For the first time since 2001, the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, CA was the home of a prize fight as Juan Manuel Marquez defeated Mike Alvarado via unanimous decision in a memorable re-introduction to the Forum on HBO. The win puts Marquez and Manny Pacquiao in line for their fifth fight.
Anticipation was at a fever pitch all night long for the return of Marquez to the Forum, where he began to build up his Hall of Fame career. All night long, the crowd serenaded the fighters with loud chants of “Marquez” at every opportunity, ultimately erupting when the fighter finally made his way to the ring.
The action early featured more of both fighters getting a feel for each other as the first round didn’t have many highlights. Early in the second round however, Alvarado began to make his mark, hitting Marquez with a few good shots as he began to push forward. Marquez wouldn’t be outdone however, as he returned the favor in an action-filled second round. Marquez was able to connect with a few nice jabs to start some swelling on Alvarado’s cheek early on.
As we headed towards the middle rounds, the fighters began to pick up their attacks. The final ten seconds of the fourth round specifically were a fury of thrown punches from both Marquez and Alvarado. Moving into the fifth round, Marquez began to work Alvarado’s body a lot more, focusing on shots to the liver rather than big blows to the head. The body shots opened Alvarado up a bit as Marquez was able to land some big punches in the round.
While both fighters were able to connect on their fair share of power punches, Marquez was dominant from the beginning. Alvarado at times seemed to be waiting for the final ten seconds of each round to really go at JMM, while Marquez was content dominating the rest of the round. Alvarado had his moments where he was able to land his share of power punches, but Marquez seemed to be on another level throughout the fight.
After Marquez dominated early on, Alvarado seemed to realize a knockout would be necessary to get himself the win. This lead to some incredible action in the later rounds. Marquez seemed to begin to separate himself, dropping Alvarado with a right hook directly on the chin to close out the 8th round. The shot nearly caused Alvarado to fall out of the ring entirely. However, Alvarado would return the favor almost immediately by connecting on a right hand, knocking Marquez down early in the 9th. This only seemed to ignite Marquez who quickly unleashed a fury on Alvarado, cutting him open beneath the eye. Both Marquez and Alvarado exchanged some major power punches in an action-packed 9th.
The final three rounds of the fight included more of the same as the fighters continued to exchange power punches. Alvarado nearly scored a knockdown of Marquez towards the end of the 11th round. In the 12th and final round, Alvarado left everything he had in the ring, going for the knockout in anticipation of a loss via decision. The final minute especially saw both fighter’s trying to land the knockout blow, before the fight eventually went to decision.
JMM outpunched Alvarado, connecting on 100 more punches than his opponent. JMM also nearly doubled Alvarado in power punches, connecting on 163 to Alvarado’s 85 and outlanding his opponent in 11 of the fight’s 12 rounds.
Ultimately, it was Marquez’s night in his return to the Forum. The judges scored the fight 117-109, 117-109 and 119-108, a unanimous victory for the 40-year-old who looked right at home in his old stomping grounds.