By Geoffrey Ciani: Juan Manuel Marquez made a strong claim that he deserves a rematch with Manny Pacquiao rematch by knocking out Jimrex Jaca in the ninth round of their scheduled twelve rounder. With victory, Marquez successfully defended the WBO interim featherweight crown, and he did so with more flare and drama than is typical of his fighting style. In fact, most people expected this to be a slow affair between two tactical boxers. Instead, it wound up being an entertaining little scrap with both fighters still exhibiting the outstanding boxing fundamentals which have defined their careers.
From the opening bell, things started off a bit quicker than most expected, with Marquez fighting more aggressively than usual. It was a close and exciting first round that set the pace for the rest of the fight. After a slower, but equally close, second round, Marquez began taking control of the fight. His superior ring generalship and combination punching were on display and he was clearly landing the crisper punches.
In round five, an accidental clash of heads caused a large cut over the eye of Marquez. It was a bad cut which bled profusely, but luckily for Marquez, it was located just above the eye and it didn’t seem to obstruct his vision. It did, however, bring reason for concern, as Marquez began intensifying his attack, and, over the next few rounds Juan Manuel Marquez continued to land the cleaner shots. For his part, Jaca was fighting well and showing heart, but it seemed as though his punches were having no effect on Marquez.
The eighth round saw another accidental clash of heads that intensified the blood-flow from Maruez’s cut, which was getting progressively bigger. In a most unusual moment, it appeared that referee, Laurence Cole, told Marquez that he was “ahead on the scorecards” when the doctor re-examined the cut after the second clash of heads. It’s difficult to discern whether or not those were the actual words of the referee (who perhaps was just explaining that if the fight was stopped due to an accidental head butt, he could stillwin “if he was ahead on the scorecards”). Regardless, Marquez was determined to fight on, and he once again stepped-up his attack.
Marquez would eventually end things in round nine, when he landed a short combination of punches that was capped off by a clubbing left hook. The punch sent Jaca crashing down to the canvas, and there he remained, sitting near the ropes and looking rather confused and glazy-eyed. It was an impressive win for Marquez, and one which should propel him into a big fight sometime soon.
The question is, did this fight do enough to earn him a rematch with Pacquiao? While the victory was impressive, and Marquez might very well have the best chance at beating Pacquiao, I think the ball is still in the court of Marco Antonio Barrera. Meaning, if Barrera wants the Pacquiao rematch, then he’s the one who’s going to get it. After all, Barrera has the bigger name, and a Barrera-Pacquiao rematch would generate much more interest than a Marquez-Pacquiao rematch.
Which reminds me, Max Kellerman was factually incorrect when he twice claimed that “Barrera was blitzed in five rounds” by Pacquiao. In fact, Barrera was stopped by Pacquiao in the eleventh round when he was still bravely giving it all he had in a fight during which he suffered a tremendous beating. I’m not sure whether Kellerman actually saw the fight, or whether he has an awful memory, but as an HBO commentator, he ought to study up on his facts before making erroneous claims with such enthusiasm. The fact is, regardless of Kelleman’s opinion (which is seemingly based on falsehoods), a Barrera-Pacquiao rematch is still a bigger prize fight, any way you slice it.
Perhaps, though, I’m getting ahead of myself with my assumption that either Barrera or Marquez will be taking on Pacquiao next. It’s also still possible that Barrera and Marquez may well square off against each other, and that’s a fight that should prove most entertaining. A long overdue showdown between these two Mexican pugilists would be welcome.
This article was also published at East Side Boxing