His Master’s Voice: Marquez Silences Alvarado

By Robert Ecksel on May 17, 2014
His Master’s Voice: Marquez Silences Alvarado
We now know exactly how much Juan Manuel Marquez has left. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Money talks, and big money talks loudest of all, and there’s no bigger money for Marquez than a fifth fight with Manny Pacquiao…

Saturday night at the newly refurbished Forum in Inglewood, California, Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) decisioned Mike “Mile High” Alvarado (34-3, 23 KOs) by scores of 117-109 (twice) and 109-108 after 12 rounds of action.

Those who wondered what Marquez has left can stop wondering now. The Mexican Master put on an exemplary display of boxing skill, using power, speed, angles, and a Mensa-level ring IQ to defeat an opponent who was more competitive than the final scores suggest.

There’s never been a fight where the fighters didn’t have something to prove and this fight was no different. Both fighters were coming off losses, Marquez to Timothy Bradley and Alvarado to Ruslan Provodnikov, both in October of last year. But tonight they were fighting for the WBO #1 ranking at welterweight, with the winner next in line for a shot at the WBO champion, Manny Pacquiao.

That, ultimately, was what was at stake at the Forum.

Things started slowly with both men sizing each other up. While Marquez was throwing but not landing, Alvarado was fighting out of a shell and didn’t let his hands go for the first minute of the fight. Dinamita began touching Alvarado about halfway through the first. He landed a combination followed by a lead right. Another right was countered by a right by Alvarado. The Man from Mexico City landed 12 of 41 punches thrown in round one to Alvarado’s 6 of 19.

Alvarado picked up the pace in the second. Bigger and stronger than Marquez, he landed a left hook followed by a thudding jab. He was also boxing well. But unfortunately for Alvarado, nobody boxes as well as Marquez. He began outworking, out-timing, and out-thinking the man opposite him, effectively mixing his punches upstairs and down.

Round three was all Marquez. The counterpuncher was counterpunching whenever Alvarado initiated. He was landing lefts and rights in multiple combinations while Alvarado was swinging for the fences. Marquez the defensive wizard was also hard at work. When Alvarado wasn’t connecting, he was missing and missing badly as the eagle-eyed Marquez was on top of his game. The two fighters traded hooks at the bell to end the third. Marquez landed 20 of 52 to Alvarado’s 12 of 34.

Alvarado started the fourth with his right eye beginning to swell. He was still trying to outbox Marquez, who was putting on a counterpunching clinic, firing off combinations to the body and head seemingly at will. Mike needed to get inside if he wanted to go to war, but whenever he got close he got strafed with machine-gun fire.

After four rounds, Dinamita had landed 80 of 198 punches to Mile High’s 45 of 143. The Mexican hurler was pitching a shutout.

There was plenty of action in round five. Alvarado turned up the heat, but he was in the ring with one of boxing’s masters and he knew it. Watching Marquez work is always an education. He’s so composed, he’s so in control of his emotions that he’s in many ways a textbook fighter for aspiring pugilists to study. Rights, lefts, jabs, hooks, uppercuts, doubling and tripling up on his punches, it sometimes looked as if Marquez couldn’t miss. Not many picked Alvarado to win the fight, but the fistic professor was taking him to school.

In the fifth round Marquez landed 41 of 85 punches to Alvarado’s 19 of 63. It wasn’t a romp, but no one could mistake it for a competitive fight, at least not yet.

Things weren’t much different in round six. Alvarado had his moments, but Marquez had more of them. Alvarado pressured Marquez. Marquez, however, is used to pressure and fired off blistering combinations to bring Alvarado’s forward momentum to a halt. Even though Alvarado hadn’t won a round, including this one, there was a sense that he was beginning to find his way as the bell sounded to end the sixth.

Between rounds Alvarado’s cornerman like what he had seen. “He can’t hang with you when you do that. He can’t hang with you. You’re the young man. You’re not going to get caught with a single shot.”

Marquez landed a little less than 50 percent of his punches in the seventh. Alvarado was doing his damnedest to make the fight, but Marquez was clearly the superior boxer. Whatever Alvarado could do Marquez could do better, with infinitely more style and aplomb. It was a one-sided fight, but it was a fight, and of course it ain’t over until it’s over.

Alvarado’s corner was a little less pleased this time: “You’ve got to let your hands go. If you get hit, you get hit. He’s not going to knock you out. Beat this old man up!

Mile High Mike was going for broke in round eight. Even though Marquez has one of the best chins in the biz, having never been knocked out, Alvarado’s only hope was to drop the Mexican into dreamland, which is somewhat easier said than done. Marquez was in control of the fight and wasn’t about to relinquish control without a fight. With just 10 seconds remaining in the round, Dinamita exploded a counter right on Alvarado that put him down for a count of eight. He was on his feet at the bell and time was on his side, but he was hurt and hurt bad.

Between rounds the ref or ringside physician asked Alvarado, “Do you know where you are? Do you know where you are?” He didn’t say “I’m in the Forum getting a whupping,” but whatever he said it was enough for the fight to continue.

Less than a minute into round nine, Alvarado returned the favor and dropped Marquez. He was up at once and resumed fighting, but the tide had turned, if only for a moment. Alvarado smelled blood; it may have been his own as he had a nasty gash above his left cheek. The two fighters were going at it at the bell.

Marquez landed 26 of 63 of 44 percent of his punches in the ninth. Alvarado, with his best round of the night, landed 22 of 54 or 41 percent.

But Marquez wasn’t finished. He landed a three-punch combination to start round 10. Alvarado, perhaps gassed from the previous round’s exertions, kept his distance. Juan Manuel caught him with a right. Alvarado reciprocated with a right of his own. Marquez connected with a beautiful lead left hook-straight right combo and took the round.

Alvarado’s corner told him between rounds, “You know you need a knockout to win? Take a deep breath. He’s just hoping you leave him alone.”

Alvarado had no intention of leaving Marquez alone and the feeling was mutual. Marquez landed a four-punch combination to start the 11th. Alvarado connected with a double left hook. Marquez snuck in an uppercut, followed by two jabs, a right, and a shot to the belly. It looked like it was Marquez’s round—when Alvarado connected with a big right that shook Marquez. He wobbled and almost went down a second time.

That was about it for Alvarado. Marquez regained control of the fight in the 12th and final round and didn’t give an inch. Throwing combinations with precise bad intentions, he was able to do to Alvarado what he’d been doing to Alvarado for most of the fight. But Mile High Mike, even though he lost the fight, once again earned and deserves our respect. He almost pulled victory from the jaws of defeat, and his fighting spirit, his warrior soul, is intact.

Marquez hemmed and hawed during the post-fight interview about getting it on with Pacquiao again. They’ve fought four times already and the last fight, at least for Marquez, was as gratifying as a fight can be. But money talks, and big money talks loudest of all, and there’s no bigger money for Marquez than a fifth fight with Manny Pacquiao.

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Juan Manuel Marquez vs Mike Alvarado full fight 17.05.2014

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  1. Jason 06:03pm, 05/20/2014

    For all the PED talk on here, did anyone notice the acne on his chest, shoulders and back. Yeah, he’s a regular teenager, he is.

    Not saying JMM isn’t an all-time great. He is. I’m saying the PEDs are making him great for all the time he chooses to fight.

  2. Darrell 07:14pm, 05/18/2014

    PED’s?  Don’t think so…..JMM stopped bouncing on his toes the 2nd half of the fight.  You fight a guy who’s about two ticks faster than the snail Rios, you’re going to look like a speed merchant.

    A lesson on distance (outside, inside & mid-range) and punch timing from a consummate, experienced professional.

  3. George Thomas Clark 06:55pm, 05/18/2014

    Manny and Marquez have fought enough.  It’s time for them to quit recycling each other and take on Shawn Porter and Ruslan Provodnikov.  They do want Porter and Provodnikov, don’t they?  Mayweather wants them, too.  Right?

  4. Pete The Sneak 05:08pm, 05/18/2014

    Steven, I’m a huge Pac Man Fan and have always admired him…However, the Pac Man that was beating the Holy Shite of JMM till the ‘Hail Mary’ came no longer exists. The Pac Man you see before you today is now a smarter and more careful fighter who boxes beautifully going in and out and does not take the chances he did before that got him caught by Marquez. Do you honestly think Pac will fight JMM the same way and give Marquez those opportunities to counter him again? No. Pac will fight JMM similar to how he did Bradley and look for opportunities to out work and out speed JMM. Marquez will die in the ring? Come on dude, lets be real here and don’t let your Pac Man allegiance blind you with such inane banter….Peace.

  5. Steven 04:25pm, 05/18/2014

    Yeah, do V. This time Pac will finish what he started in IV. And any boxing expert that says he “destroyed” Pac is no expert. Pac beat the holy shit out of him until the hail Mary. JMM will not fight him. If I am wrong and he does he will die in the ring that night.  Alvarado was a punching bag ALA Rios last night. Too bad Alvarado isn’t as brain dead or as tough as Rios.

  6. andrew 03:19pm, 05/18/2014

    It’s always nice to see proof of how great PED’s are.

  7. luvbrothel 01:29pm, 05/18/2014

    Marquez has always been my favorite fighter, so last night eased the pain that someday Dinamita will retire.  Looked amazingly awesome, beating down a bigger, younger man with relative ease.  I like Alvarado, but clearly he’s nowhere near the league Marquez is in right now.

    A Provodnikov fight would be super sweet.  JMM has already destroyed Pacquiao,

  8. Thresher 11:51am, 05/18/2014

    Fun fight pero por favor, no mas Pac-Hombre vs. JMM.

  9. Eric 10:35am, 05/18/2014

    @Pete…JMM might want to wash those oysters down with a mixture of urine, beef blood ala Ray Robinson, and raw eggs ala Rocky. Raw eggs are child’s play, but if I had to choose between my own urine or beef blood, I’m definitely drinking the beef blood.

  10. Pete The Sneak 10:06am, 05/18/2014

    @Eric…You may have something there about JMM and those Raw Oysters. I think perhaps that, along with a warm cup of his own urine to wash those Oysters down may indeed be what’s doing the trick for Dynamita…Peace.

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:58am, 05/18/2014

    Roy Jones did a good job last for a change…...just maybe because he didn’t have a “dog” in the fight.

  12. Eric 09:51am, 05/18/2014

    Irish….Love oysters raw, fried, or in stew. Love any kind of shellfish, but really love oysters and crabs. Steamed crabs, crabcakes, stone crab, softshell crabs, etc., I need to start eating a dozen raw oysters a day because at 53, my “get up” and go ain’t what it was at 40, much less 20.

  13. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:40am, 05/18/2014

    More than that, the unGodly power in those 40 year old legs prevented what should have been a second knockdown for Mike….coming back up from the deepest of squats after receipting for a really sharp right hand shot right on the button was simply amazing….. regardless of his great skills, experience, heart and fighting spirit, all of which he has in great abundance. @ Eric-That’s where I’ve gone wrong….I’m all about oyster stew and fried oysters not so much raw oysters and eggs.

  14. Eric 08:56am, 05/18/2014

    JMM learned the secrets of raw oysters, nature’s finest form of testosterone. No more frijoles and arroz. Raw steaks and raw oysters are the secret.

  15. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:41am, 05/18/2014

    Let’s see now….he’s human…..he’s a 40-year-old male…..all the research indicates that unless he’s a freak of nature his cojones are secreting at least 10 % less testosterone than they did 10 years ago….yet he’s stronger with blazing hand speed and this is the kicker, the velocity and power in his overhand right has clearly increased (Mike was literally catapulted across and almost out of the ring by that shot). At this advanced age he’s obliterating bigger, stronger, younger fighters than the much smaller fighters he was KOing a decade ago….this is the guy that should have a book contract and I’m buying because by my calculations I’m down about a half tank of the testosterone I had a half century ago.

  16. Eric 08:18am, 05/18/2014

    JMM vs. Broner at the Forum. That environment would be as hostile as the Chavez vs. Haugen soiree in Mexico.

  17. Pete The Sneak 07:01am, 05/18/2014

    I tell you, for a 40-year-old fighter who has been In a ton of wars, Marquez still has pretty amazing hand speed. This was a really good scrap, although I thought Mile High Mike started off a bit too slow and didn’t let his hands go enough in many rounds. But yeah, Mike has a ton of heart and is always an exciting watch, though I don’t know how many more fights like this he can be in. As for Pac/Marquez 5, well yeah, Robert Ecksel said it all, there probably is no bigger fight for each fighter right now and Marquez’s hemming and hawing when he was asked about the possibility was his way of saying, let me see what kind of money they put on the table before I decide…Peace.

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