Forty year old Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez’ (JMM) combinations were sharp and fast. His punches hissed through the air and then crackled when they reached their target. To Mike “Mile High” Alvarado, they must have sounded like the ear popping you hear and feel with a change of altitude.
Early on both men seemed overly cautious, as though they were determined not to provide counter punch opportunities. JMM was first to explore things. He poked and prodded a bit, and when there was no retaliation, he cranked things up a bit. Mike remained in the cautious stage. The problem with that strategy was he was losing rounds, because JMM is not only a great counter puncher, he’s also pretty damn good at leading too. As soon as JMM realized Mike wasn’t going to return his shots, he naturally picked up the pace. Mike kept his gloves up tight in defensive mode, but that wasn’t enough. Mike found out the hard way that there’s too much area to cover when JMM is throwing.
Ideally a fighter is supposed to mix up his punches, but that’s an understatement with JMM. He not only goes up and down, he threads the needle, and throws combinations with the same hand! First, there’s the jab, then the up jab, capped off with a shot to the liver. Then later on he might do something similar with the right. This time it’s two short ones to the head, first down the middle, then behind the glove, capped off with a shot to the kidney.
Mike’s offense came too little and too late. When he tried to retaliate, JMM either was out of range, or beneath his shots. By now, JMM was throwing twice as much as Mike, and landing with a high percentage. By the middle rounds, JMM was pitching a shutout. Mike’s corner started pleading with him to start throwing. They reminded him he was the younger man, and needed prove it by turning things around.
Mike searched, but like a young boy who dropped his change in the rocks, he came away hurt and upset. He continued to get maimed and mangled. The area around his eyes started to swell. JMM continued to inflict physical wounds, as well as dampening Mike’s confidence. Mike was reluctant to throw anything, with the exception of a few good hard jabs, and occasional wild rights.
Mike’s only hope seemed to be when he threw caution to the wind, and engaged in punch for punch type exchanges JMM. Of course, with one of the best counter punchers around can be extremely dangerous. JMM proved it in round eight when he landed a very hard right to the left cheek of Mike’s already bruised face. Down went Mike, and at first it appeared he might not beat the count. It was hard to tell whether he purposely stayed down for a count of seven or eight, or whether he was in real trouble. It was fortunate for him that JMM’s punch didn’t land a few inches lower. If it had, the fight probably would have been over right then in the eighth.
Mike made it to his feet, but he was starting to look like the old man. The clang of the bell was a welcome sound for him. His cornermen first questioned whether he was alright, and once Mike said he was, they pleaded with him to throw caution to the wind. He was reminded of the obvious. His only chance was to go for broke.
Round nine started with JMM smelling blood in the water. He wasn’t about to let an opportunity to end this thing if he could. He wanted to reward all his fans that came to the Forum in Inglewood, CA. He was going to close in for the kill, but it was almost like Mike got a wake-up call. He fired back, and bam, he finally landed one of those hope and a prayer type right hands. The punch bounced right off the chin of JMM. This time it was his turn to touch the canvas.
As JMM was falling, you could see his eyes were clear, and he reached back with both arms to brace himself. He quickly regained his feet, and just as quickly regained control of the fight. That proved to be Mikes last real shot at a win. His only hope was to knock out JMM, and that just wasn’t going to happen. At best he took two, maybe three rounds. The rest of the time, JMM proved he still is great. Two judges scored the fight 117-109, and the third had it 119-108, all for JMM.
Now, will he fight Manny Pacquiao a fifth time? Max Kellerman tried to get and yes or no answer out of him, but JMM understandably said he wanted to take some time off and then decide. He emphasized that whatever he decides, it will be after talking with his family, and then doing what is best for everyone.
Mike might have lost, but he wasn’t dismayed. He sounded believable when saying he was going to learn from this defeat, and come back a better fighter. Max asked him whether his brutal loss to Ruslan Provodnikov might have affected him in this fight. Mike brushed that idea aside, and said no, and that he would quickly get over this loss as well, and come back as a better fighter.