If fans get their wish, the Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado bout on Saturday from The Forum in Inglewood, California, will be a slugfest.
The fight will air on HBO at 9 p.m. ET as part of the legendary World Championship Boxing series, though no titles are on the line.
Both men have been known to engage in wars in previous bouts, but that style may not suit both men on Saturday.
Alvarado has demonstrated the boxing ability to pick apart slugging, one-dimensional opponents in the past.
He used this strategy to outpoint Brandon Rios in their second meeting. Unfortunately for Alvarado, Marquez, at his best, is not a one-dimensional slugger.
He can box or duke it out, depending on the situation and the opponent. Opponents who have been able to keep him at a distance and out-box him have been fighters with a decisive speed advantage.
Alvarado isn't one of those fighters.
From listening to him, it sounds as if Alvarado has a great game plan.
We all know what Mike Tyson says about game plans...everyone has one until they get punched in the mouth.
Against Marquez, that's almost certain to happen. Even at 40 years old, Marquez hasn't shown any real indications that he's not the fighter he once was.
Alvarado is a proud and tough fighter. If he takes some shots from Marquez, he's going to want to fire back to return the favor.
As cool as that will be to watch, it's not the right approach for him.
Because he doesn't have the speed to keep Marquez away for 12 rounds, it's inevitable the fight will turn into a brawl.
When that happens, Marquez will emerge victorious based on harder punches and a better chin.
Look for a late-round stoppage win for Marquez.
Perhaps this is the thought process of the oddsmakers. Per Steve Kim of Max Boxing, Marquez is the clear favorite.
Though both men lost their last fights, the opponent and result could have factored in to the odds as much as the fighters' styles.
Alvarado was stopped by hard-punching Siberian Ruslan Provodnikov. Alvarado lost the WBO light welterweight title he had just won from Rios in his previous fight in the process.
Marquez dropped a split-decision to Timothy Bradley. Bradley had defeated Provodnikov in a thrilling bout in early 2013. One could argue that Marquez's loss was a more respectable defeat than Alvarado's.
Bleacher Report's Briggs Seekins sees the fight unfolding as I do.
He writes: "I pick Marquez to win in nine rounds. If Alvarado presses hard and sells out aggressively as he falls behind, we could see a late stoppage for Marquez."
This plays into the aforementioned quote from Alvarado about making adjustments. If he presses the action, it'll play into Marquez's hands.
Not everyone sees Marquez coming out on top. Norm Frauenheim of The Ring Magazine likes Alvarado. He says:
At 33, Alvarado has mileage on him. But Marquez won’t rough him up the way Ruslan Provodnikov did. Alvarado is younger. More important, he’s bigger. Look for him to be patient early and aggressive late in Marquez’s last fight before his Hall of Fame induction.
If Marquez gets old on Saturday night, the outcome Frauenheim speaks of could very well come to pass. However, it seems more likely Marquez counterpunches Father Time for one more fight.
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