Well there is one sure bet in boxing, and that is when anybody named Marquez is fighting an opponent for a second time or more, it is guaranteed to be a great fight.
Last month, it was Rafael Marquez losing a close decision to Israel Vazquez in their rubber match. This past week was bigger brother Juan Manuel losing a razor-close decision to Manny Pacquiao at Mandalay Bay here in Las Vegas in their 4-year awaited rematch.
Both Marquez boys fought great and gallantly, but both did lose, in my opinion. I had Manny winning by one point 114-113. It came down to the last round on my score card and Manny sucked it up and won the round. It was a better fight than their first one back in 2004 as both fighters did a better job of executing their fight plan, and making adjustments during the fight.
For Marquez, who got off to the disastrous start in the first fight getting knocked down three times in round one, he was careful not to dig that huge hole early and I actually had him winning a very close first round. Marquez was picking up where he left off in their first fight, out boxing and out thinking Manny until Pacman landed a very fast, short left hook that floored Juan Manuel in round three. Manny tried to finish Marquez, who was in trouble, but Marquez toughed it out and Manny ran out of time.
From that point on, it was about as ebb and flow as it gets. Marquez cut and hurt Manny in round 8, and it appeared for just a moment that Pacquiao might want out of the Mandalay Bay ring, even Freddy Roach said so afterwards. But Manny showed there is toughness to go along with all that talent, he came back and won most of the remaining rounds, most importantly round twelve.
There was controversy created afterwards by the Marquez camp, but there should have been none. These two fights between these two very skilled fighters came down to this, one fighter, Marquez went down four times in the two fights, the other fighter Pacquiao never tasted the canvas.
Will they fight again? Well how about this for late this year or early 2009, a double main event featuring Juan Manuel vs Manny 3, and Rafael vs Vazquez 4? Wow. Manny will now move up in weight and campaign as a lightweight. We’ll see if Juan Manuel follows.
Speaking of lightweights, this weekend I feel an excellent boxing career will come to and end, or at least should come to an end when former Olympic Gold Medalist and consummate veteran Joel Casamayor defends his Lightweight Title in Cabazon, California, (wherever the heck that is!) against unbeaten all out action slugger Michael Katsidis 23-0 (20kos) of Australia.
Joel captured the Gold in the Bantamweight Division at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, (by the way he defeated another former world champion Wayne McCullough at those games en route to the Gold). He turned pro in 1996 and has captured World Championships as a Super Featherweight and Lightweight. He has also fought and beaten guys like Diego Corrales, Nate Campbell, and Roberto Garcia. He lost some close decisions to former world title holders Jose Luis Castillo and Acelino Freitas, and has really been an excellent pro with his great skills working off his southpaw style. His best attribute really has been his reflexes, which now have eroded at age 36. He also has been known to party harty over the years.
Casamayor 35-3-1 (21kos) was given a gift in his last fight against Jose Santa Cruz in November of last year. In Katsidis, he takes on a young 27-year old tiger, who we last saw winning an exciting bloody unanimous decision over Czar Amonsot in July of last year here in Vegas. This one is the classic case of the once great veteran taking on a fighter that a few years back would have not been able to hit him. Well now, he not only gets hit, but loses to Katsidis and Casamayor will have to use all of his ring guile to perhaps survive, especially considering the way he looked in his last outing. Still it is worth watching to see the once great against a fun youngster who gives it all the way from bell to bell. Enjoy!