Career Overview – Juan Manuel Marquez (Part 2)

Challenge — Manny Pacquiao I (38-2-1), 5-8-04.

In the first of a four fight series, Juan Manuel Marquez takes on Manny Pacquiao in a WBA (Super) and IBF featherweight championship showdown. The first round is one of the most memorable rounds in the modern era of boxing. After suffering three knockdowns, Marquez recovers and gives us a performance for the ages. After that opening stanza, Marquez outboxed his greatest rival for large portions of the fight, snapping Pacquiao’s head back at various points. Pacquiao still landed those nasty straight lefts, but Marquez adjusted to those strikes as the fight unfolded. Marquez also had some great rib roasters, although some were a bit low. Even though Marquez won most of the rounds, that first round was still a 10-6. It was so difficult to overcome that first frame. The fight was ultimately ruled a draw, but it really could have gone either way. This classic fight elevated Marquez’ status, showing that he was more than just a great tactician. He showed us that he had heart and that he could go, life and death, with a future boxing icon.

Challenge — Orlando Salido (23-8-2), 9-18-04.

Orlando Salido would go on to become a future WBO and IBF champion, along with producing a fierce rivalry against Juan Manuel Lopez. Salido won that feud, 2-0. Marquez wins a lopsided decision here, retaining his WBA and IBF titles in a dull fight. Salido would later become friends with Marquez, and is scheduled to fight on the Marquez-Bradley undercard against Orlando Cruz for the vacant WBO featherweight title.

Challenge — Victor Polo (37-4-3), 5-7-05.

Marquez in another WBA Super featherweight and IBF featherweight title defense, this time, against challenger Victor Polo. Not particularly memorable.

Challenge — Chris John (36-0-1), 3-4-06.

Another controversial decision, as Marquez loses his WBA featherweight title to undefeated boxer Chris John. Marquez, turned down a fight with Pacquiao, feeling that he deserved much more in pay. It led to Marquez bidding away his next fight, which lead to him fighting John in Indonesia for $30,000, much less than what he had been offered against Pacquiao. Ouch. The fight turned out to be a bit dull. Marquez had a point deduction for repeated low-blows, and he lost via decision. I felt he won, as do many others, but this is often talked about as one of Marquez’ worst career decisions.

Challenge — Terdsak Kokietgym (24-1-0), 8-5-06.

Whatever anger Marquez must have been feeling about his last fight with John, it seemed he took it all out on Terdsak Kokietgym. For the interim WBO featherweight crown, Marquez strung together brutal combinations all over the Thai boxer. Some men settle on two, three punch combinations. Marquez was going after five, six punch combinations in here. Another brilliant offensive showcase for Marquez. Such a fun bout to watch.

Challenge — Jimrex Jaca (27-2-1), 11-25-06.

The great Juan Manuel Marquez came to the Valley for an audition and a defense of the interim WBO featherweight championship. He was hoping to land the role of Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent. To show what he had to offer, he took on southpaw Filipino Jimrex Jaca. We all know that Jaca isn’t anywhere near the class of Pacquiao, but Marquez made the most of this fight. While Marquez won practically all the rounds, there was a level of competitiveness and brawling in those rounds that raised this fight to a level that most had not anticipated. Marquez sustained a bad cut during the fight, which led to a controversial moment in 8th round, where the official told Marquez that he could quit; he was ahead on the scorecards anyway. Marquez pretty much blew him off and finished off the gutsy Jaca in the following round. What a good dude. I have a soft spot for this fight. It’s a blast to watch.

Challenge: Marco Antonio Barrera (63-4-0), 3-17-07.

It finally happened, Marquez finally squared off with the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera. While not at his peak, Barrera still gave Marquez one of the toughest, grittiest fights of his Hall of Fame career. Punch for punch, you seldom see boxers fighting at such a razor-close level. Round seven is both legendary and controversial. Marquez was beating Barrera up so badly that it looked like he was about to be put away. Barrera hit a perfect right-hand counter that forced Marquez down to the canvas. The referee didn’t call the knockdown, but called Barrera’s follow-up punch, which occurred with Marquez’s glove touching the ground. A point was deducted, which led to some drama if that would affect Barrera’s chances of winning a decision. It didn’t make a difference, as the judges scored it wide for Marquez, earning him the WBC super featherweight title. This was far more competitive than the judges had it. It was a classic, one of the greatest boxing fights of the decade. This has a case for being Marquez’ most exciting fight. Seeing this fight makes me sad that we never saw Marquez take on the legendary Erik Morales.

Challenge: Rocky Juarez (27-3-0), 11-3-07.

Marquez looks good in this WBC super featherweight title defense. A cut caused by an unintentional headbutt affected Rocky Juarez, as Marquez picked him apart throughout. It would have been nice to see how well Juarez would have done without that cut, but it seemed clear that Marquez was a class above him. Good performance.

Challenge: Manny Pacquiao II (45-3-2), 3-15-08.

Juan Manuel Marquez drops the WBC super featherweight title to Manny Pacquiao, in the second installment of their four fight series. Pacquiao’s knockdown in the 3rd frame was a big moment, as it gave him the only 10-8 round of the fight. I scored the contest as follows — seven rounds for Marquez, five rounds for Pacquiao. So that makes it an 114-113 score for Marquez. It was a close affair, the round to debate for most level-headed boxing enthusiasts would be razor-thin 9th frame. I awarded it to Marquez since I felt he landed the more significant blows of the two. Two judges gave that round to Pacquiao; the other judge gave it to Marquez. Pacquiao was aggressive at times, did score a knockdown, but Marquez countered him brilliantly with his dynamite right hand. The judges awarded Pacquiao the fight, via split decision, with one-point in his favor. Another classic encounter.

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