landing the harder shots. John came back in the 10th but Juarez closed the fight strong in 11 and 12 by rocking the champion. But I could also see the fight being scored the other way depending on what you like to see in a fight.
I'd like to see more of Daniel Jacobs because his opposition was ridiculous but he looks promising. Danny Garcia failed to impress though IMO. – Stormy, Houston, TX
Garcia isn’t spectacular in any one department, but sometimes those are the kind of prospects that continue to develop and surprise everybody a few years later. I remember fans saying the exact same thing you said about Garcia about Juan Diaz eight years ago. Jacobs has all the natural ability and athletic talent in the world but his boxing skills aren’t going to improve if he doesn’t start getting some quality rounds in. His management needs to put him in with a journeyman known for having a good chin, like Jesus Felipe Valverde (a smaller guy but someone who’s never been KO’d in 36 fights), in his next bout.
I agree with your take on the John-Juarez fight 100 percent. I had it 115-113 at the fight, but I scored it 115-113 for John when I watched it at home. The difference at the fight was that all of Juarez’s punches were accompanied by 14,000 fans going “Ohh!” and it certainly sounded like his shots were the harder ones. At the fight, I thought he won the first four rounds with his aggression, harder punching and body work, then I thought John took the next four rounds with his stick-and-move boxing and combination punching, and I thought the last four rounds could have gone either way, but I had Juarez taking nine, 11 and 12. At home, I scored rounds 1, 2, 4, 11 and 12 for Rocky and the rest for John, who just plain outhustled the little methodical grinder.
I might be in the minority but I thought the draw was fair. Rocky avoided a loss in front of his home town with his gutsy rally in the last two rounds and John got to keep his title and his unbeaten record while earning a lot of props from the American boxing media and fans watching on HBO.
I hadn’t thought of it, but I guess Marquez-Diaz did sort of play out like a 135-pound version of the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’. After four rounds, I was afraid it was going to play out like a lightweight version of Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Terry Norris. I saw the same fight you did, Stormy. It looked to me like Marquez’s legs were gone and that he was a sitting duck that would eventually get cooked by Diaz’s pressure and volume punching. I didn’t think it was an even fight after eight rounds; I had it more like 6-2 for the young man, even though I knew Marquez would take over once Diaz got cut. I absolutely agree that Marquez was fighting for his life – at least his boxing life – in there and was able to pull it out through an incredible combination of pride, conditioning, toughness, experience and skill.
That was a breathtaking fight, an incredible effort put forth by Diaz and a truly amazing performance by Marquez and we were lucky to have witnessed it live. I hope Golden Boy Promotions returns to Houston as soon as Diaz and Juarez are ready to fight again.
THE DEFINITION OF A CHAMP
Watching JMM fight has been awesome. He is now finishing guys with world-class chins. His technique is so flawless that people underestimate his power and killer instinct. He is a true champ willing to fight and dig deep when he has to. I noticed he called out The Pretty Boy. If Mayweather came out of retirement who do you think would have the advantage skill wise? I am glad JMM is finally getting his just due as an all time great and I’m just glad that I had the privilege of seeing him fight!!! Keep up the awesome work!!!!! – Luis, San Diego, CA
First of all I don’t think Mayweather would even consider coming out of retirement to fight Marquez because he can’t make the kind of money he wants against the lightweight champ. But for argument’s sake, if he did want to fight Marquez I think he would have to return to the 140-pound division in order for the bout to competitive. I don’t think Marquez can deal with Mayweather’s speed and elusiveness if they are fighting above 140 pounds. I think Marquez can still make 130 pounds and is pushing it by fighting at lightweight. Can Mayweather still make 140 pounds? He hasn’t fought at junior welterweight since mid-2005.
Anyway, I think “skill-wise” Marquez would have the advantage in offense while Mayweather would have the advantage in defense.
WHAT A FIGHT!
Congratulations on the not-so new gig. I have to say that last night's Marquez-Diaz fight is my favorite fight in a long time, like Hagler-Hearns long time. It MAY not have been the best, but it was my favorite for 2 reasons; #1 is that I didn't know what was going to happen from second to second let alone round to round, and #2 I converted 200 casual fans to hardcore Marquez fans. People were calling me all night talking about those uppercuts. I had to stand for a bunch of it and I think the reason is because as great as Marquez-Vasquez was or Castillo-Corrales was, with Marquez I feel like I was seeing a TRUE expert in a war, something I never got to see Hopkins or Mayweather in and only got to see from Whitaker once or twice. Diaz gave it all he had & I gained respect for him in defeat. If you were the God of boxing, what matchups would you see next for these 2 fighters. Thanks. – Tyrone
If I was Dan Rafael I would put Marquez in with the winner of Hatton-Pacquiao. I would match Diaz up with the winner of the Joel Casamayor-Julio Diaz fight.
I understand what you’re saying about Marquez. As fun as it is to watch sluggers and pure warriors like Israel Vazquez or the late Diego Corrales go at it, there’s something special about witnessing an elite boxer bite down and let his hands go with fury and abandon. That’s what made Sugar Ray Leonard the legend that he is.
What an INCREDIBLE performance! I’ve always been a big Marquez fan, but watching those first 3 or 4 rounds I had that sickening feeling you get when you realise your man is in with a style all wrong for him. Then to see Marquez literally prove his heart, skill and greatness, and turn the fight around to score a brutal KO – that was probably the most memorable moment I’ve ever had as a boxing fan. Marquez' skills are second to none in boxing right now, and no one (maybe all time) drops combos like this guy. It was absolutely humbling to behold. When I think back at all the recent sensational and stunning performances by veteran fighters in recent times (Hopkins, Mosley, etc.) I think this would have to be at the top of the list – especially given the age and fierce quality of the opposition he was facing. How would you rate this performance historically? As you mentioned, Marquez is truly an all-time great, and in my opinion, without a doubt the number 1 guy in the sport today. DAMN what a great fight. Realistically, if he doesn’t get the Hatton/Pacman winner, who do you think we'll see him in with next? – Ed from UK
I think the media and fans like you need to DEMAND that the winner of Hatton-Pacquiao fight Marquez. To hell with Floyd Mayweather. Marquez is the fighter who DESERVES that fight and the big payday that would come with it. We need to put pressure on the promoters involved and on HBO to make that fight happen for Marquez. If we do, we’ll all be rewarded with another great fight.
But if the fight can’t be made for whatever reason, I think Nate Campbell at 140 pounds would be an interesting matchup for Marquez provided the Galaxy Warrior can win a belt or two (say if he were to take on the winner of Holt-Bradley and win).
As for Marquez’s performance against Diaz, I think it rates as the best victory by an “old vet” that we’ve seen in recent months because I believe that the Baby Bull is a more versatile and talented fighter than Kelly Pavlik and Antonio Margarito.
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