Fedchenko vs. Marquez break down; Sturm-Zbik analysis

By Glyn Evans: After counterpunching Manny Pacquiao silly in November, only to be denied by a decision that appeared to be based more on commerce than sport, Mexican ring master Juan Manuel Marquez resurfaces at the New Mexico City Arena, Mexico on tomorrow night.

And BoxNation subscribers (Sky Ch.456 and Virgin Ch.546) will be able to witness the 38 year old ‘Dinamita’s’ attempt to become the third Mexican (behind Erik Morales and Jorge Arce) and only the 13th fighter in boxing history, to hold versions of world titles in four separate weight categories, when he squares off with Serhiy Fedchenko of the Ukraine for the vacant ‘interim’ World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-welter crown.

Having won six world titles from featherweight (126lbs) through to lightweight (135lbs) in a 19 year 53-6-1 career, the Mexican magician shall unquestionably be a first year entrant to the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota as soon as he is eligible, five years after retirement. We should savour his sublime skills whilst he remains active.

His impressive scalp list includes Manuel Medina, Orlando Salido, Marco Antonio Barrera, Rocky Juarez, Joel Casamayor, Juan ‘Baby Bull’ Diaz (twice) and Michael Katsidis. Add that several impartial and qualified observers are steadfast that he was sufficiently masterful to have merited victory in all three spats with Pacquiao (officially a draw and two contentious points losses). Let’s not forget, Prince Naseem Hamed rapidly crossed to the other side of the street whenever Marquez loomed large as a mandatory challenger to his featherweight belts.

It isn’t simply what Marquez has accomplished but the majestic manner in which it was achieved. He has proved more times than is healthy that he can war with the most savage contemporaries of his age. However, though thirty nine of his victims were sent for an early shower, he could equally be a cerebral technician, the smoothest of counter punchers, when he required or desired. Appreciated rather than revered in the manner compatriots Barrera and Morales are, Marquez is nevertheless one of the most complete all-rounders of his era, a permanent feature in those mythical pound for pound listings.

He seemingly has an ideal foil against which to showcase his considerable wares this weekend, in the form of Comrade Fedchenko, a 30 year old Ukrainian who sports a statistically impressive 30-1 slate but, in truth, is yet to confront the division’s elite.

A 5ft 6in orthodox fighter, managed by Alexander Krasyuk and coached by Viktor Demchenko, ‘The Professor’ turned pro in the Ukraine whilst just 20 in March 2002. He gathered an Inter Continental title en route to knocking up 23 consecutive wins, prior to incurring his sole setback.

In September 2009, South Africa’s Kaiser ‘Hammer’ Mabuza, a future IBF challenger and the reigning IBO czar, bested Demchenko on a 12 round majority decision in the Ukraine. Mabuza remains his most credible opponent by some distance.

Demchenko is sure to turn up overloaded with desire and determination but, despite rebounding with seven wins, most notably over DeMarcus Corley and Willie Blain (both points 12), it is doubtful that the East European possesses the skills, experience or power (just 13 stoppage wins) to halt Marquez’s assault on history and a possible future assignment with Amir Khan.

Nevertheless, it is always a privilege to observe the great Mexican executing his craft and Fedchenko should certainly have the nous and resilience to take the fight late, possibly even the full trip. Definitely worth tuning in for.

Murray and Macklin analyze Sturm-Zbik fight

Birmingham’s Matt Macklin appeared desperately unfortunate not to elope with Sturm’s title when the pair collided in Cologne last June. The split decision in Sturm’s favour invoked major media dissent, even within the German press.

Matt Macklin says: ‘I’ve followed Zbik since we both competed at the same weight in the 2000 World Juniors in Budapest and I’ve always kept an eye out for him since. When I fought Ruben Varon, I studied his fight against Zbik, and Zbik impressed, knocking him out with body shots.

He’s a technical fighter, very skillful and well schooled, delivers good straight punches. He’s got a sharp right hand and nice left hook to the body. He can carry his left hand low which could be dangerous because, against me, Sturm had a very sharp double right hand and throws nice counter uppercuts.

Sturm picks his moments to attack and picks his shots very well. He’s got a very, very tight defence and very strong forearms. It was much harder to penetrate him than I anticipated and, when I did, he absorbed plenty of heavy shots around the ears.

They’d definitely have sparred together during their time together on the German national (amateur) squad and at Universum. Neither are big punchers so I’d anticipate an interesting technical boxing match. Both are very measured, almost count the number of punches they throw each round so I think we’re destined for a distance fight.

But I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Zbik springs an upset. At their peaks, Felix was probably the better man but, while Zbik is right on top of his game now, I think Felix has probably had some of the stuffing knocked out of him by me and others and is now on the slide. He might be there for the taking.

In his first start at top international level, unbeaten British and Commonwealth king Martin Murray from St Helens acquitted himself admirably when restricting Sturm to a draw in Mannheim last December.

Martin Murray says: ‘Sturm was a good quick counter puncher, particularly with the right hand - I was very wary of that – and, stepping up a level, I felt his physical presence and his experience far more than anyone I’d faced previously. He’s not really a pressure fighter but you really feel his strength when he does attack.

That said, I’m not sold on him. If I got the call for a rematch I’d accept in a heartbeat, even in Germany again. Though he always turns up in good fettle, I don’t think he has the confidence in his conditioning that he once had. He can be lazy, only throws the bare minimum.

Our fight was very close – I’m not going to cry about the verdict like Macklin did – but it was my first time at that level and he knows I’ll only get better which is why I never got the rematch. Last time, I was a bit too cautious, too wary, but if we did it again, I’d sustain my attacks, put in on him for longer. He’s an old man, not what he was two or three years back.

I’m familiar with Zbik because I watched a bit of his title loss to (Julio Cesar) Chavez. He’s a typical stand up German fighter and it’s a good fight for Sturm to take. He’s a good opponent. Sturm’s not picked an easy one.

I expect it to be very cagey, very close. Whoever wins, the title will remain in Germany. I think Sturm will just edge it but he’s not got long left and, soon, someone’s going to be in the right place at the right time. Hopefully, that’ll be me.’

Sturm v Zbik will be televised live tonight on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) in the ABA Finals show with coverage starting at 6.30pm.

BoxNation is the first dedicated subscription boxing TV channel in the UK to bring together the biggest names in amateur, domestic and international boxing with an unbeatable schedule of matches from across the globe.

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WEIGHTS FROM CHICAGO: Cherry 132, Martinez 132

Saturday, April 14, 2012
Solo Boxeo Tecate
Warriors Boxing/8 Count Productions
Cicero Stadium, Cicero IL
Doors 7pm, First Bell 8pm
Tickets/Info 312-226-5800

Edner Cherry, 132 vs. Juan Carlos Martinez, 132
Lamar Russ, 162 vs. Jose Alonza, 162
Adrian Granados, 139 vs. Ramon Guevara, 139.5
Luis Santiago, 153 vs. Marlon Smith, 151
Dimar Ortuz, 194 vs. Rayshawn Myers, 192.5
Adan Ortiz, 118 vs. Joseph Santos, 119.5

Article posted on 13.04.2012

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