The big events in boxing usually involve two fighters coming off of big wins or in the midst of long winning streaks. This Saturday night, however, HBO will air a highly anticipated main event from the newly renovated and re-opened Forum in Los Angeles, California that features two fighters coming off of losses. Despite not being victorious in their last fights, Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1) being matched with Mike Alvarado (34-2) has fight fans very excited for an action fight.
There really is no reason not to be excited. After the early part of his career, not coincidentally occurring at the Forum, where he was criticized (especially by his Mexican countrymen) as a boring technical boxer, Marquez has been involved in terrific action fights for the past several years. While his four fight series with his great rival Manny Pacquiao is now legendary (including the fourth fight being named fight of the year for 2012), Marquez has also been involved in awesome television fights with Michael Katsidis, Juan Diaz (in the 2009 fight of the year) and Marco Antonio Barrera. For his part, Alvarado has always been known as an action fighter who always entertains. Alvarado’s last five fights have elevated him to another level in the minds of fight fans. Those fights included his come-from-behind last round knockout of Bredis Prescott in a fight where “Mile High” was bleeding badly, a brutal war of attrition with Mauricio Herrera, the stunningly violent two bouts with Brandon Rios and a courageous effort in a violent loss to Ruslan Provodnikov. In addition to the proclivity of Marquez and Alvarado to be in tremendous fights, their styles should mesh exceedingly well. Marquez is fantastic technician who is not blessed with great foot speed. This causes him to be in his opponent’s punching range which leads to a good mix of him exhibiting terrific defensive skills and him being hit. While a natural counterpuncher, Marquez is offensively minded and is not shy about leading. Alvarado mixes well with that style as he is an aggressive offensive fighter who comes forward but can also box a little bit behind a jab.
While looking at the description of their styles, it is fairly clear that Marquez is the more skilled fighter. He has also had success against the highest level of competition possible (including future Hall of Famers Pacquiao and Barrera while Alvarado’s best wins are against Herrera and Rios, good fighters but not recognized as being at the top level of the sport. That said, Marquez is the smaller fighter and Alvarado may be the largest fighter he has faced. Alvarado is also a very good puncher and Marquez has been dropped in numerous fights. It should be mentioned that JMM has got off the canvas many times to win.
In the end, this fight may come down to who has the most left. Marquez is now 40 years old and a veteran of 63 professional fights. While he was defensive early in his career, his recent fights have involved him taking significant punishment. In particular, the fights with Pacquiao were particularly brutal. Alvarado is only 33 and a 36 fight veteran but in “boxing years,” he is much older. In the five fights mentioned above, Alvarado took inordinate punishment. The blood loss in the Prescott fight and the knock out in the first Rios fight were bad enough but Provodnikov put a hellacious beating on Alvarado just seven months ago. Then there is Alvarado’s extracurricular activities which involve bar fights, car accidents and general mischief. That stuff does not extend boxing careers… it significantly shortens them.
That is probably why Marquez is the favorite (www.bet365.com lists Marquez at 4/11 and Alvarado at 2/1; www.bovada.lv has Marquez a more significant favorite at -280 and Alvarado at +220). Alvarado says he has cleaned up his act and his focused for this fight. You may believe him but, if you do, you probably believed Chris Arreola and that did not work out well last week. Marquez has the skills and the heart to go through whatever Alvarado brings… Marquez is the pick.
The undercard features fights with odds on them but nothing interesting. Viktor Postal (25-0) is a 2-1 favorite over Selcuk Aydin (26-2) in a junior welterweight bout. Aydin has not been impressive since coming to the United States and Postal has a very good win over Hank Lundy… Postal is the pick.
Author’s Record for the Year: 19-11 (Yeah, I bought into Arreola’s hype last week and it burned me).
Author’s Record for 2013: 70-24-6