Segura-Marquez promises as much as it is possible for a fight to promise. It would be astonishing if it failed to deliver…
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”—Sun Tzu
“F*ck you Sun Tzu.”—Me
It is highly likely that the fight of the year is to be fought this weekend in the Centro de Usos Multiples, Sonora, Mexico when flyweights Giovani “The Aztec Warrior” Segura (30-3-1) and Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (36-3) quite literally collide to decide who is to be named the most homicidal fighter in boxing. No more brutal meeting can be made in fights today.
Segura, ranked at #10 by the Transnational Boxing Board, appeared to be on his way out when he lost a close decision to Edgar Sosa this summer after having dropped a brutal knockout loss to former pound-for-pounder Brian Viloria late in 2012, but he came storming back with a savage beating of top prospect Jonathan Gonzalez. As I wrote in coverage for this site, Segura heaved in “massive, scything right hands”, turning in a rabid pressure performance that saw him topple Gonzalez on his home soil, bringing the one-time pound-for-pounder back from the brink of boxing oblivion and once more into the mix.
Segura has made a habit of seeking difficult tests and despite his thirty-one years (remember, flyweights, like cats, calculate their true age in a multiple of their real age) somehow remains one of the busiest fighters in all of boxing. He laces them up for the fourth time in 2013 this Saturday, but do not expect to see ringwear. Whilst many continue to insist that Bernard Hopkins embodies the spirit of boxing’s glory days despite all evidence to the contrary, Segura has fought on with the legitimacy of a real throwback, fighting often, hard, and with his mouth firmly shut. The beneficiaries have been the fans, or those who have been paying attention, because Segura, win, lose, or draw, is rarely in a bad fight.
Hernan Marquez, who is ranked number six and has stopped twenty-six of his thirty-nine opponents, is stepping back into the bullring having tired of the comeback trail he was forced onto by the destructive beating lain upon him by Segura conqueror Brian Viloria. An unpleasant detour, it nevertheless bought Marquez one of the most beautiful knockouts of the year as he dropped journeyman Edgar Jimenez with a picture-perfect left-hand straight-counter (like Segura, Marquez is a southpaw). Throughout the fight he swept in a combination of compact and winging punches that makes him amongst the most dangerous fighters in the world when in full flow. Next for him was the insanely tough Carlos Tamara (stopped only once, on a cut), who somehow hung in there with the rampant “Little Tyson” despite shipping enough punches to have stopped a dozen fighters and despite his losing every single round on my scorecard. Perhaps less visible than Segura’s rehabilitation, which was completed at the expense of one of boxing’s hottest up-and-comers, Marquez was once again ready for what shamefully passes as marquee at flyweight.
And so these men have found one another.
It would be foolish to promise George Foreman-Ron Lyle, the heavyweight slugfest now legendary in even the most canonized of heavyweight eras, the 1970s, because those fights materialize rather than coagulate, but Segura-Marquez promises as much as it is possible for a fight to promise. It would be astonishing if it failed to deliver.
“We both have power, we like to exchange,” said Marquez at this week’s press conference. “The fight may be long but it won’t come to a decision, and there will be a knockout.”
All of this seems almost inarguable. Both of these men have demonstrated their durability, most recently against the same man, Viloria, who swept each of them before him with box-punching aggression that was slightly but definitively of the class above the one these men inhabit. He had to sit down on what was one of boxing’s best offenses to break them though, each of them drawing concrete from a well of reserves blood-and-guts warriors need to ply their dark trade.
Of the two, Segura is the more reckless, and so the more vulnerable, but that recklessness makes him dangerous. There is no more insistent pressure-fighter in the game today, and were he 147 lbs. instead of 112, the clamor for him to match Mayweather and Pacquiao would have made him a multimillionaire. Segura hits from his boots, he wings in punches, and each and every blow he throws has the meanest of intentions witheringly wrought in every physical fiber. He is the type of fighter that hurts opponents with glancing blows to the shoulder and the type of man that cannot be discouraged by suffering. Insistent and probing, his footwork and pressure is a cut above his punching in terms of technical excellence leading to one of the most disturbing stalking offenses in boxing. He’s tough to escape, hard to discourage and easy to hit. Segura could probably appear in a fight of the year contender without an opponent.
In Marquez, he has a dance partner that could have been made for him. Marquez, on paper, is superior even to the primed Segura who stormed the pound-for-pound battlements with back-to-back wins over Ivan Calderon. He has layers to his generalship that includes the ability to control the tempo of a fight with excellent footwork, backfoot-boxing that allows him to pick the spots for his glorious offense and a superb engine. He is hampered by his inability to establish a jab that in and of itself is a very fine weapon but one that he struggles to use as a controlling one. Here we have another mirror that catches the light and dazzles, reflecting, as it does, onto Segura’s probing footwork and threshing offense. Segura can be controlled by exactly the straight punching that Marquez generally fails to deploy in a shepherding way. It was why Viloria was able to just walk up and box him; it was why Sosa was able to decision him. Now, Segura may find his path to ground zero unfettered. Nuclear exchanges seem likely.
A prediction, beyond that, seems rather redundant. Ironically, in what is likely to be the most competitive of fights, it is the taking part that will count, at least from the point of view of the spectators. Speculating, I would guess that Segura will establish a frightening rhythm that sees him pick up some early rounds on the cards as his pressure gets him to where he wants to be, working Marquez over with hard punches to the body and clubbing shots to the head. Denied his overall fluidity on offense, Marquez will nevertheless start to take his toll on a smoking opponent that is just too much there to be hit to continue to burn at the necessary temperature to smoke the younger man out or burn him down. Marquez begins to establish himself; Segura’s offense at some point in the mid-late rounds will become desperate. At that point, all laws of boxing physics break down. There are some things the mind’s eye can’t see. I do remember, however, Marquez’s fifth round against Viloria, where he seemed, as I intimated in my coverage for Boxing.com, close to getting what would have been a questionable stoppage. I also remember the guile and skill that Viloria showed, perched on the ropes, stabbing at and riding the wind, to avoid such an ignominious fate. Segura does not have those qualities. He is less learned and more elemental. Blasting back is how he handles things.
So, I suppose, with the proverbial gun to my head I have picked Marquez. But look, this fight isn’t about a winner and a loser; it’s about you not missing it. Two Mexicans. Two southpaws. Two punchers. Two careers very much on the line. This fight could be anything from a dirty raw scrap to the kind of fight that makes you wonder why you watch boxing, such is the savagery displayed.
But, baring the disaster of head-clashes or hurricanes, what it won’t be is a disappointment. So spread the word. There will likely be no more vivid demonstration this year of Sun Tzu’s maxim that the possibility of victory on the battlefield is defined entirely by the quality of the warlord’s offense.