Juan Manuel Marquez tops 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. ESPN.com 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.

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