By Keith Idec
Juan Manuel Marquez is resisting what would be a natural inclination to underestimate Sergey Fedchenko.
Though honest about his true motivation for continuing his Hall-of-Fame career — a fourth fight against rival Manny Pacquiao — Marquez maintains a healthy respect for Fedchenko, his opponent Saturday night in Mexico City. Fedchenko is basically unknown to fight fans, but Marquez realizes he represents an opportunity for Fedchenko to change the 31-year-old Ukrainian contender’s life.
“Fedchenko has a difficult style,” Marquez said. “I will try to do my job in the ring because Fedchenko is a dangerous fighter. I have trained very hard for this fight. I train very hard because in the ring, anything can happen. Fedchenko is coming to Mexico wanting to win this fight.”
The 38-year-old Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) will attempt to win a world title in a fourth weight class against Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs), whose lone loss was a 12-round majority decision to South Africa’s Kaizer Mabuza (24-8-3, 15 KOs) in September 2009. Their 12-round fight has been sanctioned by the WBO for the Puerto Rico-based sanctioning organization’s interim junior welterweight title (Timothy Bradley is its 140-pound champion).
Their pay-per-view fight ($44.95; 9 p.m. ET) also is meaningful for Marquez because it’s his first bout in his native Mexico City in more than 17 years.
Marquez hasn’t boxed in the Mexican capital since knocking out fellow Mexican Jose Luis Montes during the second round in November 1994. That was Marquez’s eighth professional fight. He has fought just once in Mexico since stopping Montes, and that first-round technical knockout of Colombia’s Likar Ramos (24-4, 18 KOs) lasted less than two minutes July 16 in Cancun.
“I feel very happy because I get to give back to my country and people want to see this fight,” Marquez said. “I started my career here in Mexico City with my first eight fights. Then I fought in Los Angeles and in many other places. Now I am back in Mexico and I have a great opponent.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.