Juan Manuel Marquez vs. In Jin Chi: Bring it on in November!

07.08.06 - By John Way: Now ranked as the number one contender for Scott Harrisonís WBO featherweight title, Juan Manuel Marquez seems to have his career back on track following his disappointing loss to Indonesian, Chris John earlier this year. As he showed last Saturday, he is still a force to be reckoned with, even at age 33. At this point in his career, the Mexican canít afford anymore gaps of inactivity. Heíll be looking for at least one more fight before the year is over, and with the enormity of Harrisonís problems outside the ring, it looks like a title shot is temporarily on the back burner.

Enter Korean powerhouse, In Jin Chi, a man whose career mirrors Marquezí in more ways than one. Like Marquez, Chi was stymied in his first attempt to win a world title (though his heroic effort against Erik Morales stands in stark contrast to Juanís tepid performance versus Freddie Norwood). Both lost their titles by controversial decision in the challengerís hometown, and have seen their careers crippled by inactivity for managerial reasons.

There is however, one distinct difference between the two: Marquez has proven himself to be an elite fighter, while Chi has not. With excellent performances versus the likes of Manuel Medina, Pacquiao, Robbie Peden, Victor Polo, Agapito Sanchez, Orlando Salido, Marcos Licona et al. Marquez was universally recognized as one of the ten best fighters in the world prior to the loss against John. A convincing win against either Chi or Harrison would go a long way in putting him at front of the line again.

Not long ago, Scotlandís Harrison was near pound for pound consideration himself, before a series of injuries and domestic issues led to the ultimate cancellation of his fight with Dominican bomber, Joan Guzman. When another fight came apart, this time against IBO champ (does it get anymore meaningless?), Gary St. Clair, "Meat and Potatoes" Harrison seemed to fall off the face of the earth. Although plodding and unimaginative, he is a lethal puncher, impossibly strong, and one of the toughest fighters in the world today. Look for Harrison to settle unfinished business with St. Clair before facing Marquez, perhaps in the first half of 2007.

In the meantime, Chi is the perfect option for Marquez, and vice versa. Though not quite a star, Juan still brings enough money to the table to make himself a worthwhile option for the Korean. Dough is especially important for both men, since retirement isnít far down the road for either. Chi still gets mileage in America for his terrific brawl with Morales, and in the past, heís never objected to traveling to his opponentís backyard for a scrap, so the fight isnít only marketable, itís also doable. Comments and questions are welcome below.

Article posted on 08.08.2006

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