'Dinamita' looks set to explode in Mexico City
One of Mexico's greatest ever fighters returns to the city of his birth when Juan Manuel ''Dinamita'' Marquez takes on Serhiy Fedchenko in a light welterweight bout at the New Mexico City Arena in Mexico City in the early hours of Sunday morning. Marquez, a world champion at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight, looked to have won a fourth world title and defeated his old rival Manny Pacquiao when the two battled for WBO welterweight title in Las Vegas last November.
The judges however awarded the majority decision to Pacquiao, though few at ringside and watching on TV around the world agreed with them. Marquez is now biding his time before a proposed mega-matchup against Brandon Rios, to take place in the summer at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas. Before that can happen, Marquez needs to take care of business on Saturday, and Ukrainian Fedchenko will be no pushover – he has lost just once in 31 bouts, and is currently ranked sixth at junior welterweight by the WBO.
38-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) is undoubtedly one of the most amazing fighters of recent years. The cliché of a sportsman "maturing like a fine wine" has never been more apt than when applied to Marquez, who seems to improve year upon year, with little if any erosion of his legendary durability, stamina and counterpunching skills. Even when he has taken a pounding in tough fights against the likes of Pacquiao, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis, he still fires back with sensational performances.
Approaching 20 years as a professional boxer, Marquez is one of the very few great fighters to actually lose his professional debut (Bernard Hopkins is another), losing on a first-round disqualification to Javier Duran in 1993. He would of course rebound from that minor setback spectacularly, losing just once (in his first world title shot against Freddie Norwood in 1999) in his next 13 years and 46 fights.
During that time he would win two versions of the featherweight world title and defeat quality fighters like Robbie Peden, Orlando Salido, Manuel Medina, Derrick Gainer and draw with Manny Pacquiao in a 2004 defence of his WBA and IBF featherweight belts.
In 2006 Marquez suffered a rare defeat at the hands of the exceptional Indonesian Chris John for the WBA featherweight title, a belt that the enigmatic John still holds today. By 2007 Marquez was a champion again, outpointing Marco Antonio Barrera in a hard fight for the WBC super featherweight crown. He lost that title in his second defence to Pacquiao in a sensational and controversial encounter in 2008.
By then Marquez was already 35, and many fight fans believed they had seen the best of him. As it now appears – he was just getting started!
Moving up to lightweight, he became the first man to stop the great Cuban Joel Casamayor, and then triumphed in a ferocious battle with Juan Diaz - a Texan ten years his junior – stopping Diaz in the ninth round to win the WBA and WBO lightweight belts.
He was widely outpointed by Floyd Mayweather in a bad clash of styles but a big payday in 2009, then bounced back with tremendous wins over Diaz in a rematch and an off-the canvas, come-from-behind KO over a rampaging Michael Katsidis in 2010.
Marquez was a massive underdog against Pacquiao when the two met for a third time last November, but as in their first two fights, the Mexican proved to be the perfect foil for the Filipino. Their third bout was more of a chess match than an all-out war, and at the end many believed that Marquez's clever counterpunching had won the fight. However the judges saw it differently, and awarded Pacquiao the verdict based on his superior aggression.
Marquez was devastated, and initially thought about retirement. Now he has decided that he has unfinished business in the ring, starting with Fedchenko on Saturday night.
31 year old Serhiy Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs) is an aggressive boxer who comes to fight. He lacks a KO wallop, a deficiency that will stop him from reaching the highest echelons of the light welterweight division. Fedchenko is durable however, as demonstrated in his only loss as a pro, a ten round points decision to the fearsome South African Kaizer Mabuza. He is also a skilled boxer, who apes Floyd Mayweather's moves. His career best win was over ex-WBO light welterweight champ DeMarcus ''Chop Chop'' Corley in November 2010.
Fedchenko picked up the WBO version of the European light welterweight title with a decision over the solid Frenchman Willie Blain last November, and in February he won an eight round decision over previously unbeaten Hungarian Lazlo Fazekas in Hamburg.
Fedchenko is most definitely a 'live' opponent for Marquez, and one that should provide him with a good workout, while not quite threatening him with defeat. I think the big difference between the two will be firepower, and I feel that the Ukrainian will start to feel the effect of Marquez's counter punches early on.
By the middle rounds Fedchenko will be taking a drubbing, and I see Marquez ending it in the eighth.
Marquez by TKO in eight.
Big Fight Odds: Juan Manuel Marquez 1/25, Serhiy Fedchenko 8/1 bet365