Fight Pick & Preview – Marquez vs. Alvarado:
On May 17 at the Inglewood Forum, Juan Manuel Marquez takes on Mike Alvarado in a pivotal 12-round welterweight bout. Each fighter is coming off a loss, with Alvarado losing to Ruslan Provodnikov and Marquez losing to Timothy Bradley. The winner of this fight stays relevant on the big stage, moving onto face the winner of the Manny Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, while the loser faces a major career crisis.
Juan Manuel Marquez, 55-7-1 (40 KOs), Mexico City, Mexico
Mike Alvarado, 34-2 (23 KOs), Denver, Colorado
- Date: May 17, 2014
- Site: Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California
- Weight Class: Welterweights: 12 Rounds
The venue is of some significance, especially to Marquez. He made his bones at the Forum, first exposed to a large audience in the 90’s on those old Prime Ticket telecasts. This is when fans of the Southland first saw this great young Mexican featherweight who looked like a lock for future championship owners.
Now he returns as a 40-year old welterweight and one shouldn’t expect the significance to be lost on him. But it means a lot for Rudy Hernandez too, the trainer of Mike Alvarado. Rudy won a tournament at the Forum in the 70’s, using the money to pay for the surgery of a relative. He also saw his brother, esteemed former titleholder Genaro, have a lot of shining moments at the Forum.
Alvarado took a brutal pounding in his last fight against Ruslan Provodnikov–a ten round drubbing where Alvarado really got the fight knocked out of him. To see a never-say-die warrior like Alvarado basically quit attests not to his lack of heart, but that magnitude of the pounding. To make Alvarado quit is no easy task. You hear about some of his troubles outside the ring, with him allegedly dumping an SUV into a lake, and you have to wonder.
Alvarado, 33, is 7 years younger than Marquez, but what does he have left? Not that Marquez is out of the woods in that department, but Alvarado’s demise may be steeper. He is one of those face-first warriors that sometimes comes along whose ascension to the top accompanies an overall downturn in his ability. That is hardly something that has been confirmed yet and he is fighting a guy in Marquez who is past his best, but it’s only fair to question where “Mile High” Mike stands in the big picture at this point.
For however old Marquez is and how much mileage he has accrued on his odometer, it still takes an elite-level fighter to beat him. In his last fight against Timothy Bradley, he lost fair-and-square. Still, Bradley is an elite guy and Marquez didn’t come that far from winning, with the fight perhaps a tad closer than some people thought. And that may have been an off-night for Marquez. On a different night, he may have won. The question is whether Alvarado can compete on this level.
I don’t like the post-Pacquiao plan for Marquez. He scored the best win of his career and it was probably a good time to hang ‘em up for good. Fighting Bradley and losing and now taking on Alvarado seems like sort of an aimless exit strategy. Whereas Bradley may have been a particularly bad choice in opponent, Team Marquez may have gotten it right with Alvarado–a fighter of high standing, but one who is maybe on the downslide and a favorable matchup stylistically for the old Mexican technician.
With Marquez being the counterpunching genius, an aggressive and somewhat one-dimensional brawler like Alvarado may be just what the doctor ordered. Sure, Alvarado showed flashes of a new dimension in his bouts with Rios, as he sometimes boxed with a certain level of effectiveness. But against a chess master like Marquez, he will likely be forced into the role of aggressor. And while he has thrived in that role for much of his career and may still be a handful, it will likely feed right into Marquez’ hands.
Against Bradley, Marquez may have been suffering from a boxer’s version of Super Bowl Hangover following his knockout of Manny Pacquiao. A loss here really takes a ton of steam out of his career. If he loses, a fight with Pacquiao where he would have only a fraction of the bargaining power he would have held last year would be his only option. He really needs this and one should expect him to be sharp.
Marquez vs. Alvarado Prediction
It feels strange to say a 40-year old coming off a loss is catching his opponent at the right time, but that might just be the case. I’m not even sure how much you could fancy Alvarado’s chances if he is still at his best. Nevertheless, Marquez thrives against this kind of opponent. At this point in both men’s careers, Marquez should still have enough boxing skills and reflexes to repel the likes of Alvarado.
I look for a competitive first few rounds to break out into a Marquez-controlled battle fairly soon. With Marquez eager to impress, he will step on the gas late, with Alvarado’s countenance showing the effects. After dropping a bloody Alvarado with a right in the 9th, Alvarado will keep his foot on the gas and finish Alvarado in round ten.
Prediction: Juan Manuel Marquez by 10th round TKO.