This Saturday May 17th, HBO presents Juan Manuel Marques, a four-division world champion, taking on former junior welterweight world champion Mike Alvarado in the first fight at the newly renovated Forum in Inglewood, CA.
The 12-round welterweight elimination bout will ultimately decide who becomes the mandatory challenger to WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao.
For Marquez, this is a homecoming of sorts. The Mexican icon has long been a fixture in Forum fights, having never lost a bout at the venue. The 40-year-old is 12-0 all-time in bouts at the Forum, winning 9 of those bouts via knockout between 1995 and 1999.
“The opportunity to go back and fight at the Forum where I developed as a professional fighter was too great to pass up,” said Marquez. “I expect a tough fight against Mike Alvarado and one that the fans will truly enjoy.”
Marquez is coming off of two incredible fights. Back in 2012, he shocked the world with a sixth-round knockout of Manny Pacquiao. Marquez was finally able to defeat his rival after two losses and a draw in their first three bouts.
Marquez followed that up with a tough split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley in a WBO Welterweight title fight. Bradley built an early lead in the fight, but Marquez was able to rally late and keep it close. Ultimately the judges awarded Bradley the victory by scores of 116-112, 115-113 Bradley and 115-113 Marquez.
Alvarado is coming off of a disappointing loss to Russian Ruslan Provodnikov in his last bout, costing him the WBO Light Welterweight title. Alvarado was unable to answer the bell in the 11th round of that bout. Alvarado not only comes into this fight looking for redemption, but also to leave his mark and possibly retire the veteran Marquez.
“Retiring a legend is going to be huge,” said Alvarado. “I respect Marquez and his great career but now is my time. This is one of those opportunities that you cannot miss and I will give everything in the ring to get the win. It’ll be a great fight and I have to fight without any mistakes to beat Marquez.
“This is a huge step in my life to redeem myself and I know that this is only going to make me a better person, a better fighter and a better man in my life. I respect Marquez fully, he’s a legend in this game, he’s already made his mark. This is the perfect opportunity for me to redeem myself and even retire as a legend,” he said.
Alvarado started his professional career off with a 33-0 record, but has lost two of his last three fights. Saturday’s bout with Marquez will be very important for him as he looks to get back into the title picture. A third loss in four fights could be devastating for the 33-year-old.
Marquez comes into the fight as the favorite, but the veteran will definitely not be looking past Alvarado. What a great way for boxing to make its return to the Forum, this fight should definitely deliver a memorable debut.