By Cliff Rold
It’s the sort of fight that could sneak up on everyone.
Matching a former 108 lb. titlist whose career has come off the rails, and a former Flyweight titlist trying to rebuild from a devastating loss, on a weekend when US TV is almost dark boxing wise, many might not realize this fight is even going on.
And it has the ingredients of a war.
Let’s go to the report cards.
Hernan “Tyson” Marquez
Previous Titles: WBA Flyweight (2011-12, 2 Defenses)
Weight: 112 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 113.8 lbs.
Hails from: Empalme, Sonora, Mexico
Record: 34-3, 26 KO, 2 KOBY
Rankings: #3 (ESPN, Ring), #6 (BoxingScene, TBRB), #7 (BoxRec)
Record in Major Title Fights: 3-1, 3 KO, 1 KOBY (3-2, 3 KO, 2 KOBY including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 3 (Nonito Donaire TKO by 8; Luis Concepcion TKO11, TKO1; Brian Viloria TKO by 10)
Previous Titles: IBF Light Flyweight (2010)
Weight: 112 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 111.6 lbs.
Hails from: Sincelejo, Colombia
Record: 23-7-1, 17 KO, 1 KOBY
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-2, 1 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 4 (Giovanni Segura L12; Omar Narvaez L12; Brian Viloria TKO12; Luis Lazarte L12)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Marquez B; Tamara C+
Pre-Fight: Power –Marquez A-; Tamara B
Pre-Fight: Defense –Marquez B; Tamara C-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Marquez B+; Tamara B
For those with Azteca America, this might be playing Saturday (10 PM EST). One never knows, as Azteca America’s airing schedule can vary from cable provider to cable provider. Otherwise, this is likely a YouTube Sunday morning special.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Flyweights and Cheerios are a fine combination.
Both of these men enter having seen time with Brian Viloria. For Tamara, it was a career highlight. Behind on the cards in a tough fight, Tamara took everything Viloria could dish out and came on strong to hand an exhausted Viloria the only stoppage loss of his career in the final round. He lifted a 108 lb. title belt, keeping it until a first defense on the road versus Luis Lazarte. Tamara is 2-3-1 since the Viloria win.
Marquez, who won a Flyweight crown in one of 2011’s best fights versus Luis Concepcion, faced Viloria last year in a unification clash. For the second year in a row, Marquez was in one of the best fights of the year. This time, he was on the losing end, stopped in the tenth. In his only start since, Marquez scored an early stoppage.
Given his youth, skill level, and better overall career mark, one would expect Marquez to be a favored here despite the difference in outcomes with Viloria. Marquez is the quicker man, throws the shorter shots, and puts his punches together better.
Tamara will still have his chances. The Colombian is a tough customer. His losses since the Viloria fight haven’t necessarily been indicative of a fighter in decline. Lazarte has home turf in their title affair and it might have gone the other way elsewhere. Milan Melindo was, and remains, an undefeated contender who will challenge for a Flyweight title later this summer. Tamara also lost to Ricardo Nunez, the sole stoppage defeat of his career. And, while he was down in the fifth round, the sixth round finish was on his feet and with a bad cut working against him.
Nunez followed that win with losing but exciting loss to outstanding IBF Flyweight titlist Moruti Mthlane. In other words, Tamara is losing but he’s losing to high-level opposition. His strengths as a fighter remain. He has solid stamina, he’s durable, and he keeps winging.
Marquez, for all his assets, can be hurt. Tamara doesn’t appear to have the power of a Viloria, Donaire, or Concepcion, all of whom had Marquez on the floor. However, he has heavy enough hands to make the late rounds tricky. If he hangs around, those hands will hurt more in later rounds.
This looks like a place to safely side with conventional wisdom. Tamara is tough, but there is a reason he usually comes up short with the better men he fights. Marquez is still an excellent little fighter and will have eyes on future titles as he continues to rebuild from the disappointment of the Viloria loss. The pick here is Marquez by decision with the potential for a stoppage from accumulated punishment in the second half of the fight.
Report Card Picks 2013: 20-14
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transanational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com