Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Michael Katsidis: Blood, Sweat and a Beautiful Match

Justin TateCorrespondent INovember 28, 2010

Marquez put on another fight of the year performance and he better win or else...
Marquez put on another fight of the year performance and he better win or else...Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Juan Manuel Marquez won his latest defense of his world lightweight title by way of stoppage in the ninth round of Australian great Michael Katsidis. Writing such a bland and simply informative phrase does not sum up the beauty of this matchup.

Two tough men went hard and fast, blow-for-blow in a mental bloody chess match. Juan Marquez went down in the fight once.

This seemed to be a great sign of the trouble Marquez could be in with Katsidis's continuous assault, but longtime witnesses of Juan Manuel Marquez fights such as myself quickly realized that Marquez has made a habit of being victorious after getting knocked down in the beginning of many of his big fights. Getting knocked down only to knockout his opponent is what the legend of Marquez is made of.

Despite the relentlessness of his attack, Katsidis was severely outboxed by Marquez. Of the shots Marquez threw, 52 percent of them landed. Katsidis managed a still impressive 31 percentage of shots connected on Marquez. Both were rough and fast in their smart, but brutal exchanges. This could very well be fight of the year.

To Katsidis's credit, he did have an amazing amount of landed punches. I saw Marquez's face look red and flustered like I haven't seen since the Mayweather fight. Unlike the Mayweather fight, Marquez was able to think clearly against an opponent who wasn't going to get out of the way of his punches. They both wanted to trade on the inside.

If you are a fan who's used to clinchers and holders and wished you weren't, you would have loved this matchup. Not much holding went on in the ring on this night.

To sum up the night: mostly eye-to-eye pummeling.

Two brave men unable to back down because everything but their lives was on the line.

For Marquez, he is a man with a storied career who doesn't want to end his career until he fight Pacquiao for the third time after their first two fights were extraordinarily close.

The first between Pacquiao and Marquez ended in a draw and the second ended in a split decision victory for Pacquiao. This fight was Marquez's showcase to say he can still give Pacquiao a challenge.

For Katsidis, this fight is his chance to capitalize off his recent four fight victory streak and build upon the current fan hype from Australian fans as well as fans all around the world of his action-packed relentless style. This fight is also the first time Katsidis has fought since his brother's death 40 days ago. This is a classic performance to dedicate to his brother's memory even if Katsidis did lose.

In a fight this competitive and this good, even when a fighter loses they still technically win for having so much heart to put on such an amazing spectacle filled with drama, turnarounds and later round rallies by each fighter. Here's hoping this fight wins fight of the year. It's already got my vote.