June 27, 2008
By John Martinez
June 21, 2008 A poll was distributed asking various members of the boxing media along with other boxing insiders to predict who would win the IBF Middleweight title eliminator featuring the former champion Raul “El Diamante” Marquez (40-3-1, 29 KO’s) against the highly touted, fourth ranked IBF undefeated contender Giovanni Lorenzo (26-0, 18 KO’s).
I chose Marquez, along with only three others. I saw Marquez exploiting the youth, inexperience, and over hyped record of the young stud Lorenzo.
Most in the media, and I suspect the fans as well, thought this fight would be a walk through showcase for the highly touted Lorenzo. And with all due respect, it probably should have been.
However, someone forgot to tell the veteran fighter that he wasn’t supposed to actually try and win. He was just supposed to do enough to make the fight look legitimate. Funny thing is we all make plans only to find that in the end, plans so often fall through.
In the fight, shown live on Showtime Championship Boxing, Marquez started the fight with a steady diet of jabs and pressure. He had the youngster backing up and cautious for most of the round. In the second and third stanzas, Marquez would abandon his jab and as a result, took repeated punishment from a bruising right hand courtesy of Giovanni.
By midway through the contest, Marquez was cut, bruised, and bleeding, but this would not tell the true story of the fight. Marquez was actually winning behind constant pressure, debilitating body shots, well-timed left hands, and ring savvy.
In round ten, with only second’s left before the bell, Lorenzo inexplicably gave a deliberate headbut to Marquez drawing the ire of the referee. As a result, Giovanni was penalized one point for his actions.
The fighters traded hard shots after the bell and it was at this moment that Lorenzo seemed to show his true lack of confidence.
Before the twelfth and final round, Marquez sensed the obvious outcome of his gritty professional performance and shouted from his corner “I’m the Man!”
In the last three minutes of the battle Raul could have played it safe, but instead elected to match Lorenzo punch for punch on his way to a well deserved and obvious victory.
Many in the poll that picked Lorenzo to win chose him because of his youth and “heavy artillery”. They obviously did not take into account Lorenzo’s soft opposition that he faced coming into this fight or the fact that Marquez isn’t thirty-six years OLD. He is just nine years and seventeen bouts smarter than the guy they picked to win the battle.
With this win, Marquez should now catapult into the upper echelons of the middleweight division to take on the likes of reigning IBF Middleweight boss, Arthur Abraham.
In today’s “marquee” matchups of boxing’s finest, the boxing community is never assured of an entertaining and memorable clash. But tonight, after the fight was over, Marquez proudly exclaimed, “I am a warrior. I come to give the people what they want to see, a fight.”
John Martinez writes for Ironboxing and brickcityboxing.com