On Saturday, former Super Flyweight champion Christian Mijares (47-6-2 22 KOs) faced off against fellow Mexican Rafael Marquez (41-8-0 37 KOs), the slightly less famed brother of Juan Manuel Marquez, in an all out thriller.
As expected, the aging warrior Rafael couldn't help but fight toe-to-toe. He came out swinging and pressuring his man early, winning some rounds but as the fight continued, Mijares began to catch Marquez with his excellent hand speed.
It began slowly going downhill for Marquez as Mijares got the best of most major exchanges until he stunned Marquez heavily in round nine and threw a massive flurry, ending what may have been the last fight of his Marquez's career.
I had Mijares up one round at the stoppage and the TV Azteca broadcasters down in Mexico had Marquez up a point.
This makes a rematch very possible as the big shot that Mijares landed, almost inevitably, on a tired and worn out Marquez look a bit "lucky". Actually, Marquez has spoken to the press already on the subject and says a rematch is indeed what he wants.
This was a punctuation on what I said in my fight preview of the extravagant regional showdown. Marquez is the older and slower man, and he must realize it and act on it.
He has a good right hand, just like his brother's, but Mijares was a lot faster. It may have taken some time in the fight, but with care after a while he may have learned to time Mijares and catch him off guard.
It gives us a good time to say a warrior is a warrior. He'll always want to make a show, often putting that above his own health or even victory. So, for that, you must at least give Marquez credit. He gave it his all. It wasn't the best game plan but that is who Marquez is.
If this is the final battle of the excellent career of Rafael, I must give him respect. He put on four excellent fights with Israel Vazquez, which were some of the best I have seen. This courageous fight with Mijares was an excellent way to close an excellent career, and with all the damage Marquez has taken, I hope he does walk away before it is too late.
For Mijares, he has now opened the door to many major opportunities in the talent enriched Super Bantamweight division. He is promoted in the United States by Bob Arum's Top Rank, which has two key top potential opponents in Guillermo Rigondeaux and the great "Filipino Flash" NonitoDonaire. But fights with rival Golden Boy Promotions Abner Mares and Anselemo Moreno also loom.
The old veterans are now sorted. Mijares has proven this Super Bantamweight run is legit and he can potentially have good fights with the division's elite and Marquez has proven age is effecting him and retirement is a solid choice, but he may give it another shot against Mijares. We will just have to wait and see.
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