It was something to see Juan Manuel Marquez unleash blow after blow against Mike Alvarado in a World Boxing Organization welterweight eliminator fight at the renovated Great Western Forum last Saturday night.
The home to championship boxing for decades, this was the first card at the Inglewood venue since 2001, and it brought out 12,090 fans to the site that hosted some of the greatest boxers like Muhammad Ali, Ken Norton, Bobby Chacon, Ruben Olivares, Marco Antonio Barrera, Carlos Zarate and Jose Napoles to name a few.
With the pro-Marquez crowd cheering from the outset, the Mexican superstar wanted to give the fans something they would remember, and though he dominated the first three rounds, Marquez shifted into another gear from that point and claimed a unanimous decision.
Two inches shorter, Marquez worked inside and used his boxing and counter-punching skills to hammer away at Alvarado, who hit the deck in the eighth round after being tagged with a counter right hand.
“I wanted to reward the public,’’ said Marquez of the attempted knockout. “He was very strong and very difficult. It’s a fight for all of the Mexicans. It was a great fight. I fight for them.”
Like a true warrior, Alvarado responded in the ninth round when he floored Marquez with a counter right, and appeared to drop the four-division world champion in the 11th round, but Marquez’s glove never touched the canvas.
“I made a big error when I was knocked down,’’ said Marquez, who bolstered his record to 56-7-1 with 40 knockouts. “I dropped my hand and he caught me. I put him down in the eighth and I was going to try to stop him in the ninth, but I made an error.”
Alvarado’s left eye was swollen by Marquez’s busy right hand leads, and he continued the barrage that brought the crowd to their feet over the second half of the bout.
Both fighters were coming off defeats and had something to prove as Marquez lost a split decision to once-beaten Timothy Bradley Jr., while Alvarado was stopped in the 10th by twice-beaten Ruslan Provodnikov.
“I put that [Provodnikov] fight behind me,’’ said Alvarado, now 34-3-0 with 23 knockouts. “I believe tonight’s fight was a lot closer than the scorecards. At the end of every round the crowd cheered and swayed the judges.”
The scores were indeed one-sided as Judges Max DeLuca and Julie Lederman each had it 117-109, while Robert Byrd scored it 119-108.
In the first round each used their jabs effectively and Marquez, who outlanded Alvarado in 11 of 12 rounds, struck with an overhand right.
Alvarado landed a counter left hook, and Marquez responded with a three-punch combination to the head in the second round.
Marquez went to the body in the third round, Alvarado missed a wild left hook, and Marquez made him pay, but Alvarado landed a left hook.
Marquez found the target with a right and straight left in the fourth, followed by a four-punch combo, and continued to pick apart Alvarado in the fifth with a right hook and straight left.
Marquez’s four-punch combo gave him the sixth round, and he followed the trend in the seventh round when he connected with more combinations.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.