Tonight's Boxing After Dark fight, between Juan Manuel Marquez and Jimrex Jaca, was a surprisingly brawlish affair, won by Marquez with a killer ninth round knockout on a big left hook.
Jaca was very impressive in this fight, despite that I had him winning just one round. Jaca is only 23, and while he doesn't have the KO power that could make him a star like his countryman Manny Pacquiao, he proved himself as a quality boxer tonight against Marquez, who was the heavy favorite.
This was really a very, very good fight that I honestly didn't expect a ton out of.
I would like to expand upon my thoughts from last night, since I was dog tired after the fight was over.
Like most are saying, this fight and this performance could go a long way toward getting Marquez a big fight, perhaps a rematch with Pacquiao, this time at 130. He could also step up to fight Barrera at 130, if Barrera isn't too keen on fighting Pacquiao (which you might call career preservation, since Pacquiao is likely just too furious and too in his prime for Barrera right now, as much as I respect Barrera), or if the Golden Boy/Top Rank war prevents Pacquiao/Barrera from happening, which it very well could.
Marquez stood toe-to-toe from the opening bell, and Jaca, again, deserves credit for providing that fight, and for doing quite well. The three official scorecards had him blanked by Marquez, and I had him winning just one round, but Jaca made every round one you thought about after it was over. There was no, "Yeah, Marquez clearly won that one," I gave every round a second or fifth thought.
Marquez was the better, more experienced, more powerful fighter. He looked a little slower than he has in the past, but that will happen at 33. If Marquez fought Pacquiao, I don't think he could beat him. Pacquiao is too fast and too powerful. Then again, the last time it happened, you could have said the same thing, and Marquez simply used his superior technical ability to outbox Pacquiao after Manny overwhelmed him early on in the fight.
Juan Manuel Marquez deserves a money fight against someone. There are other avenues to explore, like a rematch with Chris John. We'll see, I suppose.
As for Jaca, he may well have a pretty nice future ahead of him. He made a nice showing for himself against a superb boxer last night, and I was far more impressed with him than I thought I would be, which seems to be the consensus opinion.
Next Saturday we're going to be live with two big cards. I will be covering HBO's presentation of Winky Wright v. Ike Quartey and Jeff Lacy v. Vitali Tsypko, while Kevin and Matt will be on the case for Antonio Margarito v. Joshua Clottey and Carlos Quintana v. Miguel Cotto on Showtime. We hope you'll join us, and we also hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend.