By Don Donatello
Are you kidding me? Juan Manuel Marquez is fighting some guy named Michael Katsidis? Isn’t this the same guy who lost to Juan Diaz. So now Marquez is fighting someone who lost to a guy that he just beat twice? Why isn’t Marquez fighting someone who also beat Juan Diaz twice, Paulie Malignaggi? Ricky Hatton would love to fight Marquez. How about Juan fighting some slick African American fighters like Devon Alexander, Timothy Bradley, or Andre Berto? Looks like Marquez is trying to protect his prospect of getting a third fight with Manny Pacquiao.
A win over Katsidis is not going to make Marquez any closer to a fight with Pacquiao.
On the other hand, Katsidis is being under estimated by the Marquez camp.
By all accounts, Marquez is a more accomplished fighter than Katsidis. Marquez is a Hall of Fame candidate. Katsidis’ will never be considered as a Hall of Fame fighter. And Katsidis can be considered another Juan Diaz type fighter going against Marquez. With that said, Marquez should easily beat Katsidis, right? Well, not really.
Boxing is about styles; it is also about the timing and point where a boxer’s career is. An average fighter can give great fighter problems, and possibly win, if he had the right style to do it. A few examples are Ken Norton/Muhammad Ali, Frankie Randall/Julio Cesar Chavez, Junior Jones/Marco Antonio Barrera, and Antonio Tarver/Roy Jones Jr. All were great fighters being beaten by an average fighter due to styles.
Marquez is one of the purist counter punchers in boxing. A counter puncher needs proper space and timing to apply his style effectively. Take those two away and the counter punchers become ineffective. Trading punches in the middle of the ring with the CP(counter-puncher) is the wrong thing to do, that’s his element.
To be effective against a CP, box and keep away at a safe distance, or get on his chest and crowd him take away the space he needs to operate. Crowding a CP takes away his ability to time his opponent’s punches. Juan Diaz was very successful doing this when he pressed hard and attacked to keep Marquez against the ropes. When Diaz stopped crowding Marquez against the ropes and fought Marquez in the center of the ring, he lost that battle. In their second fight, Diaz abandoned his pressure attack, tried to box Marquez, and failed greatly. Diaz is not quick enough to successfully box, dart in, and punch out, against Marquez. To box a counter puncher, quickness and speed are tools that are required. A quick boxer is too fast to be timed by the CP, he gets in, throws a punch or two, and back away at a safe distance. Floyd Mayweather became a boxer and applied this against Marquez. Before the fight, both combatants were considered as counter punchers.
Michael Katsidis can beat Marquez if he applies the right strategy. For Katsidis to win, he must employ lots of pressure and crowd Marquez against the ropes. The first two rounds in the first Marquez/Diaz fight should be Katsidis’ blueprint in fighting Marquez. If Katsidis is able and does that consistently through the entire fight, he might beat Marquez.
Marquez is considered old for a boxer. Katsidis can use this to his advantage; he needs to put on a torrid pace from beginning to end.
For Katsidis to win, he must pressure Marquez, get him against the ropes, keep him there, and stay busy. If Katsidis fails to do those, Marquez will counter him and possibly stop him in the late rounds.
Boxing is also a business. It’s a business first and second as a sport. With a potential third fight with Pacquiao in the background, and Marquez having a large Mexican following, Katsidis will not get any kind of decision in a close fight; he will have to have a dominant performance over Marquez to win by decision.
The only way Katsidis can dominate Marquez is to do what I described; pressure, attack, stay on his chest, don’t give Marquez room to operate, and keep him against the ropes. Can Katsidis do it consistently for 12 rounds? No way, Jose, not for 12 rounds. Katsidis will probably need a knockout to win.
Katsidis will give a good effort, but Marquez will win a hard fought fight similar to the first Marquez/Diaz bout.
Marquez will have to get old overnight for Katsidis to win.
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