“HARD LOOK” AT BOXER JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ
IS JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ THE “BEST” OF MEXICO?
Las Vegas, NV- It’s interesting to ponder the ascension and the career of four division (126, 130, 135, 140 lb.) champion Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs). The master boxer from Mexico City turned 40 in August, and this Saturday he faces one of his toughest bouts against Tim Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) in a quest to capture Tim’s WBO welterweight (147 lb.) title on HBO PPV. One would have never imagined that a fighter who lost a close decision to Chris John (48-0, 22 KOs)(regardless of what some experts say John won a close fight) in a WBA featherweight (126) bout in 2006 would still be fighting, albeit successfully as a welterweight. After finally earning that career defining victory over Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) in their fourth fight last December (KO6) the Mexican can now move on to other challenges. Losing two of the first three fights to the Filipino icon left a bad taste in his mouth, but now he’s received his vindication. In Bradley he is facing a completely different style, and one that has not been favorable to him in the past.
CAME UP SHORT AGAINST BOXERS
Marquez is by style a counterpuncher who excels against aggressive minded opponents. He looked great against volume punchers such as Juan Diaz and brawlers like Australian Michael Katsidis, but somewhat listless in bouts against boxers like Chris John, Floyd Mayweather, and Freddie Norwood. Bradley can either box or brawl and the 30 year old is expected to use that youth and enthusiasm to his advantage to cruise to a points victory.
CAN MARQUEZ CATCH BRADLEY LIKE PACQUIAO?
Expect Bradley to fight a cautious bout and not to give Marquez too many counterpunching opportunities by not getting caught up in exchanges. While Bradley may be the naturally bigger man, Marquez is the better puncher, partially due to his punch variety and accuracy. Tim possesses advantages in hand speed and agility. It will be interesting to see who can sustain the more consistent attack for twelve rounds. One question is whether Bradley can hurt Marquez. While the Mexican has a decent chin, he has been dropped by a number of fighters, and as good as Marquez is offensively there are holes he leaves defensively, especially when he gets overly aggressive as evidenced when he was knocked down by Marco Antonio Barrera in a 130 lb. WBC title winning effort in 2007. At 40 can Marquez once again turn back the clock and pull out another impressive win, or was the Pacquiao win more of a case of the Mexican just having his number?