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Lopez vs. Marquez: Does Rafael have enough left to beat Juan Manuel?

By Jim Dower: World Boxing Organization featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez (29-0, 26 KO’s) will be making the second defense of his WBO title on November 6th against former two division world champion Rafael Marquez (39-5, 35 KO’s) at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lopez, 27, will have the height, youth, and power advantage over the 35-year-old Marquez in this fight. Marquez, 5’5″, hasn’t been very active in the past two years after having three grueling fights with Israel Vazquez. They actually fought four times in the past two years, but Vazquez had nothing left the last time they fought in May due to an eye injury and was quickly stopped in the 3rd round by Marquez.

Given all the punishment that Marquez has absorbed in his fights with Vazquez, it’s highly unlikely he’s going to be able to take 12 rounds of punishment from an even bigger and younger fighter in Lopez. However, you can’t count out a warrior like Marquez, because he has a huge heart and a lot of power of his own. If Marquez can stay in the fight long enough to land a lot of his own big power shots, he could end up taking Lopez out. Lopez can dish it out well, but as we saw in his fight with Rogers Mtagwa in 2009, Lopez is susceptible go getting hurt.

Lopez won that fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but he was badly hurt in both the 11th and 12th rounds, and was taking severe punishment from Mtagwa at the time the fight ended. Lopez likely would have been stopped had there been a 13th round. Marquez obviously has seen that fight will be trying to land big shots to get Lopez in trouble. This is a fight that Marquez can win, but he’s got to last long enough for Lopez to start to fade like he did in his contest with Mtagwa.

However, it’s not likely to happen. Lopez is very skilled and his youth, power and size should be enough to get the win. Lopez, other than the Mtagwa fight, doesn’t have many miles on him. He’s mostly taken out his opponents early which has saved him from having to take the same kind of punishment that Marquez absorbed in his three wars with Vazquez.

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