By Cliff Rold
The event at the center of this fistic week?
Not the subject here.
Nope, this space is being reserved for something else. Something smaller. The big boys will be wrapped, barking up a new round of trash talk or serving up some humble pie. The eyes of the world that are fixed on Hamburg, Germany won’t have much concern for the happenings some ten hours or so later in Sonora, Mexico.
In a fairer world, they would.
Mexico’s WBA 112 lb. titlist Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (30-2, 23 KO) is making the first defense of his crown. He’s got a real challenge in Filipino Edrin Dapudong (22-3, 13 KO). It promises to be a pretty good scrap on Fox Deportes (11 PM EST).
On that grounds alone, it would merit a look but there is more here. There is the shadow of April 2, 2011.
That was the day Marquez won his belt.
It might turn out to have been the day the 2011 Fight of the Year took place.
Over eleven rounds, Marquez and then-beltholder Luis Concepcion beat the hell out of each other in front of a rabid crowd in Panama. Haven’t seen it yet? No excuses. It’s all over YouTube. Go see it. It hasn’t quite caught the fire yet that Somsak Sithchatchwal-Mahyar Monshipoiur did in 2006 but the year is still young. It could, though unlike 2006, the competition is think to date this year.
Still, there is no denying the quality of Marquez-Concepcion. It speaks for itself, a vivid, violent illustration of what it takes to be a Fight of the Year front-runner at the midway point of the year. It had more action in eleven rounds than most of the Heavyweight division has delivered in the last few years.
As reported at BoxingScene by Miguel Rivera:
Concepcion came out with furious assault. He was taking the fight to Marquez within seconds and had the Mexcian fighter on the run. In the second minute, Concepcion caught Marquez with a very big counter hook to put him down. Marquez beat the count and made a decision to stand and trade punches. Concepcion appeared be too much bigger and stronger than his opponent. Concepcion was laying the punches on Marquez against the ropes when the Mexcican boxer landed a counter hook of his own and put the champion down at the bell. Concepcion quickly jumped up as the ref began a count.
The second round started with more trading by both boxers. Concepcion was more selective with his punches. He was landing the straight right hand often, and the uppercut up the middle. In the final minute they both stood their ground and were trading power shots at close range. There was no defense by either boxer. They were taking heavy blows. Marquez was taking more damage and almost went down for a second time as Concepcion started doubling up on the combinations.
At the start of the third, Marquez scored another quick knockdown on Concepcion. They continued to trade punches, shot for shot, as a packed house was standing on their feet. Concepcion got rocked again in the final minute of the round with a heavy combination of punches. This time Marquez was pressing the action and landing huge punches on the champion. Concepcion was somehow able to stay off the canvas and even traded punches in return.
Concepcion came out pressing in the fourth. Marquez was more confident in his ability to hurt the champion and stood his ground to trade punches instead of running from the exchanges. Marquez was rocking Concepcion with punches from both hands. The champion's face began to swell up.
A loud "Nica" chant began in the fifth round. The crowd was trying to lift the champion. Marquez was getting the better of the champion during their exchanges and his punches were doing more damage in the ring.
Concepcion could not switch up his plan of attack. He only knows how to fight, by coming forward and trading big punches. Marquez was staying on his toes and catching Concepcion with counters coming inside. In the final minute he started attacking Concepcion with counters, but then the champion started landing big straight punches and then Marquez came back to hurt the champion with combinations.
The action slowed down in the seventh round for the first two minutes. They started trading again when the final minute of the round hit. Marquez was still landing better and picking off the champion.
The eight round was the slowest in the fight. They again waited until the final minute to start trading. Concpecion tried to jump on Marquez, who kept his distance and did well to pick his punches.
The champion was looking for one big shot to end the fight in the ninth. Marquez was not going down without a fight. He was outboxing Concepcion and landing heavy blows to score points.
Marquez started pressing the action in the tenth and taking the fight to the champion. Marquez wanted to close strong in the championship rounds. Concepcion was still looking for one big shot and once again he was knocked down by a counter shot from Marquez. Concpecion went after Marquez and they were trading furious exchanges. The entire arena was once again on their feet as Marquez was hurt by a right hand as they traded punches.
Before the start of the eleventh round, the ringside doctor took a look the badly swollen eyes of Concepcion and stopped the fight. He felt Concepcion's face had taken too much damage.
Now, just a few months later, having survived the first round knockdown, dishing some floor trips of his own, and surviving the final furious Concepcion rush in the tenth, Marquez returns. Whether still basking in the glow of a great Heavyweight fight, or lamenting another stinker, Marquez-Dapudong offers the perfect nightcap (or, overseas, breakfast-cap).
His effort in April earned the attention of anyone who loves boxing. The chance that something like it could happen again given well-matched styles demands it.
More Flyweight Intrigue
A Marquez win this weekend could, maybe, set up some highly intriguing business at 112 lbs. Consider that lineal Jr. Flyweight king and all-out warrior Giovanni Segura has moved up a class and it appears he’ll stay. Lineal Flyweight Champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam has a stay-busy type defense this weekend (it looks like that anyways…one never knows) and then should be heading towards the formidable Edgar Sosa. If Sosa were to defeat the Thai leader of the pack, Mexico would have three very fan friendly Flyweights in class at the same time.
Put the ingredients in place and sometimes a stew can take care of itself, right?
But wait, there’s more…
Garbage Scorecards: http://www.boxingscene.com/smells-like-home-cookin-review-ratings-update--40837
Divisional Ratings Update: http://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings
God Bless Texas: http://www.boxingscene.com/texas-stars-cowboy-up-vera-kirkland-shine--40763
Montiel Brings Out the Dog in Cermeno: http://www.boxingscene.com/back-from-abyss-montiel-ready-big-fights--40806
Picks of the Week: http://www.boxingscene.com/boxingscenecoms-television-picks-week--40870
Cliff’s Notes…It’s worth asking. In this big Heavyweight Championship Fight week, is this what it’s like to be a soccer fan in the States? I ask because, in many ports of call around the globe, Klitschko-Haye is the biggest thing in sport this week. Here in the States, it’s just the biggest thing in boxing this week. I watch every four years as soccer fans roll into bars and pretend other Americans care about the world’s biggest game. Most don’t. That’s sort of the odd dynamic this week. In it’s own way, that’s pretty cool…Hopkins-Dawson at the Prudential Center? Let’s call that arena the house that Tomasz built…Yuri Gamboa-Jhonny Gonzalez? That’s a pretty good idea…Just started watching Season One of Friday Night Lights. It is everything good heard about it and then some. Epic quality…Rest in peace Nick Charles and Billy Costello. Charles once sent me a short e-mail complimenting a ShoBox recap authored for this site. I saved it and it remains, as it was then, one of my favorite pieces of mail ever.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]