Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Erik Morales Fight Analysis and Pick to Win

Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Erik Morales Fight Preview and Prediction
When: Saturday, April 9, 2011
Where: MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Weight Class: World Lightweight Championship: 12 Rounds

By Scotty L, Boxing Handicapper, Predictem.com

Juan Manuel Marquez, 52-5-1 (38 KOs), Mexico City, Mexico, World Lightweight Champion Vs. Erik Morales, 51-6 (35 KOs), Tijuana, B.C., Mexico

Fight Odds: Juan Manuel Marquez (-850), Erik Morales (+550)
Over/Under: Over 8.5 (+120), Under 8.5 (-150)

Fight Analysis: Two of the biggest names in boxing collide in Las Vegas on April 9, as Lightweight Champion Juan Manuel Marquez defends his belt against future Hall of Famer Erik Morales. These are two of the biggest names in the glorious history of Mexican boxers. Fighting in the same weight classes, why have they never fought before?

Morales and Marquez had very different career paths. Morales bloomed early, while Marquez made his mark in the last half of his career. Considering that Marquez is the highly-regarded champion, while Morales is the old ex-great, it is strange that Marquez is actually 3 years older at 37. Morales defeated the great 122-pound champion Daniel Zaragoza at 21 years of age. Marquez was almost 30 when he won his first belt and didnt really achieve any type of greatness until he was in his mid-thirties.

For years, Marquez toiled in anonymity despite there being a strong suspicion that he belonged with the greats of his era. While Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Manny Pacquiao and others were engaging in high-profile fights, Marquez was stuck in the mud. Even after giving Pacquiao fits in 2004, he was frozen out of big fights. Slowly he began to rise to the top. A win over Barrera followed, before Marquez lost a 2008 split decision to Pacquiaobecoming the last fighter to give the Filipino phenom a competitive fight.

Marquez established his championship credentials at lightweight by knocking out Joel Casamayor in 11 rounds. He strengthened his claim by winning the 2009 Fight of the Year against Juan Diaz in an inspiring performance. A money-grab at welterweight didnt work out when he was dominated thoroughly by Floyd Mayweather, but his return to lightweight showed he still had it. He won a dominant rematch decision over Diaz.

In his last outing, he won another Fight of the Year candidate against top contender Michael Katsidis in November. Against Katsidis, he displayed the traits that have made him great. Dropped by the murderous-punching Australian star, he showed his incredible poise under fire. Even at 37, Marquez is incredible in his ability re-double his efforts when under stress. He steeled himself and returned fire. A lot of people say Marquez is well-known mainly because he is the only fighter to trouble Manny Pacquiao. You can also say that Pacquiao is the only fighter who has been able to hang with Marquez when hes fighting at his proper weight. Besides the Mayweather loss, no one has truly beaten Marquez.

Morales is the last man to actually defeat Pacquiao. The problem is that he grew old before he turned 30. Boxing fans will forever love him for his numerous wars, but those unforgettable classics took a toll on the lanky warrior. Pacquiao avenged his loss to Morales by giving him two brutal beatings that effectively ruined him as a fighter. Four consecutive losses forced him into retirement. He grew fat and it seemed to be truly over for El Terrible. After nearly 3 years, Morales was lured back into the ring. Boxing observers who are in the know bristled at the news.

Morales has scored 3 comeback wins, but is working from memory. His opponents have looked better on paper than in actuality and he barely scraped by Francisco Lorenzo in his last fight. While even a depreciated Morales is still better than most lightweights, it is difficult to not regard this stage of Morales career as one of the dark elements of boxing. This is an unfortunate byproduct of the sport where we are forced to watch the inevitable bad ending to a great career. This is reminiscent of the 1980 Holmes-Ali match, where the man who lived in his opponents shadow is given the unenviable task of ending the misery.

Scotty L’s Pick to Win: Its difficult to see Marquez being overly merciful in this one, which would be Morales only chance. This is in essence a stay-busy fight for Marquez, which customarily leads to a slight ebb in a fighters edge. Marquez, however, has always been compared to Morales as a fellow Mexican great. He was fighting for 10 grand when Morales was making millions. Therefore, a rise in sentimentality or a drop in motivation seems doubtful.

Expect a modicum of squeamishness on the part of the Las Vegas ring officials who will not allow Morales to sustain a bad beating. The moment Morales cause looks lost, the corner, referee, or doctor will be looking for a good spot to stop it. Look for the warrior heart of Morales to ensure some heated early action. Marquez will respond with far greater fury and Morales will soon be looking badly outclassed. Marquez gets him out of there inside 7 rounds. Lay 850 on Marquez to win and 150 on the under.