By Ryan Maquiñana
Juan Manuel Marquez returns to the ring on May 17 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., against Mike Alvarado, but Nacho Beristain intimated Wednesday that the ultimate goal is down the line.
“I’ve had (Juan Manuel) with me since he was 12 years old,” the Mexico City-based trainer said at a news conference announcing the fight. “He’s been fighting for 21 years. Certainly, I’d like to see him retire healthy and be able to enjoy the money’s he made. But right now the most important thing is for him to become the first Latin American fighter to win world titles in five weight classes.”
The bout is being touted as an eliminator for Timothy Bradley’s welterweight world title belt, but Beristain insinuated the designation was more of a formality. Last October, Marquez dropped a split decision to Bradley that could have gone either way, but nonetheless, the losing fighter and trainer continue to feel they were robbed by the judges.
“It’s not really an elimination fight because we have several offers to fight,” Beristain said. “There are plenty of offers, but if we get offered a fight against Bradley again, we would like to take it so we could beat Bradley again.”
Of course, Marquez could always enter a fifth fight with archrival Manny Pacquiao, but Beristain didn’t seem to keen on the idea.
“I’m not really thinking about Pacquiao right now,” Beristain said. “The most important thing is getting that fifth title. I’m not even thinking about the Pacquiao fight. I’m thinking about Alvarado.”
Yes, Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs) has to contend with Alvarado (34-2, 23 KOs), who said Wednesday he was looking to “redeem” himself after losing his junior welterweight title belt to Ruslan Provodnikov in 2013. The Denver native also boldly predicted he would “retire a legend” on May 17. Beristain didn’t seem to take Alvarado’s words too seriously.
“Oh, he wants to retire him?” Beristain said, chuckling. “Well, the most important thing is that it’s going to be a great fight. But even though Alvarardo is bigger and stronger, that guy doesn’t always win.
“… He’s a spectacular fighter. He boxes well. I like his style. But Marquez is the more intelligent fighter, and sometimes the intelligent fighter can beat that type of fighter.”
Note: Miguel Sandoval translated Beristain’s words from Spanish.
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine's Ratings Panel. E-mail him at email@example.com , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.com or follow him on Twitter@RMaq28 . Tags: Timothy Bradley , Juan Manuel Marquez