On November 27th, HBO will televise the world lightweight championship encounter as Michael “The Great” Katsidis challenges a living legend, WBA/WBO champion Juan Manuel Marquez. If Katsidis wins, he will have dethroned the top dog of the division and thoroughly shake up a talent-rich lightweight class in the process. A victory for Marquez, on the other hand, confirms his status and perhaps sets up a high-profile entry into the 140 lbs. ranks.
Michael Katsidis (27-2, 22 KOs)
30 years old, 5’7″ tall, 66″ reach
Katsidis is an all-action puncher. Although he is a legitimate contender, at age 30 Katsidis has yet to grasp the brass ring. In his first stab at the big time, he was knocked out in a see-saw battle with Joel Casamayor (in what turned out to be the Cuban’s last big win). In his second try, he was out-fought and bloodied by Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz. He has since been on the comeback trail, including a win that saw a past-his-best Jesus Chavez quit on his stool and a knockout of untried-but-undefeated Kevin Mitchell.
Marquez vs. Katsidis Preview
Juan Manuel Marquez (51-5-1 with 37 KOs)
37 years old, 5’7″ tall, 67″ reach
Former featherweight and super featherweight champion, current WBA/WBO Lightweight Champion
Marquez needs little introduction to fight fans. He is one of the great counter-punchers in the game today, arguably the best active fighter from Mexico, and the one-time arch-rival of Manny Pacquiao. Marquez is also the kingpin at lightweight. His recent loss to a much bigger Floyd Mayweather was certainly no disgrace, and while Marquez shows signs of slowing down, he shows no signs of actually “becoming old.” His combination of skills, ring savvy and hitting power represent a truly formidable combination for any boxer in the 130, 135 or 140 lbs. divisions.
Marquez vs. Katsidis Prediction & Analysis
In July, Marquez showed everyone that age hasn’t diminished his prowess by winning a rematch over Juan Diaz, and improving on his performance in the process. “Dinamita” busted up “Baby Bull” on his way to a huge points win, and “Baby Bull” was the guy who out-macho’ed Katsidis in 2008. Although Katsidis has heavier hands than Diaz (who is a swarmer rather than a puncher), Marquez is a heavy favorite in this encounter.
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Michael Katsidis is a warrior and has some grit, and it is easy to imagine his assault scoring points and bagging a few rounds early in the fight. However, he has showed us nothing new in his comeback, with the two noted wins being over a tough-yet-shopworn Chavez and an undefeated-but-untested Mitchell. A man who can defuse the assault of Manny Pacquiao will certainly be able to blunt the attack of Katsidis. Once Marquez figures the Australian out, he will turn the tables on him, take control of the fight, and put the man down.
Prediction: Juan Manuel Marquez TKO10