RINGSIDE REPORT Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez Delights Fans at Forum

INGLEWOOD, CALIF.—Mexico’s master boxer Juan Manuel Marquez showed that despite being smaller, not as fast and not as strong as he once was, he is still a master of the sweet science and used it in beating Mike Alvarado by unanimous decision on Saturday.

A large crowd of 12,090 returned to the boxing jewel known as the Inglewood Forum and saw one of its favorite sons Marquez (56-7-1, 40 Kos) out-box and defeat former champion Alvarado (34-3, 23 Kos). The crowd was boisterous and excited about the fight and the return of boxing.

For 12 rounds the crowd was in awe of Marquez’s performance, who was nearly flawless until a mistake almost derailed him.

Marquez’s reputation preceded him so Alvarado seemed to allow the Mexican legend to take the initiative in the early rounds. He was probably thinking it would be better to make the counter-puncher lead. Marquez took that lead and put on a boxing display for the first five rounds with jabs, combos and shots to the body. In one stretch he fired a four-punch combination all with the left hand that included an uppercut, left hook, jab and uppercut.

Alvarado put on the pressure after round five and the distance close suddenly. Marquez took advantage of the pressure and floored Alvarado at the end of round eight with a perfect one-two and down he went. Alvarado looked upset at himself.

Marquez had looked carefully at Alvarado when he went down so when round nine started he leaped into attack mode. During a furious exchange Alvarado caught Marquez with a perfect left hook and down went the legend. He got up and instead of moving he went back into attack mode and it turned out to be the best round of the fight. Both fired dangerous combinations until the end of the round.

“I thought I could land a right hand but he caught me real good when my hand was down,” said Marquez about the knockdown. “I tried to finish him but he was not ready.”

Alvarado had a look of extreme focus and seemed intent on knocking out Marquez. He was probably told he had fallen far behind and needed a knockout. Despite a swollen left eye the Denver slugger was looking for the right opening. It never came.

The Mexican boxer Marquez never allowed Alvarado to get a bead on him as he slipped punches, moved outside the firing zone or stepped outside of the danger zone altogether. Alvarado tried his best to use his reach but was unable to catch Marquez. When he went inside it was just as puzzling, as Marquez avoided the big blows and landed his own. It was a boxing clinic put on by a master of the boxing science.

Alvarado was able to connect here and there, especially with the left hook, but Marquez never allowed the taller fighter to get his footing. At the end of round 11 a right uppercut from Marquez served as a reminder that he could still score a knockout.

In the final round both were careful and looked for each other to make a mistake. As usual it was the veteran Marquez who opened up the round with a right hand and then a three-punch combination. Another uppercut from the Mexican boxer landed and Alvarado seemed to be looking for that opening to land the big bomb. In the last 30 seconds both exchanged furiously again. Alvarado scored but not with the zinger he needed. Marquez looked to score a knockout too.

“I wanted to reward the public,” said Marquez when asked why he risked going for the knockout.

All three judges scored it for Marquez 117-109 twice and 119-108.

“He was very strong and very difficult,” said Marquez. “It’s a fight for all of the Mexicans. It was a great fight. I fight for them.”

Alvarado was gracious in defeat.

“He’s a great boxer,” Alvarado said. “He has great experience.”

Other bouts

In a very unexciting junior welterweight bout Ukraine’s Viktor Postal (26-0, 11 Kos) putted along for 11 rounds until he lowered the boom against Turkey’s Selcuk Aydin (26-3, 19 Kos) with a right uppercut at 2:52 of round 12 for a knockout win. The crowd suddenly woke up just in time for the main event.

Diego Magdaleno (26-1, 10 Kos) was just too quick and too accurate for Oscar Bravo (21-4, 9 Kos) in a battle between Las Vegas lightweights. Magdaleno dropped Bravo early in the fight but was unable to press for a knockout win over the durable fighter. All three judges scored it for Magdaleno.

Mexico’s Oscar Valdez (11-0, 10 Kos) tore into Puerto Rico’s Noel “Shutup” Echevarria (11-3, 6 Kos) like he was responsible for all of his personal woes. Valdez battered the left-handed Boricua mercilessly until the fight was stopped at the end of the seventh round. Echevarria had one great chin but was rocked repeatedly like a punching bag. Apparently Echevarria’s jaw was broken.

Mexico’s Raul Hirales (22-2-1, 11 Kos) knocked out Ernesto Guerrero (17-10, 10 Kos) at 2:31 of round three in a junior featherweight bout. A short right uppercut and left hook sent Guerrero for the final time. Guerrero was floored twice earlier.

Brad Soloman (22-0, 6 Kos) used speed and movement to out-point Arven Ovsepyan (14-4, 11 Kos) after eight rounds of a welterweight contest. It was a very low punching contest that saw the fans boo heartily because of the inaction. All three judges scored it for Soloman.

Zach Wohlman (8-1-1) of L.A. won a four round welterweight contest over Utah’s Eddie Cordova (4-8-1) by unanimous decision.