Don't Count Marquez Out

May 11, 2009

Last week Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez agreed to fight on July 18. Although there is some confusion over the weight limit, it appears to be 143 pounds, thus requiring Mayweather, who generally fights at 147 pounds, to come in lighter than usual and Marquez, who has only fought as high as 135 pounds twice, to once again significantly step up in weight.

After Manny Pacquiao's second round knockout of Ricky Hatton on May 2, many people are now salivating at the prospect of a Pacquiao-Mayweather superfight. Some have gone as far as to suggest boxing "needs" this fight to take place.

Not so fast.

While Mayweather and many of his fans may be looking ahead already, they may be in for a surprise against Juan Manuel Marquez.

Here is a quick list of reasons why Juan Manuel Marquez should not be counted out on July 18:

1. Throughout his career, Juan Manuel Marquez has been a masterful boxing technician at several weight classes ranging from 122 to 135 pounds. Since 2000, he has suffered only two defeats, and most believe both were wrong decisions.

The first defeat was to Chris John in Indonesia. While Marquez was far from perfect, he clearly was robbed by a home town decision in that fight. The other defeat was to Manny Pacquiao in their second matchup - an indisputably close fight.

2. None of the decisions Marquez has won during that time have been viewed as controversial.

Meanwhile, Mayweather has been the beneficiary of at least one controversial decision, his first fight against Jose Luis Castillo. Others believe Oscar De La Hoya deserved a draw in his fight against Mayweather.

3. Marquez has faced tough competition before. 'Nuff said.

4. Marquez has thus far looked good when moving up in weight.

At each stage of his ascent to 135 pounds, Marquez has remained an elite fighter. While it is always possible that he will have pushed beyond his limits at 143 pounds for this fight, we shouldn't simply assume it. After all, few expected Marquez to move up to 135 pounds and knockout both Joel Casamayor and Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz.

If any lesson is to be learned from the recent series of "big man" versus "little man moving up in weight" matchups, it's that size considerations alone should never cause us to ignore talent deficits.

For example, while much was made of Ricky Hatton's size being an issue against Mayweather, it was his lack of skills that was much more relevant. This same talent gap was also the reason the "bigger" Hatton was embarrassed by Pacquiao. Size can be an issue, but it's far from the whole story.

5. Marquez does not fade down the stretch of fights.

In both of his fights with Pacquiao, Marquez was forced to come from behind after being blitzed early. And on both occasions he proved to be a strong finisher, rallying late in both bouts.

However, with Mayweather, Marquez may get to enjoy the luxury of an "even" start.

Mayweather could be rusty from his long layoff and is not a naturally aggressive fighter regardless. If he starts slow, he may be surprised that Marquez will also improve as the fight goes on. Remember, Mayweather basically relied on De La Hoya tiring in the later rounds for that decision victory.

6. Marquez will be the smartest fighter Mayweather has ever faced.

Tactical fighters like Mayweather are accustomed to outsmarting their opponents in the ring. However, Marquez is as smart as they come. And it is his unique ability to think on the fly and adjust during a fight that makes Marquez such a special talent.

Mayweather may believe the smaller Marquez is a good "name" conquest that he can use to garner bigger fights, but it is possible an intelligent fighter like Marquez is the last person he would want to fight after a long layoff.

7. Marquez is fighting for something more than money or legacy - he wants revenge.

When Manny Pacquiao denied Marquez a third fight after their last epic battle, Marquez simply refused to take "no" for an answer. So when Manny moved up to 135 and won a title, Marquez one-upped him by following him to 135 and defeating a better fighter. When Pacquiao later defeated a shot Oscar De La Hoya, Marquez continued his chase by effectively cleaning out the 135-pound division with his knockout of Juan Diaz.

Now, Marquez stands on the verge of catching his "prey," with only Mayweather as his final obstacle. So, while the Pretty Boy might only see a rich future date with the "Mexicutioner," Marquez might be seeing vindication and sweet revenge. And that added incentive could make all the difference.

Perhaps before jumping on the Pacquiao-Mayweather bandwagon, we should first stop and ask ourselves one question:

On July 18, just who exactly is the stepping stone?

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

1 comment:

  1. well said. 2 bad most ppl dont realize this-- many has been runnin duckin and hidin from juan manuel ever since their last fight

    my that guess is that floyd DOES recognize how dangerous a fighter marquez is and will come out on top of his game.

    we already know he definitely RESPECTS jmm's abilities having stated years ago that he beleived the elder marquez brother was one of his top 3 fighters in the game lb 4 lb

    but, don't be surprised if jmm wins a close decision, setting up the "mustsee" fight 3 of their trilogy!!

    viva mexico!!


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