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Marquez Masterful: But is it enough to prepare for Pacquiao?

By David Kassel: Juan Manuel Marquez did exactly what he intended on doing Saturday night versus Likar Ramos in his tune-up fight for Manny Pacquiao. Well, sort of. He got the victory which sets up a trilogy with arguably the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter this November. However Marquez got the victory via a 1st-round KO against the over-matched 25-year-old in Marquez’s native Mexico.

Not to say that Marquez did anything wrong whatsoever. He had to make sure of a victory to set up the Pacquiao fight, a fight which Juan Manuel is guaranteed a minimum of $5 million. But the two reasons Marquez took this risk were to prepare for a southpaw like Pacquiao, and to make sure he wasn’t inactive for a full year.

Before Saturday, Marquez last fought in November of 2010 when he stopped Michael Katsidis in the 9th round of their lightweight title fight. Had he not taken the fight against Ramos, Marquez would have been inactive for one full year going into his 144-lb catchweight fight with Pacquiao November 12th.

The risk for Marquez was well worth the reward. He has plenty of money in the bank (although $5 million is a huge risk for a tune-up fight). Ramos presented a young, hungry, active southpaw who was about the same size as Pacquiao. The fight also gave Marquez the chance to train and prepare at a higher weight than his normal 135 lbs. I’m sure Marquez was hoping to get a few more rounds in Saturday night, but he will take the victory without having to take much time off because he was barely touched in the fight.

The first two Pacquiao-Marquez fights were classics, but both were fought at a weight more suitable at the time for Marquez. The first fight (in 2004) was fought at featherweight while the 2008 rematch was contested at super featherweight. Since that time Pacquiao has jumped up four weight classes and has fought as high as a catchweight fight of 150 lbs (vs. Antonio Margarito). Pacquiao has continued to dominate the opposition as he has moved up in weight in contrast to Marquez who has only fought higher than 135 lbs one time before Saturday night against Ramos. If you need a reminder on how that went for Juan Manuel just take a look on youtube when Floyd Mayweather made Marquez look old and sluggish as a welterweight.

Marquez should use this time to pack on a few pounds of muscle while improving his speed and conditioning in preparation for the Pacquiao trilogy. If Marquez takes time off and does not stay 100% focused on the task at hand, we could be looking at another Manny Pacquiao domination of a fighter at the tail end of his career.

In other action on the card:

Roman Gonzalez TKO 7 Omar Salado
Rafael Marquez RTD 6 Eduardo Becerril

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