Juan Manuel Marquez Is Set To Retire From Boxing
Published: August 04, 2017
The announcements from this era’s pugilists retiring keep on rolling through as according to ESPN Deportes Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) will soon retire from the sport of boxing. Marquez was last seen in the ring in May 2014 where he won a wide unanimous decision over Mike Alvarado (37-4, 25 KOs) at The Forum in Inglewood, CA. After years of being out of the ring due to injuries and an inability to secure a major fight, Marquez has decided to retire from the sport.
Without question, Marquez will go down as one of the greatest fighters in the history of Mexico. Marquez won titles in the Featherweight (126), Super Featherweight (130), Lightweight (135), and Super Lightweight (140), divisions. The man known as “Dinamita” unified titles at featherweight and lightweight and at 43 years of age with three years of inactivity has nothing else to prove in the sport.
Looking back at Marquez’s career it can be split into chapters. He started in the shadow of his two Mexican contemporaries Marco Antonio Barrera (67-7, 44 KOs) and Erik Morales (52-9, 36 KOs). Marquez began his career as a staple of the Great Western Forum in California along with Barrera. Barrera was able to exceed Marquez because of his style of fighting as Marquez fought strictly in a cautious technical style at this point in his career. Barrera also took advantage of opportunities by providing great action fights such as his fight with Kennedy McKinney on the first installment of HBO’s Boxing After Dark series.
Marquez lost his first title shot to Freddie Norwood (43-4-1, 23 KOs) in 1999 by close unanimous decision and wouldn’t receive another title shot until 2003. He would defeat Manuel Medina (67-16-1, 32 KOs) for the vacant IBF featherweight title. Afterward, he would successfully unify the IBF title with the WBA featherweight title by defeating Derrick Gainer (43-7-1, 25 KOs) at the end of 2003. By this time both Barrera and Morales had completely eclipsed Marquez in the level of competition faced, popularity, and championships won. Marquez would get his chance to prove that he was as good as either of them when he met Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) in May 2004.
The Marquez-Pacquiao rivalry is one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport and what Marquez will be most remembered for. The rivalry, however, almost ended in just the first round. It is rare for a referee to let a fight go on after a fighter has been knocked down three times in the same round especially against a puncher like Pacquiao. Referee Joe Cortez let the fight continue and gave fans a gift as Marquez fought his way back in a great fight to earn a draw. The bout was important for Marquez as it gave him the marquee fight that had long been missing from his career. The thought at the time was that Marquez would now be able to capitalize and only bigger fights with higher paydays would come from here on out. Unfortunately, the next chapter of his career may have been the worse as Marquez faded into the doldrums of the sport.
Unable to come to an agreement for a rematch with Pacquiao, Marquez found himself fighting on undercards while Pacquiao ascended further into super stardom headlining major pay-per-view (PPV) events. The low point came for Marquez in 2006 when he traveled to Indonesia for a reported amount of little over $30,000 to face Chris John (48-1-3, 22 KOs). Marquez would lose a unanimous decision to John and had now lost his main leverage in the sport, as he no longer held any titles. This was the tipping point for Marquez, as he would alter his style to be more fan-friendly highlighting more of his ability to put together beautiful combinations.
It started with two exciting stoppage victories over tough contenders Terdsak Kokietgym (62-5-1, 41 KOs) and Jimrex Jaca (40-8-4, 22 KOs). This led Marquez to move up to the super featherweight division to finally get his shot against Barrera for the WBC championship. The fight lived up to the hype providing fans with a highly skilled technical action bout that can be shown to novices as a perfect representative of the sweet science.
Now the time was for the rematch with Pacquiao. In March 2008, Marquez met Pacquiao in another fantastic fight that is arguably the best of their rivalry. Pacquiao that night got a close split decision victory in a fight that could have been scored either way.
Marquez’s obsession with Pacquiao became apparent from this point forward as he followed the Filipino as he moved up weight-classes. One of the most exciting portions of Marquez’s career came as a lightweight as he participated in some amazing fights in the division. It started with his fight with Joel Casamayor (38-6-1, 22 KOs) in September 2008 that is arguably the best performance of his career. Marquez would be the first fighter to stop Casamayor as he got the stoppage in the 11th round.
The next fight for Marquez would be one of his most memorable as it took place in Houston, Texas against hometown hero Juan Diaz (42-4, 21 KOs). The fight with Diaz would win fight of the year honors for 2009 with Marquez scoring a ninth round stoppage. Marquez would then make an ill-advised trip to the welterweight division to face the then retired Floyd Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs). Mayweather dominated Marquez winning almost every round.
Marquez returned to the lightweight division and once again participated in exciting fights. He fought a rematch with Diaz and fought in another fight of the year contender in November 2010 against Michael Katsidis (32-7, 24 KOs). Pacquiao was still on Marquez’s mind. Marquez decided to take the chance even as a nine to one underdog to move back up to welterweight to meet the now eight-division champion. The rubber-match occurred in November 2011 and would be the most controversial of the rivalry.
Pacquiao would once again escape with a close majority decision. Fortunately for Marquez, he would get his chance a year later in December 2012 to put an end to the rivalry for good. In the infamous fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez, Marquez scored an unexpected, devastating knockout in the sixth round with a perfectly timed right hand. It would be the biggest victory of Marquez’s career and arguably the greatest victory in the history of Mexican boxing. The fight would go on to win fight of the year honors in 2012. The bout was successful at the box office as well selling over a million PPV buys.
What comes up must come down. After reaching the highest point of his career with the knockout over Pacquiao, Marquez would go on to only have two more fights. Marquez would again attempt to become Mexico’s first five-division champion this time against Timothy Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs). Bradley would have a career best performance when the two met in October 2013 and won a split decision victory over Marquez.
While Marquez was never able to get that coveted fifth championship in five divisions, it has no real bearing on his overall status as one of this era’s greatest fighters. Marquez had 18 world title fights, participated in at least two matches that won fight of the year honors and became one of the most financially viable fighters of the era having help sell almost five million in PPV buys. That is just the icing on the cake as his skill; ability to counter punch and throw in combination will be studied by generations to come.
Frontproof Media would like to wish Juan Manuel Marquez the very best in his retirement and to thank him for all that he has given to the sport.
(Feature Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)