Marquez Tops Alvarado; Rampage Dethrones the King



juan manuel marquez14

Juan Manuel Marquez tops Alvarado

By Dan Rafael |

Marquez’s Unanimous Victory Over Alvarado

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Anyone for Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez V?

That is the fight likely to happen in the fall after Marquez put on a clinic against Mike Alvarado and won a lopsided unanimous decision in a welterweight title elimination bout before a raucous pro-Marquez crowd of 12,090 on Saturday night. It was the first fight at the refurbished Forum, which had not hosted a boxing card since 2001.

The resounding victory, one in which Marquez did have to survive a knockdown in the ninth round, made Marquez the mandatory challenger for Pacquiao, who regained his welterweight world title by outpointing Timothy Bradley Jr. in their April 12 rematch.

The judges had it 119-109, 117-109, 117-109 for Marquez. also had it 117-109 for Marquez, who dropped Alvarado in the eighth round.

Making the win even sweeter for Marquez was the fact that it took place at the Forum, where, as an unknown, he cut his teeth and developed into a featherweight contender, going 12-0 with nine knockouts in the arena between 1995 and 1999.

“I said it was going to be a tough fight and I said it was going to be a difficult fight,” Marquez said. “I wanted to give the public here a gift. A gift that dignifies the history of this event and the history of the Forum.

“I wanted to make this fight a gift to the fans.”

Another gift might be a fifth fight with Pacquiao. He and Marquez have already met four times in all-time great fights. Although Pacquiao leads the series 2-1-1, Marquez’s lone victory was as definitive as the others were controversial.

In their fourth fight, in December 2012, Marquez knocked Pacquiao unconscious with a right hand at the end of the sixth round for one of the most memorable knockouts in boxing history.

Although Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) lost his next fight by split decision challenging then-titleholder Bradley in October, he bounced back in a big way against Alvarado, the former junior welterweight titlist.

But he was not going to make a definitive statement about fighting Pacquiao next right after the fight.

“Finally, in that fourth [Pacquiao] fight, we obtained justice,” he said. “This fight is for all of the Mexicans that have supported me in that fourth fight and this fight was for them. [As for a fifth fight with Pacquiao], we’ll relax. I don’t know at the moment but any decision we make will be good for me, good for my family and good for the Mexican fans.

“I’m not making a decision on Pacquiao right now. I felt great in the fight and I know I did a great job, but let me see how I feel in a couple of weeks. I am not making a decision on a Pacquiao fight right away. I’m gonna rest and think about it.”

While the crowd chanted “Marquez! Marquez! Marquez!” during the first round, he was firing punches, but Alvarado started very slowly. Alvarado was barely throwing any punches in the early rounds and anything he did throw Marquez countered well.

The 40-year-old Marquez, a shoe-in Hall of Famer and one of the best fighters in Mexican history, raised swelling around Alvarado’s right eye in the third round as he continued to land hard, clean jabs.

Marquez, who earned $1.4 million, also had his right hand working well as he was aggressive with it against an Alvarado (34-3, 23 KOs), 33, of Denver, who appeared confused and was either unable or unwilling to throw many punches until turning things around later in the bout.

Marquez continued to land powerful punches in the sixth round as the right side of Alvarado’s face began to become more and more swollen. There was an exciting exchange at the end of the round but Marquez clearly got the better of it. Even when Alvarado, who made $650,000, did land anything, Marquez, one of the great counter punchers in boxing history, countered him.

But the fight became more exciting in the second half even though Marquez was in control. He was having another dominating round in the eighth when he landed a huge right hand flush on Alvarado’s jaw a couple of seconds before the round ended and Alvarado went down. He beat the count and the round ended.

“It was a bad experience being in there with a legend,” Alvarado said. “I was warming up a little bit too much before I started getting off. It was on me but it was a great fight.

“I knew I needed to let my hands go to create some more shots for me. The way the fight went, he backed up and he felt the power from me so he fought a good fight.”

Moments into the ninth round, Alvarado landed a clean right that dropped Marquez, nearly silencing the crowd. But he got up, did not appear badly hurt and engaged Alvarado in an action-packed exchange that brought the crowd to life again.

“That’s the kind of fighter I am. I like wars,” Alvarado said. “That’s how he exploited me and that’s how I fight. My hat’s off to him. I thank God it was a good fight. I am happy with this opportunity and blessed that we are safe and it’s good.”

Alvarado’s left eye was also damaged and a purple mess after the ninth round and the ringside doctor gave it a good look, but the fight went on. After the 10th round, Alvarado’s corner told him he needed a knockout.

Alvarado landed a right hand near the end of the 11th round that nearly made Marquez’s legs buckle, and he nearly went down.

“Yes, I did expect this fight,” Marquez said. “I always said that Mike Alvarado is a strong man and fast and worthy and strong, and I did expect this fight.”

Marquez’s dominance was illustrated by the CompuBox punch statistics. He landed 278 of 627 punches (44 percent) while Alvarado landed 178 of 510 blows (35 percent). More notable, Marquez landed more punches than Alvarado in 11 of the 12 rounds.

Alvarado has now lost two fights in a row. In October, in his hometown, he lost his junior welterweight belt in his first defense, getting knocked down twice by Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov — who was ringside Saturday — before retiring on his stool after the 10th round of a punishing fight.

“I put that [Provodnikov] fight behind me,” Alvarado said. “It was another experience and another life lesson I have gone through. It only made me stronger. This fight will only make me better. I will learn from it and use it for the rest of my career.”

One of the reasons Marquez accepted the fight with Alvarado was because it was an eliminator for a welterweight title shot. Marquez has won world titles in four weight classes from featherweight to junior welterweight and wants to be the first Mexican to win titles in five divisions. That would mean a fight with Pacquiao if Marquez wants the title shot next.

“Marquez said he would go back and consult with his team and analyze the fifth fight. That’s a pretty good statement,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who promotes Marquez and Pacquiao. “I’m fairly confident I’ll make it. Manny wants the fight. So it’s going to be up to Marquez. It really is. I think there’s a lot of money in the fight. And this was a great fight tonight.

“Mike has the guts of a lion. He stayed in there, he hurt Marquez pretty good but Marquez is Marquez. Marquez is a great fighter.”




‘Rampage’ Jackson Outduels ‘King Mo’ Lawal in Charged Bellator 120 Main Event
By Brian Knapp

Quinton Jackson laughed last.

Jackson took a contentious unanimous decision over Muhammed Lawal in the Bellator MMA Season 10 light heavyweight tournament final at Bellator 120 on Saturday at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Jackson (35-11, 3-0 Bellator).

“Rampage” had issues staying upright in the first round, as he surrendered multiple takedowns to the former Strikeforce champion. Lawal (12-4, 4-3 Bellator) lost much of his steam in the second, allowing Jackson to bring his formidable boxing skills and power punching into play. By the conclusion of the middle frame, “King Mo” was sporting visible damage — a cut and noticeable swelling — to his left eye. Round three was far from easy to call. Lawal scored with a takedown inside 90 seconds and controlled “Rampage” for more than a minute. However, Jackson returned to his feet later in the round and resumed his assault with his fists, perhaps swaying the judges with his final push.

“He did better than I thought he was going to do,” said Jackson, who clinched a title shot against current Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton. “‘King Mo’ is a warrior. He came right out and tried to take me down, just like I thought he would. Rematch. I’m not happy with my victory tonight. I wanted to knock ‘King Mo’ out. I won’t be satisfied until he’s down on this Bellator mat sleeping.”

Lawal was not happy with the verdict and pleaded his case to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney.

“Bjorn, you know what’s up, man,” he said. “You know you didn’t win that fight, all smiling and s—. ‘Rampage,’ nothing against you. I beat you, though. You know it, and your corner knows it. I won that fight; and Bjorn, cut me if you don’t like me. You know I won that fight.”

Brooks Stuns Chandler, Takes Interim Title

Brooks shocked Chandler with his wrestling.
American Top Team’s Will Brooks captured the interim Bellator lightweight championship with a narrow split decision over the world-ranked Michael Chandler in the co-main event. All three cageside judges scored it 48-47, two of them siding with Brooks (14-1, 6-1 Bellator).

Brooks staked his claim in the third and fourth rounds. In the third, the 27-year-old secured a takedown, moved to Chandler’s back more than once, fished for rear-naked chokes and punished him with heavy ground-and-pound from the mount. Brooks was also the superior fighter in the fourth frame, where he again transitioned to the Alliance MMA standout’s back and piled up points with effective ground-and-pound.

“I was like, ‘I don’t think I can hit this dude any cleaner than I [have been.]’ I looked in his eyes, and I saw a dude who has been a champion for a long time,” Brooks said. “He’s still a champion. I’ve got all respect for that man.”

Chandler (12-2, 9-2 Bellator) — who struck for takedowns in each of the first two rounds — closed with a flourish, as he staggered the Chicago native with a three-punch burst in round five, dove into top position and threatened with a mounted arm-triangle choke. However, it was not enough to bring him the desired victory. Chandler, 28, has lost his last two fights after starting his career with 12 consecutive wins.

“I fought the worst performance of my life,” he said. “There were a lot of different things going on. Congratulations to Will. I’ll be back stronger.”

Brooks, who replaced reigning Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez on short notice, has rattled off five straight victories.

“This is an amazing thing to have, but I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to come out here and slug it out with somebody,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get better as a fighter, and it was just fun. At one point, I wasn’t even concerned about the belt.”

Ortiz Chokes Out Shlemenko

Ortiz put Shlemenko to sleep easily.
UFC hall of famer Tito Ortiz rendered reigning Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko unconscious with a first-round arm-triangle choke in a non-title bout at 205 pounds. Shlemenko (50-8, 11-2 Bellator) went to sleep 2:27 into round one, his 13-fight winning streak a thing of the past.

Ortiz (17-11-1, 1-0 Bellator) weathered the Russian’s initial advances, absorbing several kicks and punches to the body. He secured a takedown roughly two minutes into the first frame, slid into position for the arm-triangle choke and waited for Shlemenko to black out. Ortiz, 39, had won just one of his previous nine fights.

“Guess who’s back? I worked hard as hell for this,” he said. “I’m just inspired to inspire others and show you guys what hard work and dedication can achieve. I went over this over and over. I’ve gone through so many surgeries and had my back pressed against the wall, and people counted me out.”

Volkov Choke Finishes Ivanov

Volkov earned a rematch with Minakov.
Former Bellator titleholder Alexander Volkov submitted 2008 World Sambo Championships gold medalist Blagoi Ivanov with a second-round rear-naked choke in the Season 10 heavyweight tournament final. Volkov (22-4, 6-1 Bellator) finished it 60 seconds into round two.

Ivanov (11-1, 6-1 Bellator) executed his game plan through much of the first five minutes, as he punched his way into clinches and landed clubbing punches off the breaks. However, Volkov seemed to turn the corner towards the end of round one, and the Bulgarian began to fatigue.

In the second round, the Russian countered a failed takedown from Ivanov, transitioned to his back and cinched the tournament-clinching choke. The tapout soon followed.

“It’s a great pleasure for me to win this way,” said Volkov, who clinched a shot at the Bellator heavyweight crown currently held by Vitaly Minakov. “I was preparing for this fight, and I knew I was going to fight against a specialist in sambo. I had a slight injury in my ribcage, so I was afraid of this position against the cage, but I knew he would get tired eventually. I just took this opportunity and finished him.”

Unbeaten Page KOs Rainey

Page looks like the real deal.
Flashy London Shootfighters export Michael Page kept his perfect professional record intact, as he knocked out an overmatched Ricky Rainey in the first round of their welterweight showcase. Page (6-0, 2-0 Bellator) drew the curtain with a perfectly timed and placed overhand right 4:29 into round one.

Rainey (8-3, 1-1 Bellator) never threatened the Englishman. Page peppered him with punches from the perimeter, showboating as he went. The charismatic karateka set Rainey on shaky legs early in the match and proceeded to pick him apart with clean, accurate punches.

Late in the round, Page sent the Xtreme Fighting Championships alum crashing to the canvas with an overhand right above the ear. No follow-up blows were necessary.

“I felt in control the whole time,” Page said. “I came to put on a show. I think I proved why I’m supposed to be here. I’m going to come back, and I’m going to do it again and again. This is the stuff I’ve been practicing all the time. I knew I had his game. Once I got in here and felt him out, I knew I had that [overhand right].”

Page has finished all six of his opponents inside one round.

“I want to take my time in this sport and grow properly,” he said. “When you do see me matching up against [the best], I’ll be ready. Right now, I’m still growing.”

Kongo Dismisses Newcomer Smith

Kongo can still finish fights.
UFC veteran Cheick Kongo dispatched Syndicate MMA representative Eric Smith with unanswered punches and knee strikes in the second round of their preliminary heavyweight tussle. Kongo (21-9-2, 3-1 Bellator) closed the deal 4:35 into round two.

Smith (6-2, 0-1 Bellator) had his moments — he scored with a first-round takedown — but ran out of gas near the conclusion of the first round. Kongo turned the tide with savage body kicks before swarming with punches, knees and elbows. In the second, the French kickboxer delivered a takedown of his own and unleashed his ground-and-pound.

Smith slowly wilted. He eventually returned to his feet, only to meet his end with a series of punches and knees.

Held Armbar Taps Jolly

Held caught Jolly with an armbar.
Polish leg lock specialist Marcin Held submitted Nate Jolly with a first-round armbar in an undercard tilt at a 158-pound catchweight. Jolly (13-6, 0-1 Bellator) tapped out 4:20 into round one, submitting for the first time since succumbing to a Dustin Poirier armbar nearly five years ago.

Held (19-3, 8-2 Bellator) engaged in a wild early exchange with his 31-year-old adversary, as fists flew. A knee strike from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt wobbled Jolly before the action spilled onto the canvas on the end of a Held takedown. The Pole moved to Jolly’s back, set his hooks and searched for chokes.

None materialized. Jolly later reversed into top position and uncorked standing-to-ground punches. However, he left his arm vulnerable, and Held pounced on the submission.

The 21-year-old Held has won nine of his last 10 fights, seven of them finishes.

Da Silva Kimura Submits Shamhalaev

Guerriero snapped his opponent’s arm.
Fabricio de Assis Costa da Silva submitted Bellator Season 7 featherweight tournament winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev with a first-round kimura in a preliminary encounter at a 148-pound catchweight. His arm bent at an unnatural angle, Shamhalaev (12-3, 3-2 Bellator) conceded defeat 3:29 into round one.

Da Silva (20-3, 2-2 Bellator) kept the Dagestani at a distance with winging punches before forcing him to the mat in a scramble. Once there, the Brazilian judoka softened Shamhalaev with hammerfists and elbows before setting up the kimura for the finish. Da Silva, 23, has won 10 of his past 13 bouts.

Prospect Yamauchi Edges Richman

Yamauchi snatched two rounds from Richman.
Promising Brazilian prospect Goiti Yamauchi won for the 12th time in 13 appearances, as he captured a unanimous decision over The Academy’s Mike Richman in a competitive undercard battle at 145 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Yamauchi (17-2, 3-1 Bellator).

Richman (16-5, 5-4 Bellator) struggled with the variety of his 21-year-old counterpart. Yamauchi attacked the body and legs with effective kicks and unleashed multi-punch bursts to the head. He did his best work in the second round, where he swarmed Richman with his fists and struck for a trip takedown against the cage.

Though the Minnesotan answered with a strong round three — Richman dove on an attempted guillotine choke and spent much of the final five minutes in top position peppering Yamauchi with ground-and-pound — his efforts were not enough to dig him out of the hole he was in on the scorecards.

Prelims: Wessel Stops Frazier, Halts Two-Fight Skid

In preliminary action, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 alum Mike Wessel (14-7, 3-1 Bellator) wiped out Justin Frazier (6-2, 1-1 Bellator); Resurrection Fighting Alliance veteran Austin Lyons (11-3, 2-0 Bellator) took a technical decision from Zach Underwood (12-6, 1-1 Bellator) in their rematch at a 152-pound catchweight; Evolution MMA’s Ben Brewer (4-0, 1-0 Bellator) knocked out Andy Uhrich (8-5, 1-2 Bellator) with a volley of punches 2:40 into the second round of their welterweight confrontation; Codie Shuffield (5-0, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Anthony Lemon (2-4, 0-1 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke 2:15 into the second round of their clash at 170 pounds; and Brian Hall (6-2, 2-0 Bellator) put away Cortez Phelia (0-1, 0-1 Bellator) with punches 24 seconds into the third round of their flyweight scrap.

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