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Juan Manuel Lopez Tops Rafael Marquez in Vegas Brawl

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Rafael Marquez showed he's still got a lot left in the tank, but the 35-year-old Mexican Hall of Famer-to-be retired from his fight with Juan Manuel Lopez after eight rounds due to either a shoulder or chest injury, keeping Lopez undefeated.

In front of a rabid crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Lopez (30-0, 27 KO) and Marquez (39-6, 35 KO) engaged in the sort of balls to the wall, all-out warfare we all expected as soon as the fight was signed. It proved to be worth the extra wait after its original September date was canceled. Both men were hurt in the fight, and both held up and fought aggressively, and even often recklessly, just as you'd expect. If Marquez was expected to struggle with taking big shots at featherweight, he had no more trouble with Lopez's power than he did with Israel Vazquez's at 122. He showed he can hold up. What this fight took out of him remains to be seen.

For Lopez, this is the best win of his career. Both fighters were clearly going for a knockout, to prove they were the stronger, better man. With all the Mexico v. Puerto Rico history, that was to be expected, and Lopez stuck himself into that historic rivalry with great vigor tonight. He was clearly full of fire and there to fight hard.

Was this a Fight of the Year contender? You betcha. Lopez and Marquez simply rocked each other all night, and tore into one another with fierce abandon. Describing the action in a recap is tough, and I won't do that. Hopefully, you saw the fight. If not, catch a replay.

We continue tonight's round-by-round coverage here with the HBO Boxing After Dark main event between Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse, coming shortly. But what a start to November today has been.

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