"Dinamita" Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1) won a hard-fought unanimous decision over "Mile High" Mike Alvarado (34-3) on Saturday at The Forum in Los Angeles.
The bout featured knockdowns, cuts and tons of action. This was good boxing.
ESPN's Dan Rafael had the final scorecards.
The boxing and sports community applauded both fighter's efforts.
Asked what he expected from this bout, per Top Rank Boxing's Twitter account, Marquez knew a war was coming.
In the first three rounds, Marquez slowly built momentum. He seemed to be trying to capture Alvarado's timing. Alvarado had a solid first round, but Marquez took the second and third with accurate counter punching.
In rounds 4-6, Marquez began to dominate. He routinely beat Alvarado to the punch, slipped his jab and countered with sizzling combinations.
In the seventh, Marquez continued to pour it on. A cut under Alvarado's right eye became a serious issue. Like a veteran, Marquez didn't become preoccupied with targeting it.
Instead, he continued to mix it up, going to the body and head with hard shots.
In the eighth round, Marquez dropped Alvarado with a big right hand. It sent Alvarado sprawling under the bottom rope. Luckily for him, it happened at the end of the round.
The bell saved him, but it took a few moments in the corner for Alvarado to gain his wherewithal.
In the ninth round, Alvarado showed his heart. He bit down on his mouthpiece and came out firing.
A hard, short right hand sent Marquez down, but he wasn't quite as hurt as Alvarado at the end of the eighth.
Suddenly, we had a brawl on our hands.
In rounds 10-12, the men continued to bang. In the 11th round, Alvarado nearly knocked Marquez down again with a straight right hand.
Marquez used a balancing act to stay up, similar to the one he pulled in the 12th round against Timothy Bradley in his last fight.
By the end of the fight, it seemed Marquez was the one that didn't have the power to finish. Still, he landed more clean punches and combinations late.
Though Alvarado lost, he didn't lose any respect within the boxing community. He showed amazing heart and resolve in defeat. He should still have an opportunity to face a major name in his next bout.
Marquez became the mandatory challenger for the WBO welterweight championship held by, wait for it...Manny Pacquiao.
When Marquez was asked if he would indeed fight Pacquiao for a fifth time, he was non-committal.
In any case, the stage is set for another battle with his rival. Love it or hate it, that's the most likely next step.
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