By Francisco Salazar
The war that fight fans and media expected between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado did not really materialize during the first six rounds of the fight - because both fighters saved their best for the second half of the contest.
When it was all said and done, despite getting knocked down during the fight, Marquez walked out with a 12 round unanimous decision victory before an announced crowd of 12,090 at The Forum in Inglewood, CA on Saturday night.
The victory over Alvarado gave the 40-year-old Marquez another significant payday or a crack at a world title belt down the line.
Both Marquez and Alvarado were looking for redemptions of sorts since they had lost their previous bouts. Marquez lost a 12 round split decision to Timothy Bradley on October 12 in Las Vegas, making some wonder whether age was catching up to the fighter from Mexico City, DF, Mexico.
Alvarado was coming off a stoppage loss after the 10th round at the hands of hard-hitting Ruslan Provodnikov on October 19. There were rumblings during the week of the fight that Alvarado was spending more time with friends and not enough time in the gym.
From the opening bell, Marquez landed at will, repeatedly landing counter or straight right hands to the head and left hooks to the body of Alvarado. During the first half of the fight, Alvarado would be in punching range, but did little to engage with Marquez, likely wary of his punching power.
Sensing he was down in the middle rounds, Alvarado tried to walk Marquez down, looking to initiate and land his own combinations. He did find some success as he let his hands go, connecting to the head of Marquez.
In the eighth round, Marquez swung the small momentum Alvarado was gaining in his favor when he feinted and dropped Alvarado with a counter right cross to the head. Alvarado landed under the ring ropes, stood up,and made it until the final bell.
If Alvarado had to make something happen in the fight, it was in the ninth round. His persistence paid off when he dropped Marquez midway through the round with a right hand of his own. After getting up, Marquez took the fight to Alvarado. Both engaged in heated exchanges that brought the crowd to its feet.
Both fighters had their moments in the 10th round, but it was no where near the ferocity both exhibited during the previous round. Alvarado looked as though he might have scored a flash knockdown in the 11th round, but replays showed Marquez's knee did not touch the canvas.
Any attempt Alvarado had to rally in the final round was wiped out when Marquez hung in the pocket with him, taking his best punches and stopping his attack by landing to the head.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Marquez, 117-109, 117-109, and 119-108. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 117-109 for Marquez.
A possible fight with Manny Pacquiao was the topic after the fight, but Marquez was evasive on whether that was in his plans. Alvarado has had a murderer's row of opponents in the last couple of years and some wonder whether he can be the same fighter that he was three years ago, despite a valiant effort on Saturday night.
Marquez improves to 56-7-1, 40 KOs, while Alvarado, from Thornton, CO, drops to 34-3, 23 KOs.
Postol knocks out Aydin
In what was leading up to be a boring fight, Victor Postol scored a spectacular 11th round knockout over Selcuk Aydin
After a dull first half of the opening round, Aydin got the fans' attention by landing a left hook to the head that sent Postol reeling backwards against the ropes. Postol was not visibly hurt and was able to finish the round.
He got Aydin's attention by landing a right hand to the head in the second round, stopping any aggression Aydin showed at that point.
The pace of the fight slowed considerably, drawing boos and whistles from the pro-Mexican crowd that expected both fighters to attack one another. The crowd did little to muster any energy out of both fighters, as both fought at a very tactical and steady pace.
Aydin spend a majority of the second half of the fight walking Postol down. Postol rarely engaged in the pocket, keeping his distance away with a jab and following up with an occasional right hand.
Both began to engage more in the 11th round, with Postol attacking the body more. Likely out of frustration, Aydin landed a punch behind Postol's had, prompting referee Raul Caiz, Jr. to deduct a point. With about 10 seconds left in the round, Postol landed a right cross, followed by a right uppercut to the head of Aydin, dropping him hard to the canvas. Referee Caiz did not even bother to count, waving the fight over 2:52.
With the victory, Postol becomes the mandatory challenger to Danny Garcia, who holds the WBC super lightweight title.
Postol, from Kiev, Ukraine, improves to 26-0, 11 KOs. Aydin, from Trazbon, Turkey, drops to 26-3, 19 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter on FSalazarBoxing