Lee Groves

10: Juan Manuel Marquez’s best fights

3. August 5, 2006 – KO 7 Terdsak Jandaeng (a.k.a. Terdsak Kokietgym), MontBleu Resort & Casino, Stateline, Nevada

Moments after his younger brother Rafael silenced Silence Mabuza in their nine-round rematch, Marquez launched his effort to reshape his image following the embarrassing but disputed loss to Chris John five months earlier. This bout between the number-two Marquez and the top-rated Jandaeng was for the vacant interim WBO featherweight belt because titlist Scott Harrison was forced to cancel a May defense following an arrest in a nightclub incident and a subsequent stay in an alcohol rehab clinic. At the time Harrison was scheduled to meet the winner of this fight next.

In Jandaeng (24-1, 15 KOs), Marquez faced a rugged southpaw with swagger uncustomary to Thais. The man nicknamed “Pit Bull” described the soon-to-be 33-year-old Marquez as “old” and “sloppy” and declared that Joan Guzman, the only man to defeat Jandaeng to this point, was superior to Marquez, who he promised to knock out.  

The usually slow-starting Marquez bolted from the blocks. He pumped precise jabs, fired accurate lead rights and unleashed several multi-punch salvos that frequently reached the target. Though Jandaeng landed several strong left crosses, Marquez’s attack curbed his usual aggression.

A wicked left uppercut wobbled Jandaeng late in round two, precipitating an explosively pinpoint assault to every legal spot. A searing left uppercut caused Jandaeng to fall on his face with 12 seconds remaining, but the courageous Thai struggled to his feet by nine. Only the bell saved him from further punishment.

Marquez continued his brilliant assault in the third, shredding Jandaeng’s defenses with right-left-rights. Adding to his problems was a point penalty for low blows. Still, Jandaeng connected with his share of left crosses that raised a swelling under Marquez’s left eye and by the fourth he had recovered enough to engage Marquez in several heavy exchanges.

The fifth was a strong Marquez round as he pounded Jandaeng with combinations. The sixth saw Marquez shift back into boxing mode, spearing Jandaeng with long straight blows. That all changed with 53 seconds remaining when Marquez landed a lightning-quick right uppercut-overhand right that dropped Jandaeng for a seven count. Once Jandaeng arose Marquez coldly dissected his foe and by round’s end blood poured from Jandaeng’s nose and mouth.

A minute into the seventh Marquez began his final assault with a 10-punch eruption that forced Jandaeng to totter back. Marquez then ended the fight with a beautifully delivered combination: A right to the body, a right uppercut to the jaw, a hook to the liver and a final left uppercut that prompted referee Jay Nady to intervene at the 1:13 mark.

This performance was an epiphany for Marquez, for he finally achieved the balance between fistic discipline and box-office magnetism. If he continued to apply it, he would finally secure himself the lucrative future he felt his talents and hard work deserved.

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