Marquez Brothers Impressive In Victory

Marquez Bros07.08.06 - By Nick Mathur: Fighting on the same card for the first time in five years, Rafael and Juan Manuel Marquez (photo by Tom Casino / Showtime) both earned stoppage victories at Montbleu Resort And Casino in Lake Tahoe. Rafael stopped Silence Mabuza after the corner threw in the towel at the end of round nine, while Juan Manuel halted game challenger Terdsak Jandaeng in round seven. It was arguably the biggest stage that both brothers have fought on together, as Rafael was making the seventh defense of his IBF bantamweight title, and Juan Manuel was fighting to become the WBO interim titlist at featherweight to set himself up as the mandatory challenger for Scott Harrison’s belt.

Last November, Rafael Marquez knocked Mabuza down in the first round on his way to a fourth round stoppage victory, due to a deep cut sustained around Mabuza’s eye that forced the doctor to stop the bout. It had been an exciting fight in which both fighters were impressive, even though each judge had scored every round for Marquez leading up to the stoppage. Mabuza then won an elimination fight with Ricardo Vargas in order to gain the opportunity for a rematch against Marquez..

The fight started off quickly as it did the first time around, with Marquez appearing to slightly wobble Mabuza from a stiff jab midway through the first round, which led to both fighters furiously exchanging for the last half of the round. Mabuza’s trainer and cut man, the highly regarded South African Nic Durandt, admonished Mabuza in the corner after the first round had ended for slugging with Marquez. He told Silence that when he gets hurt, his reaction should not be to trade with his heavy handed opponent.

Marquez won the early rounds of the fight, landing effectively to the head and body. After Marquez landed an unintentional low blow during round two, blood was coming out of Mabuza’s nose as he took time to recover and his face was already visibly bruised. However, Mabuza increased his movement in the ring and began to effectively use his hand speed advantage in round three. He landed his jab with some frequency and several nice shots which got the attention of Marquez. It was clear at this point that Mabuza had a very strong will to win and was able to absorb some of Marquez’s best punches, while still coming back with effective combinations. The fight was going very well for Mabuza during rounds three, four, and five, as he looked to be gaining confidence and was asserting himself more. Marquez looked puzzled at times, his work rate noticeably dropped, and his mouth hung slightly open due to the fast pace that they were fighting at during the preceding rounds. It looked as if Rafael had lost some of the steam on his punches, while Mabuza was landing a considerable number of shots on Marquez, and punctuated the fifth round by trapping him against the ropes and unleashing a violent flurry.

Marquez began to perform very well after Mabuza landed an accidental low blow during the sixth round. While Mabuza was still giving a spirited effort and displayed very good hand speed and ring movement, Marquez was still landing the more significant punches, and the pro-Marquez brothers crowd cheered whenever Rafael landed something hard. The fight was still competitive at this point, but Mabuza’s face clearly showed damage, especially around his eyes and on his left cheekbone. Marquez closed the eighth round with a nice flurry of activity, and then hurt Mabuza with a hard right hand followed by a combination of punches in round nine. Marquez then chased him around the ring and fired a large volume of punches trying to knock his opponent out, landing several left hooks and uppercuts in the process. Mabuza appeared to have his feet under him at some point while Marquez temporarily rested after having spent himself, but Mabuza was once again caught with a right hand bomb towards the end of the round. Mabuza’s prospects for winning the fight looked grim at this point, with the accumulation of damage taking it’s toll and evidenced by the fact that his face was bloodied and swollen. Nic Durandt threw in the towel at the end of round nine, giving Marquez a hard fought TKO victory.

While the judges had Marquez comfortably ahead in the fight, Mabuza showed once again in defeat that he possesses skills, punching power, a great chin and real courage as he was able to withstand punches that would put almost any other bantamweight in the world flat on their back. Both fighters complimented one another during post-fight interviews, and Marquez stated that he will move up to 122 pounds to see what the junior featherweight division has to offer. Rafael Marquez seems to have significantly improved as far as skills and composure since he came back from being hurt from a body punch to knock out Tim Austin in his title winning effort back in 2003. He showed great poise tonight when closing the show with several hard right hands and left hooks, including an excellent one to the body at the end that really seemed to slow Mabuza down. His future looks bright, and will almost undoubtedly find similar success at the higher weight classes as he continues to improve his craft and gets better with each passing fight.

In the main event, what I anticipated to be a mismatch on paper turned out to be a very exciting fight, as determined southpaw challenger Terdsak Jandaeng was able to give Juan Manuel Marquez a stiff test in what was still, unfortunately for him, a losing effort. Perhaps more importantly, Jandaeng was able to invoke Marquez’s fighting spirit and made him set aside his usual counterpunching and overly cautious style in favor of slugging it out, much to the delight of the fans in attendance. Marquez, after losing to Chris John in Indonesia, was in a situation where he not only needed to win, but also needed to put on a performance that generated interest from boxing fans.

Before the fight, Jandaeng had a resume that was devoid of any noteworthy opponents other than Joan Guzman, who soundly defeated him last year by decision. The purpose of Juan Manuel Marquez even taking this fight was apparently to get back into the win column against a fighter who could make him look good, while putting him in line to fight for an alphabet title later in the year. However, with strong gusts of wind whipping around and the possibility of rain threatening to ruin the fight for those in attendance at the outdoor arena, it was immediately surprising that the fight got off to a strong pace, with Jandaeng showing surprising hand speed and Marquez fighting in a far more aggressive manner than we have recently become accustomed to.

Marquez staggered Jandaeng with a left uppercut in round two, worked the head and body, and then put him down face first with an uppercut. Although Jandaeng responded by getting up and landing a few flush shots on Marquez, the situation was made worse for him when he was warned for low blows and then deducted a point during the round. While many might have expected an early night for Marquez at this point, Jandaeng surprised everyone by going toe to toe with Marquez and having a very good third and fourth round. At some point, Marquez’s right eye began to swell badly and almost close. The surprising turn of events led one to consider whether or not Marquez was still the same fighter who gave Manny Pacquiao a very tough fight after being knocked down three times by the whirlwind Filipino bomber, or whether Jandaeng was actually a quality fighter.

Things began to go Marquez’s way at this point when I’m sure that his supporters were beginning to be concerned about the outcome of the fight. He landed more authoritatively in the fifth round, and then used a brilliant lead right uppercut followed by a hooking right upstairs to floor Jandaeng hard in the sixth. Jandaeng got to his feet and returned fire, but was hurt by punches that connected towards the end of the round, including some great body work by Marquez. Jay Nady had seen enough when the onslaught by Marquez continued in the seventh, as Jandaeng was hit hard by several more uppercuts and body punches.

Juan Manuel’s eye looked to be in bad shape, and his face bore clear marks that indicated that he had been in a tough fight. However, he was openly jubilant during the moments after he scored the stoppage. He displayed a vast arsenal of punches, which he used to hurt Jandaeng at different moments during the fight and finally to knock him out. He also showed the class and the boxing pedigree that fight fans already knew he possessed. However, one has to give credit to Terdsak Jandaeng, a tough, game fighter who took a great punch and returned fire very well in this determined effort.

Marquez, at thirty-two years of age, is considered to be on the older end of the boxing spectrum as far as fighters in the lighter weight divisions go. After this win tonight, it is evident that he still might have some greatness to achieve, and would certainly be competitive with top fighters like Pacquiao, Morales, Barrera, Juarez, and Larios. While most knowledgeable boxing fans were critical of his opponent’s chances to win, a fight like this still leaves a positive impression on the minds of the public; people are always happy seeing brawls and knockouts. Marquez has probably learned from his past mistakes, and would not let unreasonable purse demands ruin his chances at being placed in a fight with a marquee fighter.

It is important for him to fight someone relatively soon while this performance is still fresh on the minds of the fans, rather than him sitting on the shelf and stagnating while other top fighters are busy fighting each other. Overall, the Marquez brothers could not have asked for a better night, as they both earned stoppage victories over tough opponents and created opportunities for themselves to be matched up with the best fighters in their respective divisions somewhere down the line.

Article posted on 07.08.2006

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