Weekend Review: The amazing Marquez continues to impress at 40
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Juan Manuel Marquez: Marquez was part of the fabulous Mexico triumvirate with Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, who began to gain notice in the mid-1990s. However, Marquez, more of a technician than the others, watched as Barrera and Morales claimed most of the adulation from Mexican and worldwide boxing fans. So much has changed. Barrera and Morales, both of whom are younger than Marquez, are gone and Marquez is still going strong. He demonstrated that once again in his one-sided decision over the respected Mike Alvarado on Saturday at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Marquez was both a master boxer and fierce puncher when he had openings, characteristics that have made him a great fighter and a rich man. He and Alvarado, both counterpunchers, waited a great deal for opportunities to attack but it was Marquez who generally detected them first and took full advantage. His many vicious, multi-punch combinations were fast, accurate and ultimately the difference in the fight. Marquez connected on a solid 44 percent of his total punches (278 of 627) but a remarkable 57 percent of his power shots (163 of 287). It’s no wonder he won by wide margins of 117-109, 117-109 and 119-108. (I had it 117-109.) And don’t forget: Marquez (56-7-1, 40 knockouts) is 40, he’s been doing this for 21 years. The man is amazing.
Mike Alvarado: What was wrong with Alvarado? I wondered while watching the fight whether the Coloradan was somewhat overrated all along. He really has only one noteworthy victory (in his rematch with tough, but limited Brandon Rios), lost his first fight with Rios and now consecutive fights to Ruslan Provodnikov and Marquez. Others suggested he might be shopworn after the wars with Rios and Provodnikov, which they say might explain his inability to get his punches off at a high rate on Saturday. I suspect there is a some truth in both notions. However, I also believe that Marquez was the biggest factor in Alvarez’s so-so performance: He tried and failed to match wits in the ring with a fellow counterpuncher – and future first-ballot Hall of Famer – who is simply much better than he is. I think Alvarado didn’t let his hands go in good part because he didn’t know how, when or where to do so against a master boxer who befuddled him. No shame in losing to a legend. Alvarado (34-3, 23 KOs) is 33 years old, an age when many active fighters begin to slow down. The best of the former WBO junior welterweight titleholder might be behind him. That doesn’t mean he’s finished, though. A good, long rest and opponents more aligned with his skill level might be a recipe for more success.
What’s next for Marquez?: Marquez was asked the obvious question immediately after his victory over Alvarado: Would he consider a fifth fight against Manny Pacquiao? He has dismissed that notion in the past, saying there’s no reason to do it after his one-punch knockout of Pacquiao in 2012. This time, he didn’t. He said he would get some rest, think about it and then make a decision about his next opponent. I hesitate to advocate a fifth meeting between any fighters but this one makes sense. One, their rivalry has been compelling. Two, while Marquez ended the fourth installment of the rivalry in emphatic fashion, we shouldn’t forget that Pacquiao was getting the better of Marquez until it happened. Three, they’re both now coming off impressive victories. And, four, a Pacquiao-Marquez fight will always attract fans and earn both fighters a healthy payday. Why wouldn’t Marquez do it? The answer to that question might that there are other possibilities that make sense for him, Provodnikov and Rios being among them. The bottom line for fans of Marquez is this: There are more compelling matches ahead for the Mexican wonder. And that’s a good thing.
Viktor Postol (26-0, 11 KOs) isn’t much to look at. The Ukrainian is a tall, lanky, standup fighter who doesn’t dazzle anyone … until you look at the numbers. Start with his record: A zero in the loss column is always impressive. And then consider his punch output. Postol threw an eye-catching 1,105 punches in his 11th-round knockout victory over Selcuk Aydin on the Marquez-Alvarado undercard. That’s roughly 100 punches per round. Aydin, stuck at the end of Postol’s long arms, couldn’t even begin to keep pace. Postol could end up fighting RING and WBC titleholder Danny Garcia (if he remains at 140 pounds) or Lucas Matthysse for the WBC belt. I don’t see Postol winning either of those fights but his opponents will have to work hard to get past him. … Aydin (26-3, 19 KOs) came to the U.S. with a perfect record and high hopes in 2012. However, he lost back-to-back fights against Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass before Saturday and is now 3-3 in that time. … Nathan Cleverly (27-1, 13 KOs) bounced back from his knockout loss to Sergey Kovalev by stopping Shawn Corbin (17-5, 12 KOs) in two rounds in his first cruiserweight fight Saturday in Cardiff, Wales. Now we wait to see how he fares against a big-time 200-pounder. The biggest winner on the card might’ve been Gavin Rees (38-4-1, 18 KOs), who turned the tables on Gary Buckland (28-4, 9 KOs) in their rematch with a split-decision victory and then said he was retiring. Nice to go out on a high. Rees had lost three in a row before that. Buckland has now lost two of his last three. …
Boxing returned on Friday to the Olympic Stadium in Montreal for the first time since Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard did battle in 1980. About 1,000 fans were on hand to watch veterans Delvin Rodriguez (28-7-4, 16 KOs) and Joachim Alcine (35-7-2, 21 KOs) fight to a draw in the main event on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. … Shannon Briggs‘ efforts to lure Wladimir Klitschko into the ring has struck me as a little annoying. What has he done to deserve it? The last time we saw him in a big fight he was shut out by Vitali Klitschko in 2010. Plus, he’s 42. That said, Briggs (54-6-1, 48 KOs) is being smart. First, he has stopped each of three obscure opponents in the first round in his comeback this year, including Matthew Greer (16-13, 13 KOs) on Saturday in West Virginia. That’s a start. And he weighed 248 against Greer, the lightest he has weighed in a fight since 2001 and evidence that he’s training hard. He looked fit at ringside for the Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola fight on May 10. And interupting a press conference to promote Wladimir Klitschko’s fight against Alex Leapai was effective even if it was obnoxious. He planted a seed. Don’t be surprised if we see Briggs-Klitschko sometime in the near future.