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Marquez-Katsidis: War on the Horizon

Michael Katsidis (right) outworked Vicente Escobedo to earn a shot at Juan Manuel Marquez. The fight is a potential war. (Photo via <a href=""></a>)
Michael Katsidis (right) outworked Vicente Escobedo to earn a shot at Juan Manuel Marquez. The fight is a potential war. (Photo via

Michael Katsidis was cleared of what many thought was a broken jaw in his win over Vicente Escobedo on Saturday night, according to his trainer and manager Brendon Smith. Smith told The Daily Telegraph that they had him checked out, and that there was no fracture.

Smith also said that they're looking forward to negotiating a fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, which Katsidis earned by winning the WBO interim lightweight title in the Escobedo fight. Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KO) was just manhandled by Floyd Mayweather Jr. and there would seem to be a good chance he'll simply go back to lightweight and defend not just his alphabet titles, but his RING Magazine world championship as well.

I think the fight is very, very interesting. The two have two common opponents in Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor.

Marquez knocked out Diaz in the leading candidate for 2009 Fight of the Year. Diaz beat Katsidis via decision last year, but the styles could make the fights. Marquez, a strong and pinpoint counter-puncher, was able to wear down Diaz, who dominated the action in the early going. He no more dented Katsidis than he did Marquez, but Katsidis doesn't have Marquez's overall skills and wasn't able to fire back as well as Marquez did against Diaz. In the end, Diaz outhustled and outworked Katsidis, and was simply outclassed by Marquez, taking vicious shots.

It's also worth taking into account that Katsidis simply had a horrible gameplan against Diaz, not fighting like himself at all. He didn't work the relentless, aggressive style that put him on the world stage in the first place, and nearly saw him stop Casamayor. Marquez became the first man to ever knock out Casamayor in 2008. Against Diaz, Katsidis tried to box, and it failed.

But Marquez-Katsidis? That presents something interesting. Many agree that had Diaz been a bigger puncher, Marquez would have been on dream street at some point in their fight. Katsidis is a harder puncher than Diaz, and he went back to his own style in the Escobedo fight. It served him very well. He got inside on the longer, taller Escobedo almost at will, and stood up to some good shots, as he always does. It was his pressure that led him to the win.

Would Marquez, who is 36 years old now, be able to handle that sort of pressure? Katsidis, slower than Diaz, would likely be wide open for counter shots, but he is such a constant attacker that the opportunities won't present themselves as clearly as they could. Plus, well, Juan Manuel's getting up there in years, and the Mayweather fight was a pretty righteous beating. He's never been stopped, but lots of guys had never been stopped when they just ran out of gas late in their careers. Casamayor against Marquez, obviously, springs to mind right now. I can't really see Katsidis winning a 12-round decision, but I could see him shaking Marquez and then having the power to go in for the kill, which Diaz just did not have.

I actually really hope this fight comes off. Katsidis earned his shot with a win over a good fighter, and he's almost always in good fights, same with Marquez. A win over the younger, stronger Katsidis would clearly affirm that Marquez is still among the best in the sport (and I believe he still is), and a win for Katsidis would establish him as a genuine player.

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