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With all hurdles cleared, Juan Manuel Marquez
finally gets his third dance with Pacquiao

  Juan Manuel Marquez wanted a tune-up. He didn’t even get an oil change.


Despite all the risks involved with a tune-up fight, Marquez insisted that he take on Likar Ramos Saturday night in an effort to prepare for a fall showdown with Pacquiao. One thing was very certain after the fight: The risk was not nearly what we thought it would be.


   Ramos offered no resistance whatsoever and Marquez drilled him into snoozeville with a straight right hand, ending the fight in the first round. It was the Mexican legend’s first round-one stoppage in 10 years.


  Marquez can now set his sights on Pacman, whom he’ll face on November 12th, nearly four years after their last encounter. The results of the first two fights were hotly disputed. They battled to a draw in the first fight, with Pacquiao winning a razor-thin decision in the second. No matter how you scored either fight, the fact is that they were both damn close. In fact, the draw and the extremely close loss on Marquez’ record against Manny might be bigger for Marquez than most of his wins, as no one else has even been remotely competitive with the Filipino in six years.


   In the three and a half years since their last fight, Pacquiao has become the stuff of legend, effortlessly jumping weight classes and pounding on everyone, while Marquez has remained a wrecking ball of a lightweight, trading bombs and eventually breaking younger men down while holding the Ring Magazine lightweight championship belt.


Marquez has been asking for another fight since the second the cards were read on March 15th, 2008. Now he’ll finally get that third fight, but he may realize soon after the bell rings that things are a bit different this time around. It isn’t so much that Pacquiao has improved, though his boxing skills are at an all-time peak, as much as Marquez himself has changed as a fighter.


   That isn’t to say that he’s slowed down, though he is getting hit much more frequently than he used to, but that he is no longer the counterpunching strategist that used footwork and timing to make Pacquiao look human. He’s become a stalking, power punching banger who is more than happy to stand toe-to-toe and slug it out until someone is drilled. It makes for action packed, thrilling fights, but it also begs the question, how can a guy who is now a slugger take on a fighter who has shredded everything in front of him for years?


  Marquez is a highly intelligent fighter, (urine drinking aside) but even an idiot knows you cannot stand and trade with Manny and expect to come out okay. Margarito knew this too, but when you only fight one way, it’s hard to suddenly turn into Pernell Whitaker. Marquez will need to utilize every bit of counterpunching skill he has.


  Besides, in the 24 rounds they’ve faced each other, Marquez has tagged Manny more than a few times, but never really hurt him, while Marquez has been down a total of four times from Pacquiao left hands. He was seriously hurt in their second fight. He probably would have been stopped had it not been the end of the round when he went down, although Marquez does seem to possess the recuperative powers of Hulk Hogan on PCP.


  How else could you explain Marquez getting absolutely rocked and dropped by Michael “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT???” Katsidis, only to come back just seconds later and not only throw punches, but take over the round? He’s a machine, but the guy he’ll be facing? So is he.


Juan Manuel Marquez will be 38 years old when Pacquiao/Marquez 3 takes place. While it’s not impossible for him to win the fight, he couldn’t get the win in his prime. Beating Pacquiao now, at 38, at a weight class several pounds higher than he’s used to, is asking a great deal. And what of the weight, at 144, where the fight will be at? He looked dreadful in his only other fight at that weight, against Floyd Mayweather.


  Of course, he doesn’t have to come in at 144, he could come in lighter, but how much lighter does he want to be than Pacquiao? Frankly, 135 always seemed like a stretch for him, though he’s so good that he keeps on defending his title there. Can he hang in there when guys like Cotto, Mosley, Margarito, and Clottey couldn’t?


The Mexican warrior has always felt that he won both fights against Pacquiao. He’ll never be convinced otherwise. At the very least, he’s gone dead even with him twice, so it’s quite possible that he’ll make it very interesting again, but unlikely that he’ll win. Chances are that he’ll go into the history books not only as one of the greatest Mexican fighters of all time, but a guy who was very nearly as good as Manny Pacquiao. A fighter should be so lucky.



More columns
by Lou Catalano

Zab Judah takes one last shot at glory

Dannie Williams plans to bash his way to the top

Rios, Antillon remind us how the sport should look

Sugarless: Can a faded Mosley shock boxing?

Nobody is safe: Marquez latest victim of crazy 2011

Enough is rarely enough for proud fighters like Morales

Lucian Bute might be the best of the super middleweights

Kelly Pavlik re-emerges

Leow, Pavlik ready to make a run at 168







Image by FlamingText.com

Lou Catalano was born in Buffalo, NY. 

He graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a bachelors degree in English.


He is a Bills and Sabres fan, born and raised, and fell in love with boxing as a teenager

after watching Roy Jones wail on poor Vinny Paz.


Lou currently lives outside of Buffalo

with his wife and two sons, and his hobbies include playing sports (Madden and NHL included) and hainging out wiht family and friends.

CLICK HERE to contact Lou Catalano


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