Today in Las Vegas, JuanMa will be defending his featherweight belt against Rafa Marquez. On paper this has Fight of the Year candidate written all over it. Not only do we get another Puerto Rico vs Mexico fight but everyone in boxing knows how big the PR vs Mexico rivalry is. Out of 74 fights between these countries, Puerto Rico holds the edge at 42 wins to Mexico’s 30. But, out of those 30 wins none are bigger than Julio Cesar Chavez beating Hector Macho Camacho, Salvador Sanchez shocking the world by knocking out Wilfredo Gomez in the 8th round (Gomez at the time was 32-0 with 32kos. Sanchez dropped Gomez in the 1st 40 seconds of the fight in what was called, the Battle of the Little Giants), and more recently Antonio Margarito knocking out Miguel Cotto in the 11th round.
Given this background, there are a lot of motivation for each fighter. For Lopez, he not only wants to prove to the world that he is the next boxing star from Puerto Rico but he wants to demonstrate that he is ready for the big fights. A win against Marquez, he has the possibility of fighting either Celestino Cabellero or Yiorkis Gamboa. Everyone wants to see a Lopez vs Gamboa fight. For that to happen, Lopez must get passed Marquez. It will not be easy given the type of boxer Marquez is. JuanMa has to be in great condition tonight. He is not fighting fighters like Bernabe Concepcion or Rogers Mtagwa who gave him trouble and the later almost pulling off the upset. Lopez has to prepare himself for the full 12 rounds. If he thinks that he can rely on his power then this fight will be done by the 10th round with Lopez on the canvas.
For Marquez to win this fight, he has to use his ring intelligence and box his way around. At the age of 35 and having been in war battles against Israel Vasquez, it is not wise to stand there and trade punches win someone who is young and has tremendous power. Marquez can definately go toe to toe but I don’t see it being an advantage for Marquez. Rafa has to use his jab and combinations to the body to try to slow Lopez down. If Rafa is able to wear down Lopez, he has a good chance at stopping Lopez in the late rounds.
I am going with Rafa in the 10th or 11th round. I just see Lopez wearing down and becoming impatient at executing his game plan.