Boxing


Marquez-Jaca: There Is No Doubt...Boxing Is A Blood Sport

juan manuel marquez26.11.06 - By Wray Edwards: Two years ago when Juan Manuel Marquez went down three times in the first round of his 05/08/04 match with Manny Pacquiao, he looked almost bemused. On the third time down, with his (Marquez) left glove firmly planted on the canvass, Manny clocked Juan with a downward left which was illegal as hell, and should have been called with appropriate deduction for Manny. It was not and, as it turned out, that was one of several differences in Marquez' favor deciding the fight. IMO Juan won.

Last night 33 year old Marquez faced another young southie from the Philippines, Jimrex Jaca, who is ten years his junior. Touted as a boxer, Jaca went off that reservation and did a pretty good take on his island mate Manny P., albeit with a more balanced punch repertoire. This kid was pretty good, and gave Marquez just exactly what he needed to get back in the mix; a good, solid scrap for nine out of twelve rounds. The fight was as good as it gets for boxing fans. Enough rounds to test stamina, two men with comparable skill sets and a serious, classical KO (walk-off homer) which put the judges neatly out of the picture..

HIGHLITES

At 2:05 of the Second Round Marquez misses with a sweeping left while Jaca misses with a straight left which led to the outside of Marquez' left leg getting caught on the inside of Jaca's right knee. Marquez almost went down and it would have been quite possible for a KD to have been called. The commentators confessed the possibility…Max; "…don't know if he got rocked…." Such things happen and they are not pretty. Also in this round Jaca sustained a small cut/abrasion to outside of his left eye. It was not serious.

Round Five produced the dénouement of the fight. It came from what turned out to be a test to see which fighter had the toughest skin. As often happens when orthodox and southie fighters meet, head clashes are more prevalent. These two had numerous close calls from Round One throughout the fight. In Round Five their heads did come together with great force. Marquez lost the head-butt portion of the match.

Great quantities of blood streamed down the middle Marquez' face from a jagged gash over his right eyebrow near the middle of his forehead. Some fighters are intimidated by such an injury. Others upon seeing their own blood turn it up a notch. For some, there's nothing like the taste of blood to crank up the action. For Marquez, in this fight, it was fair warning that he should get ahead in points asap in case the bout was stopped. The doc took a look and allowed Juan to go on.

At 1:50 of the Seventh Round Marquez throws a straight right which impacts Jaca right on the belt which obviously hurt him. Jaca tried to elicit a low blow call from Referee Laurence Cole who had a good look at the punch and IMO made the correct decision by staying back. Between rounds Marquez' manager/ trainer/cut-man Ignacio Beristain did a great job of working the cut. That work was put to the most stringent test after the Eighth Round.

The Eighth Round was an example of the essence of the blood sport of Boxing. Everyone there, the boxers, the judges, the ring physician and the ref all had to deal with the situation. Blood and cut calls are always borderline affairs in which one man, the ring physician or the chief corner have to make a serious decision which has many repercussions. The Eighth Round was a set-piece of Boxing magnificence. Here was arguably a great fighter, old for his weight division, fighting a young, well-balanced fighter with his future on the line.

For Jaca to lose at 23, would be a lesson learned and experience in the bank at the world class level from which he would be able to go on to bigger and better things. For Marquez this was pretty much a make-or-break outing which might be the start of a downhill slide and the end of any hopes of another title shot, especially versus the Packster. Juan's cut was really messy during the Eighth.

At 0:50 of the Eighth the ref called time to take Marquez over to the doc for another check. On the way over Ref Cole tells Marquez, "Come on 'Juanie'…You're ahead on the scorecards." His statement to Marquez, which seemed very unusual to me, appeared to imply, "Gee, your cut is really bad…you can get the win if we call it right now." The doc gives Juan the "How many fingers am I holding up?" test, and allows Marquez to continue.

Marquez then demonstrated the essences of our sport: courage, ability and fortitude. This was a demonstration of character. Whether Juan understood the Ref's offer or not is beside the point. He wanted, and was allowed, to make a statement; "I am a world class boxer and by what I do in these next few minutes I will earn respect, I will honor my sport, and I will demonstrate my qualifications to rightfully challenge any and all within my reach who presume to hold championship titles at Featherweight."

As the bloody warrior stepped back in front of Jaca he showed a determination which must have intimidated, at least to some degree, the young fighter. Even a second head-butt was not going to stop him. He was hell-bent on making his point, and it would soon be made.

The Ninth Round started off as before with lots of action. Then at 0:27 Marquez leads with a left to Jaca's body, Jaca counters right cross and misses, Marquez retreats away as Jaca rushes towards him, Matquez throws a fair right cross, as Jaca flinches down from the right Marquez throws a light left hook/uppercut followed by a down/left right followed by a left uppercut to the chin/chest of Jaca. Finally, at 0:24 Marquez swings a huge, sweeping left which hits Jaca right in the beak between his eyes.

Jaca just sits there as the ref finishes his ten-count at 0:12 of the Ninth. This was a boxing match which was right out of central casting; the old warrior fights through blood and opinion to claim final justification of his champion's credentials. Some hold belts who are not true champions. Some do not, who are champions. What with the politricks and financial dynamics of the sport, it's a miracle that wonderful fighters such as Juan Manuel Marquez have the courage and fortitude to stand their ground, and continue to carve out their place in Boxing history.

For all the bad-mouthing and real corruption which exists in this profession, it is refreshing and encouraging that our loyalty and patience are occasionally rewarded with such sterling events. Though it seems a fool's errand, Marquez should be given the opportunity to stand toe-to-toe with Manny. By any measure he has paid his dues and we would all be there to cheer them on.


One final note: It was interesting that the old geezer's goofy remark during the Morales/Pacquiao fight about Vic Drakulich's instruction to Manny to stay in a neutral corner until he was called back to the action, was edited out of the replay which was presented before the Marquez Jaca fight. Evidently the brass also noticed the dorkiness of the remark and decided to erase the embarrassing blurt. See you at the fights.

Article posted on 26.11.2006



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