Juan Manuel Márquez Loses Cred As "Mexican" Boxer

Eric GomezAnalyst ISeptember 20, 2009

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 19:  Floyd Mayweather Jr. (R) hits Juan Manuel Marquez in the 11th round of their fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

When Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Juan Manuel Márquez exited the ring Saturday night at the MGM Grand, there was no doubt as to who was No. 1 in any language.

Never mind the post-fight theatrics between "Sugar" Shane Mosley, Mayweather, and an absolutely annoying HBO commentator in Max Kellerman.

Huge fights often fail to live up to the hype that is created in the prior months by the larger-than-life posters, the trash talk, the countless episodes of 24/7, and the circus that is a Las Vegas venue.

However, casual and hardcore boxing fans alike seemingly had a lot to look forward to when the hard-hitting Juan Manuel Márquez was paired up with the technically flawless Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

One of those men held up their part of the bargain by honoring their reputation.

It's not at all shocking that Márquez's punches were stifled more often than not by Mayweather's dazzling mix of speed and defensive skill. What is shocking is Juan Manuel's failure to consistently attack and display that style that he's known for.

Though Márquez was correctly billed by experts prior to the fight as being mainly an effective counter puncher, he is also a true Mexican fighter, one who can ignore an opposer's punches and evasive maneuvers in order to brawl to victory.

That is, until his fight with Mayweather.

The blood-thirsty Márquez seen against Juan Díaz and Manny Pacquiao was decidedly MIA at the MGM Grand, cautiously pawing at Mayweather and refusing to try to combine his attacks and execute consistent pressure.

Whenever Juan got a clean shot on his opponent, Mayweather would let the world know by smiling and playfully asking for more.

The Mexican never obliged.

Round after round, the story was exactly the same: Márquez threw a few punches that were slapped away by Mayweather, while "Money" connected a few strong jabs in between Marquez's futile advances.

Juan's failure to advance the "Mexican" style of boxing was a shock even to the men calling the fight.

Ultimately, the challenger's desperation opened up more offensive opportunities for Mayweather, who decided against risking too much, thus maintaining the fight's status quo.

The largely pro-Márquez crowd was silenced time and time again as it became apparent that their hero had been replaced on the ring by an impostor, and must've wondered if trainer Ignacio Beristain had placed some invisible restraints on Márquez's wrists.

By the time it was over, and before that unfortunate quarrel between Mosley (desperately seeking a big "Money" fight), Mayweather and the eye-rolling Kellerman, we caught a glimpse of Floyd's standard post-fight speech.

In praising Márquez, the champ was either clearly being nice, or was genuinely thankful that the Mexican had no interest in hurting him.

Meanwhile, the Juan Manuel interview was handled in a much less scandalous surrounding and environment.

Márquez's comments, however, were.

Before the fight, he downplayed that fact that Floyd came in at three pounds above the weight that was agreed upon, and gladly accepted a six-figure gift in exchange for the oversight.

After the fight, Márquez blamed the loss on his lighter frame.

Why'd he take the money, then?

He also excused himself about the fact that he had never fought at that weight class prior to that night, and stated that "two or three fights [to ease in] would've been good."

Why didn't he, then?

Surprisingly, he wasn't asked about the fact that he failed to be a consummate aggressor, that same one who made life miserable twice for Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather's next target.

A lack of fighting spirit? That's something you can't blame on a couple extra pounds, Juan.