Juan Manuel Marquez: Next fight should be a tune-upWritten by Lee Cleveland
Its been 2 1/2 years since we last saw fight legend Juan Manuel Marquez in the ring.
During a December 2014 interview on ESPN Deportes, JMM broke the news that an injury could force an untimely retirement.
"I wanted to have another fight in 2014, but I injured my knee while training for my fight with Mike Alvarado," confessed Juan Manuel Marquez to ESPN Deportes.
But since then there have been rumors about Juan facing Manny Pacquiao for a fifth time as well as Miguel Cotto, Terence Crawford and Jessie Vargas.
2017 will be here in a matter of hours and Juan Manuel Marquez's next fight - and status as a boxer - remains in limbo.
Will Marquez fight again at all?
In March 2015, Marquez's trainer, Nacho Beristain, hinted he expected his pupil to retire although he made it clear Marquez didn't have a definitive answer. "...
We don't want for Juan Manuel to lose all that credibility and [respect for] the great job he's done all of his career and just... throw it in the garbage can with just one fight," Beristain told FightHype.
Earlier this week, JMM insisted he's still seeking at least one more big fight and suggested, even at 43, no tune-up would be necessary.
"Remember that inactivity is the number one enemy of an athlete: you lose the rhythm, you lose the distance," Marquez told Ivan Bustos as reported by BoxingScene.
"Although I stopped training for a while, I'm one of the athletes that when they return to training they pick up where they left off in rapid fashion - I have muscular memory - and for that reason I don't worry so much [about inactivity] if I return to boxing."
That's what they all say, JMM.
If JMM faces an elite level opponent, it would be in his best interest to take a tune-up first.
At 43, Juan Manuel Marquez can certainly fight on the elite level but patience will be a much-needed virtue. It will have been at least 3 years since he last fought and JMM will have some ring rust.
Also, boxing history tells us aging legends who return to the ring after long hiatuses and or low ring activity who face younger, more active top-flight opponents straight away (ie. with no tune-ups) don't fare well.
Remember when 52 year old Bernard Hopkins faced 27 year old contender Joe Smith Jr straight away earlier this month?
Here are just a few more examples:
- Sugar Ray Leonard vs Terry Norris...
- Sugar Ray Leonard vs Hector Camacho...
- Muhammad Ali vs Larry Holmes...
- Oscar De La Hoya vs Manny Pacquiao...
- Joe Louis vs Rocky Marciano...
Aside from Joe Louis, the above legends who badly lost to much younger, fresher opponents had been fairly inactive heading into those bouts, like Hopkins who was knocked out by a much younger, fresher Joe Smith, Jr.
Aging fighters must stay at least relatively active, a la George Foreman in his second career, if they want to compete at the top level.
JMM should take at least one tune-up if he wants to face an elite-level opponent before retiring.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.