Weekend Wrap-Up: Is Marquez The Great 'Light' Shark?, Forrest Tames The Snake, And Guzman Makes Nate Wait!
By Vivek Wallace: Last Saturday night, fight fans were able to watch as many key questions relative to many key figures in the sport were answered. The lightweight division - as well as the many fans who follow it - watched as an old name became its newest star. A few pounds north, the jr. welterweight division saw a status solidifying performance from one of its soon-to-be household names, and in the light middleweight division we saw a recently questioned talent restore his status in the sport.
Article posted on 16.09.2008
Nothing in life is perfect and this great night of boxing would be no different as the hottest ticket in town instead left fight fans in Biloxi with a new meaning for the term 'Mississippi Burning'. Now that the smoke has cleared, we take a look back at what was, and a potential glimpse at what could be.....
JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ: His performance was easily the strongest of any throughout the evening on either telecast. For Marquez this was that proverbial 'statement' fight that just opened a new can of worms in what is rapidly becoming the sports deepest division.. Coming into the fight, me and many other fight fans would have bet our bottom dollar that there was no chance Marquez could head back to the locker room early after a KO of Casamayor. A little more than 24 hours later, with the right wager attached, it probably wouldn't have hurt if we had bet that bottom dollar, because Marquez did what few thought he could - which was knockout a man that has rarely ever been knocked down. What Marquez's victory did in essence was establish himself as a perennial 'player' in the lightweight division, and potentially open the flood gates to a future of big paydays which could ultimately come at the expense of a deserving champ he should probably have to meet first. That man being none other than the multiple strap holding Nate 'Galaxxy Warrior' Campbell. Whether a meeting with Campbell takes place or not, the possibility of a showdown with Juan 'Baby Bull' Diaz - (as reported by boxingscene.com's Mark Vester) - would surely whet the appetite of fight fans who hope to soon see the lightweight division unfold. How fair it is that Campbell - the divisions legitimate champion - would have to step aside while a fighter he already dethroned gets a shot at a big payday? Well, not at all, but in this sport few things surprise me, especially after the events leading to this next segment......
NATE CAMPBELL: What a fight this (Campbell/Guzman) was supposed to be. For once and for all it appeared that we would actually get a chance to see how Joan Guzman would handle a fighter with a style to take him out of his typical defensive finesse element....or so we thought! To the great dismay of fight fans all over the globe, Guzman pulled out of this fight for reasons that he has yet to specify publicly, which tells us what we all know realistically. A fighter with honest intentions would have never left the venue without securing a new date for the fight in the near future considering how things unexpectedly fell apart. A wise man once said "it's easy to question a person's honesty and integrity, but you learn much more when you simply analyze and question their judgment, which often tends to reflect both". I know some hardcore apologist out there is saying to themselves that there are two sides to every story but to quote famed lyricist Rakim, when it comes to any excuse Guzman could render, my response would be simple......."Save it, put it in your pocket for later"! Campbell agreed to take the fight regardless of the weight issue, so to know that Guzman still chose to bow out allowed his silence on the issue to speak volumes. How he could attempt to look fan square in the eyes after such a gutless move is beyond me but hey, he has to sleep with that thought every night, and stare it in the eye in front of the mirror every morning. The major thing I don't like about this outcome is that it stole the spotlight from the legitimate lightweight champ who was in line to potentially give us a story to parallel the one made by his divisions newest big name. For a guy who's had to wait his turn and play second fiddle for all the wrong reasons in is career, it appears that some things never change. I just hope all the boxing scribes and pundits that gave Nate little respect in the pre-fight build up rethink their position because it appears the 'sack' they were pulling so desperately wasn't as big as they thought!
VERNON FORREST: Coming into the fight I predicted that the 'herky-jerky' style of Mora would once again be too much to decipher and overcome for Forrest, but to his benefit, it wasn't the first blown assignment I've had and in a sport where anything can happen on any given night, it probably won't be the last. Forrest did what he needed to do and basically came in with a better gameplan and executed it flawlessly. In my pre-fight "Keys To Victory" I stated that Forrest would need to set the pace by using his double jab and while I can't take credit for what he did, there's no doubt that was the biggest difference and in effect, the sole reason he was able to make the fight so easy. Mora apparently had an issue making weight of his own, but that 'reason' still serves as no excuse. He simply lost to the better man and I think he would admit that as well. Forrest just put himself right back in the thick of things and I can only hope that trainer Buddy McGirt and the rest of Team Forrest doesn't allow him to come in out of sorts like we saw in the initial fight between the two again. With a strong contingent of new blood on the horizon in the light middleweight division, Forrest won't be given any more 'mulligans'. One more lost under the spotlight could mean lights out!
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I find Bradley to be everything that's so great about this sport. This guy went from being a solid prospect with little notoriety to nearly a household name over night. What I like about him so much is the fact that he isn't brilliant at anything, but is well beyond proficient at everything. He doesn't have blinding speed, but he'll beat you to the punch all night. He doesn't have the most power in the world, but he'll give you a lot to think about. He's never given credit for his ring smarts, but he continues to break down different styles and strategies to a science. He has a great chin and just enough of everything else to make him better than anyone he's faced, and skimming over the list of current jr. welterweights out there, I don't see one that could really faze him in the heat of the battle. The guy is for real, and I think he'll easily walk through this division for years to come. That is unless he's offered enough peso's to go north and fight in the already deep welterweight division. A move that I wouldn't gladly welcome, considering that he only stands at a mere 5'6". What his future holds is unclear, but the one thing I do see in it is a green strap around his waist. I just can't see anyone taking that anytime soon. Stay tuned.
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