Coming into this past Saturday night, Mike Alvarado (34-3, 23 KOs), was assigned the task to show boxing fans how much the great Juan Manuel Marquez still had left in the tank. Much to the delight of the thousands on hand in Los Angeles’ Great Western Forum, Marquez showed he still has plenty of “dinimita” left in his gloves. Marquez returned to his thrilling ways against Alvarado, seven months after being beaten in one of the most timid fights of his career against Timothy Bradley last October.
The main question being posed to Marquez was that at the age of 40, could he still beat high level competition within the sport? Marquez would answer his critics question with a resounding yes, after twelve excellently fought rounds by the Mexican legend. The former three-division champion of the world would leave Alvarado fighting a more cautious fight than the Colorado native had ever displayed against world-class competition.
Why? The answer is simple: Juan Manuel Marquez is still one of, if not the most deadliest, counter punchers in boxing. Despite being the younger, stronger man, Alvarado was not at all eager through much of the first seven rounds to exchange punches with Marquez, fearing one of Marquez’s counters would end his night. This lead to a decent first half of a bout, completely dominated by Marquez. Alvarado however, would not let the night end without flashing his warrior moxie and spirit.
After being absolutely plastered by a booming right by Marquez at the end of the eighth, Alvarado would barely beat the counter. Alvarado had been saved by the bell once returning to his feet, and Marquez seemed ready to vanquish Alvarado heading into the ninth round.
As nearly everybody in the arena awaited a climatic stoppage for the fan favorite Marquez, Alvarado now fighting for survival, summoned the slumbering warrior within him. As Marquez was going for the kill in round nine, Alvarado shocked everybody in the building by landing a crunching right hand in the midst of a furious exchange. After being completely dominated, and then nearly being stopped, Alvarado would have his moment of the night.
Ultimately, Alvarado’s dramatic attack in the final rounds was not enough, as Marquez warded him off. Alvarado’s courageous stand in the championship rounds turned a one-sided performance of a fight, into a thriller. As always the incredible heart and mastery of Marquez gave Boxing lovers another memorable night.
Mike Alvarado has been in an awful lot of hellacious, punishing fights over the past few years, one after another. Alvarado is still relatively young, but he has the wear and tear of a fighter that would be in his mid thirties. For Alvarado’s safety, he should not fight much longer. He may no longer be the same force he was a year ago, in fact it is highly likely that he is not. Alvarado was always a solid, good fighter. Never a pound for pound type of champion. So, with the likelihood of his abilities dissipating, Alvarado will be hard pressed to beat another top fighter in the future. Alvarado has made some good money, given boxing fans multiple classic fights to remember, and has overachieved beyond many expectations. Nobody wants to see him suffer unnecessary punishment. A third fight with Brandon Rios would ideally be Alvarado’s swan song.
With this victory, Juan Manuel Marquez is back in business. He appears to have a very lucrative fifth bout with Manny Pacquiao potentially in the works, as Marquez is the number one ranked contender for the WBO welterweight tile Pacquiao holds. If not Pacquiao, then any of the top fighters from 140 to 147 pounds would be an excellent, must see match up for Marquez. Marquez may no longer be at the peak of his career, but like fellow forty-something Bernard Hopkins, he can still beat some of the sport’s best and is must see TV. Juan Manuel Marquez is not finished just yet, lets see who he gets paired with in the second half of the year.