Lopez And Marquez Put On expected War, But What Now For Both Men?

By James Slater - In many ways, last night’s featherweight battle between defending WBO champ Juan Manuel Lopez and challenger Rafael Marquez played out as most people thought it would. The younger, fresher man prevailed in the end, but not before being given some hellish moments by the legend from Mexico.

Fans and experts felt 35-year-old former bantam and super-bantamweight king Marquez was past his best, though still far from shot, and that his previous wars, most notably the ones with Israel Vazquez, had taken a great deal out of him. Last night, in opting not to come out for the 9th-round against the Puerto Rican star, Marquez pretty much proved such thinking to be spot on..

A shoulder injury was given as the reason why Marquez was unable to come out for the 9th, but he had taken some real punishment in the previous couple of rounds. Had he been a few years younger, with less wear and tear on his still magnificently conditioned body, maybe Marquez would have gutted it out in those remaining four rounds.

Marquez even suggested as much after last night’s exciting rumble was over:

“If I hadn’t hurt my shoulder, it would have been an all-time great fight,” Marquez said post-fight. “I’d like a rematch.”

As it was, the fight at The MGM Grand was a darn good fight, if not the all-time great war the Mexican legend mentioned it could have been. But is there any chance we will see a part-two? Marquez claims he had hurt his shoulder BEFORE last night’s fight, but that after already postponing the Lopez fight once (due to a hand injury), he didn’t want to do so again. Who knows, maybe the shoulder injury was one he carried into the ring with him?

Lopez, who gave Marquez huge respect, saying the Mexican is “the best fighter I’ve ever fought,” also mentioned the possibility of a rematch, saying “He is a real champion. We enjoyed fighting each other so why not do it again?”

Talk before last night’s fight suggested the winner would perhaps go into battle with the eventual Yuriorkis Gamboa-Chris John winner. Those two are pencilled in (somewhat tentatively) to meet in April; maybe “Juanma” and Marquez will opt to get it on again as they await the winner of the highly fascinating-looking clash between the Cuban and the boxer from Indonesia?

Let’s face it, as good as last night’s fight was before the disappointing ending - with both men having big moments of success and having the upper hand - we could sure stand seeing a return. As expected, there were vicious exchanges, a ton of punches thrown with bad intentions, and plenty of overall high drama. Both men are old-school warriors in both spirit and ability, and though they probably fell short of giving us 2010’s Fight of The Year, Lopez and Marquez came thisclose.

With Marquez we have a sure thing for The Hall of Fame. With Lopez we have a genuinely talented, extremely exciting “I’ll fight anyone” future megastar of a fighter!

Lopez is now 30-0(27). Marquez is now 39-6(35).

Article posted on 07.11.2010

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