Juan Manuel Marquez: A Biography 

Juan Manuel Marquez
  • DOB: August 23, 1973 – Mexico City, Mexico
  • Gym(s): ‘Gym – Romanza Gym’
  • Location: Mexico City
  • Trainer(s): Ignacio Beristain and Gilbert Marquez
  • Boxing Career: Amateur, Professional, Commentator and Accountant! 
  • Nicknames: ‘Dinamita’
  • Height: 5 Foot 7 inches. 170cm
  • Reach: 67 inches. 170cm
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • Weights fought at: Featherweight, Super Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight

Professional Record: 

  • Total Fights: 64
  • Wins: 56
  • Wins by KO: 40
  • Losses: 7
  • Disqualifications: 1
  • Draws: 1

Notable Fights: Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquiao I-IV, Juan Manuel Marquez vs Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez vs Joel Casemayor, Juan Manuel Marquez vs Floyd Mayweather Jr, Juan Manuel Marquez vs Juan Diaz I-II

Juan Manuel Marquez: Overview 

Juan Manuel Marquez or Juan Manuel Marquez Mendez to give him his full name is a former Mexican professional boxer who competed from 1993 to 2014 during which time amongst other, he was renowned for defeating and fighting Manny Pacquiao four times as part of his legacy— and a world champion in four different weight classes:

  • The WBA (Super) IBF and WBO featherweight titles between 2003 and 2007.
  • The WBC super featherweight title from 2007 to 2008.
  • The WBA (Super), WBO Ring Magazine and lineal featherweight titles between 2008 and 2012. 
  • The unified WBO and junior welterweight title from 2012 to 2013.

Moreover, all in all Juan Manuel Marquez held nine world championships during the course of his career.

Juan Manuel Marquez: Early Life and Amateur Career

Like many of his contemporaries, Juan Manuel Marquez was born into a poor and rough area of Mexico City – Iztacalco – where many of his friends succumbed to gang violence and died at a young age. Juan Manuel Marquez was made of sterner stuff however; a self-confessed good student with a talent for numbers Juan Manuel Marquez studied hard and became an accountant, working for several government agencies prior to focusing solely on his boxing career.

Inspired by his father’s training and also his younger brother Rafael Marquez (a former bantamweight and super bantamweight world champion) passion for the sport – both trained under legendary trainer Ignacio Beristain. A rather stellar amateur career 82-4 with 72 wins coming by way of knock out however saw Juan Manuel Marquez relinquish his business professionalism for professionalism in the boxing ring.

Juan Manuel Marquez: The Professional

Juan Manuel Marquez made his professional debut at the age of 19 on the 22th of May, 1993 losing via disqualification to Javier Duran. Yet it was a result that would inspire Juan Manuel Marquez to become undefeated for the next 6 years (compiling a 29-1 record in the process) and defeating respected future champions Agapito Sanchez. Julio Gervacio and Alfred Kotey as part of defending the WBO-NABO featherweight title seven times, which he won from Cedric Mingosey on the 3rd February 1997 who he retired in the 10th round of a 12 round bout.

Professional Career Stalls then Progresses

During this era Juan Manuel Marquez was referred to as ‘the best fighter without a world title’ – Naseem Hamed rather disgracefully ‘ducking’ Marquez for 22 months during which time he was the mandatory challenger to Hamed’s WBO featherweight title. Indeed such was the parlous state of affairs that Marquez continued to work as an accountant whilst training under Ignacio Beristain until winning his first world title in 2004.

During this time Juan Manuel Marquez would instead face and lose a controversial unanimous point’s decision to Freddie Norwood for the WBA featherweight title. The Punchstat count bearing out the fact Marquez was regarding as having been largely ‘robbed’ of the result with Norwood landing 73 of 290 punches to Marquez’s 89 of 444.

First World Title and Unifications

On the 1stst of February 2003, Juan Manuel Marquez in his second fight for a world title became the IBF Featheweight champion of the world by defeating Manuel Medina by TKO in seven rounds at the Mandala Bay, Las Vegas.

Juan Manuel Marquez defeating Derrick Gainer later in the year to win a unification bout that saw him become the WBA Featherweight champion and also the WBA (Super) Champion.

Juan Manuel Marquez: Most notable fights and defences:

Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquaio (I)!

On the 8th of May 2004, Juan Manuel Márquez fought Lineal & ‘The Ring’ featherweight Champion Manny Pacquiao in a bout which saw Márquez floored three times in the 1st round alone! Yet Marquez somehow manage to recover and outbox Pacquiao for the remainder of the fight which ended in a controversial split-decision draw and scores of 115–110 for Márquez, 115–110 for Pacquiao and 113–113. Juan Manual Marquez somewhat fortunate for:

*Judge Burt A. Clements scored the bout 113–113 but later admitting he erred by scoring the first round 10–7 in favour of Pacquiao instead of the standard 10–6 for a three-knockdown round.

Defending unified titles notable milestones

On route to his next “major fight”, Juan Manuel Márquez:

  • Engaged in his first PPV, defeating and retaining his unified titles (on the Bernard Hopkins vs Oscar De La Hoya undercard) against future champion Orlando Salido on the 18th September, 2004 by unanimous decision over 12 rounds.
  • Made his fourth title defense and first appearance on Showtime Championship Boxing on the 7th May, 2005 again winning by unanimous decision over Victor Polo.

However, in August 2005, Juan Manuel Marquez would ultimately see himself stripped of his WBA and IBF unified Featherweight titles for failing to defend them, after various potential bouts failed to draw a bid. The next year would subsequently see a mixed year for Marquez with no real fights to define his legacy until he decided to move up from a loss and then a win for the Featherweight title to some career-defining bouts. The first at Super featherweight vs fellow Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera.

Juan Manuel Marquez vs Marco Antonio Barrera

On the 17th March, 2007, Márquez became the WBC Super Featherweight Champion of the world by defeating Marco Antonio Barrera in Las Vegas via unanimous decision and official scores of 116–111, 116–111 and 118–109. Highlights of Marquez’s remarkable display viewable here

Juan Manuel Marquez would first see a challenge to his new title called off due to an injury to his opponent Jorge Rodrigo Barrios. Before he would defeat the step in challenger Rocky Juarez on the 3rd November by unanimous decision to set up the greatest and most prestigious fights of his career.

Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquaio II.

The rematch with Pacquiao took place on the 15th March, 2008 with Márquez losing his Super Featherweight title to Pacquiao via split decision. The Filipino star knocked Márquez down in the third round and that proved to be the sole difference between the two fighters in a classic encounter as the remaining rounds were scored even. Richard Schaefer, Golden Boy Promotions CEO, offered a $6 million guarantee to Pacquiao for a rematch. But Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, put paid to that at the time by saying “I’m not saying they’ll never fight again, but you have to let it bake for a while.” 

Juan Manuel Marquez vs Joel Casemayor.

With no rematch apparent Márquez moved up to the lightweight division in order to fight The Ring Lightweight Champion Joel Casamayor at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, in Nevada on the 13th September, 2008. Juan Manuel Marquez defeating Casamayor in the 11th round after two knockdowns and in doing so capturing his sixth world title in three different weight classes.

Márquez was slow to start continually walking into the wily Cuban’s counter punches during the first four rounds. Indeed it took Márquez until the fifth round to find his range with his right hand. Aided and abetted by a cut opening over Casamayor’s right eye (from a clash of heads) rounds five, six, seven and eight went to Márquez who continued to land straight punches from the outside.

Two minutes into the eleventh round, Casamayor was knocked down by a right punch as he pulled away from an intense exchange. Casamayor got to his feet, but still shaken from the knockdown, Márquez went in for the kill and let his punches go in furious combinations. Casamayor tried to fight back but he was knocked down again with about 7 seconds left in the round. Referee Tony Weeks stopping the bout thereafter. 

It was a win that propelled Juan Manuel Marquez up to second on The Rings pound for pound list and saw him also rated the number one boxer in the lightweight division.

Juan Manuel Marquez vs Juan Diaz

On the 28th February 28, 2009, Juan Manuel Márquez defeated former WBA, WBO & IBF Lightweight Champion Juan Díaz by knock out in the 9th round. Highlights of this sensational victory, can be seen here

Márquez defending his The Ring Lightweight title and claiming the vacant WBO and vacant WBA (Super) Lightweight titles in process. The bout named “Fight of the Year” 2009 by The Ring magazine and ESPN.com. Yet the biggest prize was that it earned Juan Manuel the ultimate fight in boxing at the time. A shot at undefeated ‘pound for pound’ King, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Juan Manuel Marquez vs Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The fight between Márquez and Mayweather took place ostensibly at Welterweight yet was fought at a 144-pound catch weight on the 19th September, 2009 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. During the official weigh in, Márquez weighed 142 lbs and Mayweather at 146 lbs. Mayweather incurring a financial penalty as he was 2 pounds over the catch weight. However, it was later discovered that both parties had actually agreed to this and allowed Mayweather the concession prior to the fight by paying an additional $600,000 for arriving two pounds over the 144 lbs weight limit.

A heavier Mayweather thereby controlled much of the action of the fight. Juan Manuel Márquez like so many others struggling to find a way through Mayweather’s defence and unable to get out the way of his counter punches. Márquez landing only 19% of his punches according to Compubox punch stats. Mayweather knocking Márquez down in the 2nd round before ultimately winning the fight by unanimous decision.

Juan Manuel Marquez:  Later Career Highlights

Following the loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr, Juan Manuel Marquez continued to engage in some classic fights and rematches though not at the same frequency.

Firstly on the 31st July 2010, Juan Manuel Marquez dropped back down to lightweight (citing a loss of speed as the reason) and defeated Juan Diaz in a rematch at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas by unanimous decision with official scores of 117–111, 116–112 and 118–110. Marquez then disposed of WBO interim champion Michael Katsidis on the 27th December of the same year by TKO in round 9 to retain his lightweight belts. Ensuring at the time he was the oldest champion in the history of the lightweight division.

After being stripped of his WBA, WBO and Ring magazine titles for failing to fight mandatory fighters, Juan Manuel Marquez moved up to light welterweight for a ‘tune up’ fight against Likar Ramos on route to a third war with Manny Pacquiao. The fight though didn’t really test Marquez’s skills as desired given that he won by TKO in the first round on the 16th July 2011.

Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquaio III

In the prelude to this widely anticipated fight, Marquez attracted wide attention by hiring the strength and conditioning coach who had supplied performance-enhancing drugs to sprinters Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery in 2000. A bad decision? A bad Omen? 

On the 12th November, Juan Manuel Márquez would lose to Manny Pacquiao via a controversial majority decision which was voted “Robbery of the Year,” (2011) by The Ring Magazine’s readers. 

Take a look at the highlights from this spectacular fight and make up your own minds.

Juan Manuel Marquez: Thereafter

Juan Manuel Marquez would conclude his career with three wins out of four final fights. 

  • Firstly by defeating Serhii Fedchenko by unanimous decision on the 14th April, 2012, to capture the interim WBO light welterweight title by a clear margin with scores of 119-109, 118-110, 118-110.*The WBO subsequently later updating him to full status as WBO Champion.
  • Secondly by gaining revenge (and parity of victories) with a fourth fight against Manny Pacquaio on the 8th December 2012. Márquez sensationally countering a Pacquiao jab, with a second to go in the sixth round sending the Filipino face first to the canvas and unconscious for several minutes. The first time Pacquiao had been knocked out in over 13 years.

The fight was subsequently named The Ring magazine’s “Fight of the Year” as well as “Knockout of the Year” and “International Fight of the Year” by the British website BoxRec. Juan Manuel Márquez was also named “International Fighter of the Year” by the same publication.   

  • Thirdly Juan Manuel Márquez would narrowly lose a split decision (115-113, 113-115, 112-116) to Timothy Bradley (30–0–0–1) in an attempt to win a title at a fifth different weight class at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on the 12th October, 2013.

Before finally ending his career on high on the 17th May, 2014, at The Forum in Inglewood, California, against former WBO Junior Welterweight Champion Mike Alvarado (34-2, 23 KOs) for the WBO International welterweight title. The fight actually a WBO welterweight title eliminator, for a mandatory shot against Manny Pacquiao and the title Pacquiao had regained from Timothy Bradley. Unfortunately for Juan Manuel Marquez despite easily winning a one sided bout, by unanimous decision (119-108, 117-109, 117-109) the bout would never come to pass. This would be his final fight but at least it would end on a high. 

Juan Manuel Marquez: Retirement & Private life

On the 4th August, 2017, Juan Manuel Marquez announced his retirement from boxing. Speaking to ESPN Sports Marquez said 

“Today is a special and sad day for me because I’m announcing my retirement. The injuries pushed me to make this decision. It hurts, but I believe the right moment to put an end to my career has arrived. I would have loved to do a final fight to say goodbye inside the ring, but I have to listen to my body, and it was telling me that the right moment to stop boxing is now.” 

Juan Manuel Marquez ended his career with the following record.

Outside of the ring Juan Manuel Marquez has led a rather diverse and interesting life; politically he is a member of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party). Yet he has also been a boxing commentator on the ESPN boxing show Golpe a Golpe since 2011.

Juan Manuel Marquez: Accolades

In a career that spanned over two decades, Juan Manuel Marquez was renowned for being an exceptionally fast technical boxer: A fighter who was highly skilled at combination and counter punching yet also a fearless warrior who was more than willing to engage in brawls and slugfests with opponents.

In addition to the notable achievements already mentioned Juan Manuel Marquez;

  • Became only the 3rd Mexican to become a world champion at four different weights.
  • Was ranked by BoxRec as the 13thth greatest fight of all time.
  • And the second greatest Mexican ‘pound for pound’ boxer of all time.

Moreover: