Coming in to his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday evening, Joel Casamayor had shrugged off some subpar outings of late by explaining that he hadn’t been properly motivated, because the foes weren’t all-stars. Casamayor had an all-star in front of him Saturday in Marquez, and his motivation was presumably sky high. But his performance, while not subpar, was no match for the Mexican Marquez. After conceding some rounds early on, JMM stepped it up, and finished the Cuban pugilist extraordinaire in the 11th round, via TKO. He dropped the Cuban with a right cross, and finished him off with a parcel off shots, and a right hand capper.
The official time was 2:55 of round 11. Casamayor didn't protest the stoppage, as referee Tony Weeks halted the bout as the Cuban went down for the second time.
JMM, trying out the 135 pound class for size, landed 160 to Casa’s 122, but the Cuban threw more (552-516). Marquez said after, “We moved up to get Pacquiao, but we’ll fight anybody who my promoter wants.”
The three-time champion Casamayor (36-3 entering, age 37) made 135 pounds Friday. Three-time world champion JMM (48-4, age 35) weighed 135 pounds Friday as well.
The lefty Casamayor, looking like a mini Kimbo Slice according to PPV analyst Ron Borges of TSS, was aggressive early. Marquez ate jabs, and a couple of long lefts in the first. The second was tight, both fighters were respectful of the others’ chops. In the third, Marquez chose to let loose with the right more. Marquez had a 30-29 edge in punches landed after three.
In round four, Casa stung JMM with a lead left. It was another tight one, with both man’s fans able to make a case that their guy did more. I thought Casamayor’s pops were more noticeable winners, myself. He did have a tiny cut over his right eye. In the fifth, JMM snuck in a right. The cut looked worse. Another right dropped on Casa. The tide, perhaps, was turning. In the sixth, JMM was able to be more offensive on the Cuban, whose nose now dripped blood.
In round seven, Casa didn’t have a change in strategy to change the flow. In the eighth, both men landed jabs. It was a better round for Casa, as his punch output kept JMM on the defensive. In the ninth, blood trickled down Casa’s eye. But he was back in the mix. More movement helped his cause.
In the 10th, Casa’s movement put him out of range more so. But JMM landed a mean right at 1:26, and a jab when Casa clowned. JMM took the round with cleaner punching. In the 11th, neither man pressed too hard; perhaps both thought they were ahead. Casa did good work with the left, and defensively. He ate a hook with a minute left, though, and then hit the deck, via a right at 31 seconds to go. Another right, amidst a flurry, sent Casa to the mat, for good.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV