September 19, 2008

The Ballad of Juan Manuel Marquez

By El Gran Campeon

“It is better to die on your back then to live on your knees”

Emiliano Zapata

Last Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez gave a performance that Mexican leader Emiliano Zapata would have been proud of. In a fight called “The Challenge,” Marquez (49-4-36 KOs) played the part of a general in the ring, who led his Mexican countrymen in a Mexican Independence Day battle vs. cagey Cuban veteran Joel “El cepillo” Casamayor. With a sea of Mexican flags waving, and chants of, “Mar-Quez, Mar-Quez,” and “Me-xi-co, Me-xi-co,” Marquez displayed his intelligence as a fighter. He strategically took Casamayor apart with timely combinations before delivering a hammering right hand to the chin of Casamayor, prompting referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight at 2:55 in round eleven.

In knocking out Casamayor, Marquez victoriously became the first fighter (in a list that includes: Nate Campbell, Michael Katsidis, Jose Luis Castillo, and the late Diego “Chico” Corrales) to stop Casamayor via TKO. With Zapata’s words echoing in his ear, Marquez made it apparent that he would not be denied a victory in front of a mostly Mexican crowd of about 8,000 that were there to celebrate their Independence day. With this win, Marquez now becomes the Ring Magazine lightweight Champion, making him a Champion in three different weight classes. The win also solidifies his status as one of the sports best pound for pound fighters. While Dinamita looked his usual self in defeating Casamayor, there was no question that he was in rare form after the fight.


Juan Manuel Marquez celebrates after his eleven round knock out of Joel Casamayor. Marquez becomes just the fourth Mexican to win three titles in three different weight classes.

Marquez made no mention of fighting current WBC lightweight Champion Manny Pacquiao a third time. Since losing a controversial split decision to Pacquiao on March 15, Marquez has been obsessed with landing a third fight with Pacquiao. The possibility of facing Pacquiao a third time was the sole reason that Marquez made his ascension into the lightweight division to begin with. Many even believed that Marquez’s obsession with Pacquiao would cause him to lose focus against Casamayor last Saturday night.

Marquez knows that he may never get another opportunity to fight Pacquiao again. After the fight he acknowledged that “A third fight maybe is not happening because of the people behind boxing.” Whether he was referring to his boss Oscar De La Hoya, is open for debate. De La Hoya did come out of nowhere to announce that he would be facing Pacquiao on December 6th, in a fight that would make dollars but not much sense.

Marquez now finds himself in an unfamiliar position. After years of trying to land the big fights that had eluded him, he now controls his destiny in the lightweight division. Since his win on Saturday night, he has already been called out by Nate Campbell and Juan “Bay Bull” Diaz. A possible showdown with junior welterweight Ricky Hatton may also loom in the balance.

At 35 years old, Marquez is finally receiving the recognition that he has longed for. He now has the opportunity to further cement his legacy, as one of the greatest fighters to emerge from Mexico. His fight this past Mexican Independence Day assured us of one thing, we’ll be saying Viva Marquez! For years to come.

El Gran Chisme

“Nacho time” for De La Hoya? When Oscar De La Hoya selected Manny Pacquiao for his next opponent, he forget to tell his trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. As a result Mayweather had already committed to training Ricky Hatton for his upcoming bout with Paulie Malignaggi. Left without a trainer, sources say that De La Hoya might hire the services of legendary Mexican trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain. This pick would make a lot of sense, seeing how Nacho has come up with a perfect game plan for Juan Manuel Marquez in his two fights with Pacquiao.

No signs of Tornado in 08

Antonio Margarito has decided to take the rest of the year off. After a fight with Joshua Clottey appeared close to being signed, Margarito is taking the year off to rest. Since beating Miguel Cotto in July, the Tornado has been relishing in his victory, making appearances in places like Puerto Rico where he was a ringside guest for the Calderon vs. Cazares rematch. Expect the Tornado to have a banner year next year with possible fights against Shane Mosley, and a possible re-match with Miguel Cotto.

Travieso, Torito, set off fireworks for Mexican Independence Day

Jorge “El Travieso” Arce and Rafael Concepcion, faced off in an absolute slugfest this past Monday night in Mexico. Arce (50-4-38 KOs) pummeled Concepcion relentlessly with left hooks to the head and body. The beating proved too much for Concepcion as he was unable to answer the bell for the 9th round. The win gives Arce the interim WBA super flyweight title, and sets up a possible showdown with the “Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire.

Homeboy Perez shines on big stage

Local fighter Danny “Dynamite” Perez, who grew up in San Diego upset Julio “Baby face” Garcia on the under card of Marquez vs. Casamayor. Perez (33-5-17-KOs) became a late replacement for the fight, when veteran Yori Boy Campas was not cleared by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. As a result Perez had only two weeks to prepare for the dangerous Garcia. Perez seized the moment as he outworked his younger opponent, landing 190 more punches. Perez, was last seen defeating Daniel Stanisavljevic at the 4th&B in July. It’s worth noting that prior to the Garcia fight, Perez had only fought a total of six rounds in the past three years.

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