Juan Manuel Marquez (51-5, 37 KOs) and Michael Katsidis (27-2, 22 KOs) are two fighters looking for different things. Marquez is trying to keep his foothold on the lightweight division, while Katsidis is trying to prove to the world he can be a disciplined figher. Katsidis is still coping with the loss of his brother, Stathi, last October.
Rounds 1-3: Marquez landed several straight rights and combinations and took the first two rounds. Katsidis was busy trying to temper his punches, instead of being his normal aggressive self. But round three was a different story as Katsidis knocked Marquez to the floor with a hard left hook. It wasn't a 10-8 round, because Marquez dusted himself off and finished the round on a high note. After three rounds: Marquez 29, Katsidis 28.
Rounds 4-6: Marquez is firmly dug in now and is picking Katsidis apart. Katsidis needs to stop trying to set Marquez up for one big punch and start throw shots in volume. Trying to bully Marquez without throwing punches isn't going to work. Katsidis landed some solid shots in the sixth round, but not nearly enough to win the round. Marquez has made Katsidis pay with shots to the body. Katsidis' right eye is beginning to close. After six rounds: Marquez 59, Katsidis 55.
Rounds 7-8: Michael Katsidis made a nice come back in the seventh and eighth rounds. Marquez stole the seventh because he finished well. But Katsidis won round 8 as he forced the action with several body shot combinations. He was able to get ins close and pepper Marquez with body shots in the round.
Round 9: Referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight in favor of Marquez 2:14 into the ninth round. Marquez really popped Katsidis with a big left that wobbled him. Bayless did exactly what he was supposed to do. Marquez was peppering Katsidis with head and body combinations. Katsidis would've been on the floor toward the end of that round.
Marquez, who retained his WBA title and captured Katsidis' interim WBO belt, has again cemented himself as the best lightweight in the world.
The question is will this fight be enough to draw Manny Pacquiao back for a third fight. Marquez certainly wants one more shot at Pacman.
It could happen if Pacquiao doesn't come to terms with Floyd Mayweather. Although there has been rumblings about a Pacquiao-Shane Mosley matchup (something the Neutral Corner first broached a few weeks ago), the world may want to see Marquez-Pacquiao for a third time, particularly fight fans who live south of the boards.
"We know Pacquiao is avoiding us," Marquez said through his interpreter. "That's what the public wants to see."