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Happy 43rd birthday Juan Manuel Marquez – Juan Manuel Márquez (born August 23, 1973) has the perfect nickname of “Dinamita.” He is best known as being an elite counterpuncher but he also had amazing power – as evidenced in not only his professional record of 56-7-1 with 40 knockouts but also in his amateur record of 82-4 with 72 knockouts.  Marquez is only the third Mexican-born boxer along with Erik Morales and Jorge Arce to win world titles in four different weight divisions.  He is no doubt one of the greatest Mexican boxers of all time.

Marquez is one of the very few elite boxers to start out his professional career with a loss via disqualification (to Javier Duran on May 29, 1993). He then promptly went undefeated for six years, chalking up a 29–1 record until he won his first title – a regional one (WBO NABO) in 1997.  He would defend it seven times and was WBO world featherweight champion Naseem Hamed’s mandatory challenger for almost two straight years.

Marquez had his first world title opportunity (after being hailed as the best fighter without a world title) against Freddie Norwood in September of 1999 for the WBA featherweight title and lost via controversial unanimous decision.  It wasn’t until January of 2003 that he would receive another world title opportunity.  This time Márquez wouldn’t let it go to the cards and stopped former four-time featherweight champion Manuel Medina in the seventh round to capture the IBF featherweight title.

In May 2004, Marquez fought lineal & The Ring featherweight champion Manny Pacquiao for the first of a legendary four fight series that boxing fans will never forget, with Marquez and Pacquiao being one another’s greatest rivals.  In the first fight Marquez went down three times in the first round but got himself up off the canvas in amazing fashion to outbox Pacquiao for the remainder of the bout.  The fight ended in a controversial, split-decision draw. The final scores were 115–110 for Marquez, 115–110 for Pacquiao and 113–113 even. Judge Burt A. Clements, who scored the bout 113–113, later admitted to making an error on the scorecards as he scored the first round 10–7 in favor of Pacquiao instead of the standard 10–6 for a three-knockdown round.  Had he scored it correctly the fight would have been ruled for Pacquiao by that single point.

In March of 2007 Marquez became the WBC super featherweight champion by defeating fellow Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera via unanimous decision in Las Vegas before facing his legendary rival Manny Pacquiao for their rematch.  This rematch took place in March of 2008 and would end in controversial fashion just like the first fight.  It was an excellent chess match between boxer vs puncher with Marquez hitting the canvas in the second round and once again the knockdown was the difference in the fight as Marquez lost the split decision.

Marquez was looking to fight Pacquiao again and some say he chased the challenge up in weight class as Pacquiao rose up in weight as well.  Marquez would take on The Ring lightweight champion Joel Casamayor in September of 2008 and stop the Cuban in the eleventh round after two knockdowns.  This would make Marquez the number one lightweight in the world and he then took on Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz in what would become the fight of the year for 2009.  In that fight Diaz rushed Marquez early, trapping him on the ropes and in corners while trying to take the veteran out in a fiery blaze.  Marquez would not go anywhere though and took control by opening a cut above Diaz’s right eye and then wearing him down until he knocked him out in emphatic fashion in the ninth round.

Marquez’s next big test was Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he moved up to the welterweight division in September of 2009 to fight the undefeated pound for pound champion.  The fight turned out to be the mismatch that the public anticipated due to the size difference between the two fighters as Mayweather won the fight by unanimous decision.  The fight did sell over one million pay-per-views, however, and was also the first fight to sell more than one million pay-per-views without featuring Oscar De La Hoya. Two months later Marquez’s true rival Manny Pacquiao would sell a slightly larger figure vs. Miguel Cotto.

Marquez would return to action after the Mayweather loss back at lightweight in 2010, where he was more comfortable.  His first fight back was a rematch of his fight of the year against Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz.  In the rematch Marquez easily outboxed Diaz, who didn’t seem to have the same fire in his belly that he had in the first bout.

Marquez would get a third fight against his rival Manny Pacquiao in 2011 – once again rising to welterweight as he chased the now pay-per-view star.  The third fight was yet another controversial ending as Marquez lost a majority decision in a highly tactical fight.  The next year, in 2012, the two fighters would have their fourth and final bout with Marquez coming back from an early deficit to score a knockout for the ages that left Pacquiao on the canvas unconscious.  Once again Marquez was not only in a fight of the year but won it.

Marquez’s final two fights would be a unanimous decision loss to the undefeated Timothy Bradley in 2013 and then an impressive unanimous decision win over Mike “Mile High” Alvarado in 2014.  As of right now Marquez is still retired, but who knows if the Mexican legend will again enter the ring one more time yet to show the Dinamita in his fists. Happy 43rd Birthday Juan Manuel Marquez.

Happy 43rd Birthday Juan Manuel Marquez

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