By James Slater – Between them, warriors Juan Manuel Marquez and Michael Katsidis have probably inspired boxing writers to use to world incredible more than any other fighter you care to mention; at least from the past four or five years. Both men have given us some truly great action-filled fights, a number of them raising the excitement barometer by a significant level.
Last night, for another example, the two tenacious and highly motivated gladiators met each other and in so doing put on a barnburner of a battle.. Going at it in the manner in which they have both received applause for over the years, the Mexican and the Australian might well have given us 2010’s Fight Of The Year.
Marquez, of course, gave us last year’s FOTY, in that great war with Juan Diaz, and if he does pick up the award at the end of this year he will have further boosted his reputation as one of THE crowd-pleasers of the last decade or more. Katsidis too, has given us some unforgettable action. Aside from the fervour-inducing challenge he put on last night in coming up short against “Dinamita,” the Australian “Great” has thrilled us on at least three other occasions.
As such, both men deserve to be given much praise from the fans and the experts.
This past weekend was one that fully reminded boxing fans how truly special this sport can be. And though there was much standout action and skill on display last night, it was surely the lightweight battle that pleased fans the most. The two sizzling warriors went to war in a fight that: had no clinches to speak of, had unrelenting punches from both sides, boasted a terrific, potentially fight-ending knockdown that only a fighter as great as Marquez could have recovered from so quickly, and also had the kind of fierce trading that would put a “Rocky” movie to shame.
In short, the raging war that contested the Ring magazine lightweight crown was one that deserves to go into the time capsule. But then, so do so many other Marquez and Katsidis fights. Was last night’s epic the best fight either guy has ever engaged in? Maybe it was. But will last night’s terrific encounter actually collect the FOTY award for 2010?
Okay, Marquez was a touch too good for Katsidis, practically all night – his sharper, more accurate punches picking up round after round for him. And because of this, some fans will say the action was too one-sided for the fight, which was eventually won by Marquez via 9th-round TKO, to be classed as a great one. But how could any fan not feel proud to witness the way Katsidis – who, we must not forget, was fighting with the knowledge that he had recently lost his brother – stuck in there and refused to give any ground to the greater-skilled Mexican? Banging away with all his might for round after round, Katsidis proved yet again how he is truly a fighter down to the bottom of his boots; a man who never knows when he is beaten.
Both men earned their pay last night, and then some. I think both 135-pound give and take practitioners also earned the FOTY distinction. For even though there are still a few big fights left to play out in 2010, no fight will top last night’s when it comes to bravery, intensity, will to win and all-out blood and guts drama.
Put it this way; if either of Amir Khan-Marcos Maidana, Bernard Hopkins-Jean Pascal or Marco Huck-Denis Lebedev (or any of the other remaining fights of this year) can top the spellbinding action Marquez-Katsidis produced yesterday, we are in for one hell of an end to the fistic calendar!