Lee Groves

10: Juan Manuel Marquez’s best fights

10. February 1, 2003 – KO 7 Manuel Medina, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

If there was a fighter who could rival Marquez for intelligence and ring craft, it was Medina. Engaging in his 18th world title fight, Medina was one of only 10 active fighters at that time to boast at least 60 professional wins. The 72-fight veteran was a four-time featherweight titleholder that employed a funky, long-armed volume attack with in-and-out movement that short-circuited most opponents’ timing. Would Marquez fall prey to Medina’s wiles or would he ensnare the cutie in his own traps?

Medina began the fight as he always did; with movement, light jabs and one-twos while Marquez earned an edge with hooks, crosses and body shots. That edge turned into a canyon in the second as a smashing hook-cross-uppercut drove Medina to the floor for an eight count. Only Medina’s cageyness and still-lively legs allowed him to survive the next two-and-a-half minutes, a span which saw Marquez nail him with right crosses and uppercuts with both hands.

Medina turned uncharacteristically aggressive in the third, and his stop-and-pop tactics paid off with a nice right-left-right to the jaw in the fourth. But Marquez’s TNT resurfaced soon after as two heavy rights stunned Medina, and by the fifth every power connect moved Medina noticeably.

Medina mounted a mini-charge at the start of the seventh to plant the seeds toward what he hoped would be a late-round run but Marquez cut him short with a final few sticks of dynamite. A strong hook to the face decked Medina a minute in, and although he arose at two the veteran’s right eye had slammed shut, prompting ringside physician Dr. Margaret Goodman to call an instant halt.

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