Julie Jacobson/Associated Press
Juan Manuel Marquez will make his return to the ring, per Dan Rafael, on May 17, taking on former 140-pound champion Mike Alvarado at the newly refurbished Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
The bout, which will be contested at a maximum weight of 143 pounds, will be something of an eliminator for a shot at the WBO welterweight championship. The victor will advance, and earn a shot at whoever emerges champion from the Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao rematch on April 12 in Las Vegas.
Obviously there is some significance to this fight. Marquez, 41, is still a top pound-for-pound fighter, the winner gets a shot at a world title and the once great Forum has historically hosted big fights, including the 1973 rematch between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton.
Marquez has obvious history with Pacquiao—whom he’s engaged with in four epic fights—and Bradley, who defeated him by split decision last October.
But why is it Alvarado who was chosen to get this chance and not say, Ruslan Provodnikov?
Back in February, Marquez told The Ring Magazine that he wasn't interested in a fight with the "Siberian Rocky," who knocked out Alvarado in his last fight to capture a share of the 140-pound championship.
He told Lem Satterfield:
"Fighting with Provodnikov would not gain me anything. I would be fighting for a title that was already mine before and if I beat him, it won't mean much. I want a transcending fight, something that will be historic."
There's not a ton of logic to that statement, given he'll now end up fighting the man Provodnikov made quit in his last fight.
Nobody can fault Marquez for seeking big money, legacy fights at this stage of his career. He's been so good for so long, but he's most certainly in the twilight of a Hall of Fame career.
But let's not sugarcoat this one. It seems that he's taking the easier path to a title shot and a big fight later in the year.
That's well within his rights, but let's at least call it how we see it.