Juan Manuel Marquez: The Dark Horse Rides AgainWritten by Joseph Herron
Mexico is famous for producing some of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing.
Fighters like Ruben Oliveras, Salvador Sanchez, Miguel Canto, Ricardo Lopez, Kid Azteca, Carlos Zarate, and the incomparable Julio Cesar Chavez were all beloved Mexican warriors who captured the hearts of an entire nation and were celebrated throughout their careers as national heroes.
Even more recently, exciting pugilists like Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera enjoyed a legion of die-hard Mexican fans who supported their eventual passage to boxing legend, and are considered to be national treasures.
One of the more skilled and underrated Mexican fighters of our time, Juan Manuel Marquez, continues to strive for that beloved distinction and feels that a win against career nemesis Manny Pacquiao will catapult him to an immortal status among his countrymen.
It's a goal that seems as elusive as finding the legendary "Fountain of Youth".
Although "Dinamita" is a three division world champion and one of the more accomplished fighters of his era, the 38 year old fighter still awaits the same distinction and recognition that his peers enjoyed throughout their careers.
One of the reasons why Marquez hasn't quite achieved the "heroic" status as of yet, is largely due to the idea that he hasn't scored that career defining victory over an equally legendary opponent.
One of his predecessors, Erik "El Terrible" Morales, has career defining victories over fellow countryman Marco Antonio Barrera and was the last man to defeat pound for pound fighter Manny Pacquiao.
Fellow contemporary, Marco Antonio Barrera, enjoyed two victories over Erik Morales and owns a legendary win over Prince Naseem Hamed.
The quiet one from Mexico City hopes that he can finally garner the eternal respect and admiration of his country with an impressive victory over the world's best fighter this Saturday night.
A task that most boxing pundits feel is inconceivable.
Some of the reasoning that goes into this popular sentiment is the fact that Marquez will be fighting at a weight in which he is unaccustomed, and is a division that his opponent has comfortably grown into.
Also factored into this logic is the reality that Manny Pacquiao has never lost a battle fought over the 135 pound limit, and is believed to have improved his boxing skills far beyond those of his peers.
Still, the 38 year old Mexican warrior insists that he will finally be victorious in the third installment of their classic rivalry.
Most detractors look to his only fight above the lightweight limit as a point of reference, although this factor could prove to be a bit misleading in analyzing the big match up on November 12th.
On September 19th, 2009, Juan Manuel Marquez bravely fought former number one pound for pound fighter Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in his premier fight at the welterweight division.
"Dinamita" had no answers for the counterpunching style of Floyd on that evening. The boxing maestro put on a clinic and virtually shut out the three time division champ for twelve grueling rounds.
On that fateful evening in 2009, Marquez attempted to be the fearless aggressor and was ineffective in stalking his prey. Juan Manuel is a counterpuncher by trade and proved to be out of his element that night.
But this is boxing...and in the art that is the sweet science, styles make fights.
This Saturday night, the technical boxer will not have to walk down his opponent, and more than likely will have many opportunities to counter Manny as he's marching in.
Throughout his entire career, Marquez has continuously been able to persevere against more assertive opponents.
On February 28th, 2009, Marquez fought and successfully defeated former WBA, IBF, and WBO Lightweight Champion "Baby Bull" Juan Diaz, by effectively timing the younger and more aggressive fighter with beautiful counterpunching combinations in a battle most felt that Marquez couldn't win.
In a brutal war of attrition, Juan Manuel Marquez showed his ring intelligence by surviving initial adversity and eventually knocking-out the supposed iron-chinned Houston, TX, native.
Can the humble technician from Mexico City overcome the odds once again to elevate his career into a legendary status on Saturday night?
In a year riddled with surprises, would it be completely improbable for the dramatic and defying "shocker" to occur?
Most boxing experts feel that an upset at this stage in both fighters' respective careers is indeed doubtful at best. Conventional wisdom dictates that the speed, power, and overall skill of the pound for pound king will be too much for the older underdog to overcome.
But with the heart of a champion, "Dinamita" truly believes that his arm will be raised in victory after the war of wills has been waged.
As the Mexican dark horse rides into battle this Saturday night, Juan Manuel Marquez carries the hope and support of an entire nation on his back while he attempts to finally join the lineage of Mexico's boxing elite.