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Marquez returns to the ring on Saturday night at the recently redone Forum in Inglewood, California, and the Mexican legend and future Hall of Famer seems to be taking the path of less resistance.
In his last contest, a welterweight championship challenge against then-undefeated Timothy Bradley last October, Marquez was outboxed by the younger man and had a great deal of difficulty landing clean punches. The fight was somewhat close, yes, but the correct man had his hand raised, despite overblown protestations of a robbery.
Marquez comes up against another younger man in this bout in Alvarado, a former junior welterweight champion. However, unlike the Bradley fight, where the onus was on the champion to prove himself, the weight of expectations has shifted here.
Alvarado is coming off a loss to current WBO 140-pound champion Ruslan Provodnikov, a fight where he quit in front of his hometown fans. While he's tough, few are expecting Alvarado to win.
This fight is a bit of a head-scratcher for Marquez. In January, he told Lem Satterfield of The Ring Magazine that he wasn’t interested in a fight with Provodnikov because all he wanted was another championship and fights that build his legacy.
That makes sense. Marquez will be 41 later this year, and he shouldn’t be bothering with insignificant fights at this point.
But Provodnikov is the champion, and what’s more, he took that belt from Alvarado. And he did it by making him quit at home. So that logic seems a bit shoddy at best.
Marquez should just be straight up. Provodnikov was just too dangerous at this stage, especially with a potentially lucrative fight greeting the winner of this bout. This may not be the easy road—if Alvarado brings his A-game, it could be interesting—but it’s certainly the easier road.
So let's just call it that.