Boy what a difference a fight makes. After coming off a fight-of-the-year candidate in his draw with Manny Pacquaio last May, Juan Manuel Marquez retained his IBF/WBA 126-pound titles with a unanimous decision over Orlando Salido. The official scorecards were 118-110 and 117-111 (twice) in favor of Marquez, Boxingtalk's #2 featherweight.
Saturday's bout was a far cry from the war between Marquez and Pacquiao, as neither Marquez nor Salido (Boxingtalk's #8 junior lightweight) showed much enthusiasm to fight. The crowd booed from the first round on and waited in anticipation for the main event.
The fight started off slow, with Marquez finally landing the first initial punch, a straight right hand. The crowd became impatient, beginning to boo the lack of action. Little changed in the second, as Marquez once again came forward but no punches were being thrown other than an occasional right hand by Marquez.
Marquez picked up the pace in the third, but not by much. He pressed the action by going forward, while Salido retreated. Marquez did land a good combination to the head and body, but didn’t follow up much more.
Even I was getting restless waiting for this fight to pick up the action or finish, as once again there was lack of action. It's sad when a bout becomes repetitious when we can’t report on a fight and deliver the action to our fans, but in this fight it was hard to do that. Up to this point in the fight, which was round eight, I didn’t want to bore you with anymore comments on how boring the fight was going into the last part of the fight. I could hear reporters asking others the important question of the night “what round is this?”, which seemed to be the question after each round as there were very few punches being thrown in the fight. Other then Marquez landing a hard right uppercut, he seemed to be leading on the scorecards, but with neither fighter not doing much, there could be a lot of even rounds.
Salido had his best round of the fight in the ninth; landing a few good right hand leads on Marquez, enough to win him the round on my card. Marquez was the one doing the retreating in this round, with Salido doing the pursuing. It may be a little too late for Salido. He may have to knock out the champion Marquez, as the close non-action rounds probably were going to Marquez.
The action once again slowed in the tenth and eleventh. There was only one good exchange in the eleventh, with both fighters landing god right hands, but other then that, it was a fight that couldn’t end soon enough.
When ring announcer Michael Buffer announced “ladies and gentlemen this is the twelfth and final round”, the crowd erupted in a loud roar to show that it was happy the end was near. Marquez landed two left hooks in the final minute, bringing the crowd to think more action might be coming, but there wasn’t much more as the bell ended this bout.
Marquez still hopes to have a rematch with Pacquaio [editors note: Pacquaio's promoter indicated a rematch will likely be held early in 2005] , and hopefully it will be a repeat in the action category. Marquez raises is record to 43-2-1, while Salido fell to 23-9-1.
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