Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1) cruised to an unanimous decision victory over Mike Alvarado (34-3) inside the Forum in Inglewood, California Saturday night and set the table for a fifth bout with Manny Pacquiao. The bout, a WBO Welterweight title eliminator, was anticipated to be a fierce battle between 40 year-old Marquez and the usually super-aggressive Mike Alvarado. Marquez was returning to the ring for the first time since Tim Bradley outpointed him in October – which is also when Alvarado was stopped late by Ruslan Provodnikov. What some thought would be a war between two warriors in the ring turned out to be a clinical, one-sided affair.
With a lucrative ppv bout versus Pacquiao seemingly in the balance for the winner, Marquez grabbed a stranglehold in the fight early on, winning the first few rounds with ease. “Mile High” Mike made things difficult for himself right away with an ineffective game plan. Trying to exercise patience and draw Marquez in, Alvarado started the fight without throwing any punches. When Alvarado did throw, it was often just one punch at a time. With no ideas and no confidence Alvarado was in trouble. Marquez tallied round after round without much resistance and had Alvarado’s eye swollen by the 3rd round as he worked at his pace showing off his technical boxing and still vicious power. Marquez entertained the pro-Marquez crowd as he battered the head and body of Alvarado and halfway through the fight had yet to even be tested by the 33 year old from Denver.
An excellently placed right hand counter sent Alvarado down and nearly out of the ring at the end of the 8th. Alvarado showed a glimpse of what his fans were expecting from him with a flash knockdown of Marquez to start the 9th. The 9th round provided fans a short glimpse of why this fight was anticipated to be non-stop action with both fighters fully engaged as they repeatedly exchanged combinations and big shots. Any hope for an Alvarado fight back though were soon extinguished as he returned to his timid ways and Marquez returned to pelting Alvarado with combinations in the 10th and was never again in any real distress in the routine UD victory. Though the fight was short on fireworks, Marquez displayed great skill and class in rebounding from his Bradley defeat and told HBO after the fight he will take time with his family to decide what’s next.
The judges scored the fight 119-108 and 117-109 (x2)