Jingo Quijano

Last Round

I WISH you a happy and fruitful new year my dear Last Rounders.

Indeed, 2010 looks to be a promising year for the “sweet science”, notwithstanding the temporary denouement of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao megafight.

I say temporary because somewhere down the line (read: September of this year) both camps will reach a middle-ground and push the fight. I mean, how can you walk away from 20 million dollars?

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I don’t know about you, but I’d fight Floyd Jr. for half that amount and they can drain all the blood they want from me.

Hell, I’d fight Mayweather while they drain blood from me with an IV attached to my other arm.

That aside, let’s take a look at the best of the best for the past year.

FIGHT OF THE YEAR. Juan Diaz vs. Juan Manuel Marquez.

Coming in to this fight, Marquez had moved up to lightweight to score a spectacular stoppage win against Cuban lefty Joel Casamayor.

He was a man on a mission: nail down that lucrative third match against the man he claims to have beaten twice already- Manny Pacquiao.

But first, he had to deal with the challenge of Diaz who was coming off a close split decision win against Australian banger Michael Katsidis. Prior to that, he suffered his first loss in the hands of Nate Campbell, giving up three lightweight belts in the process. He was a man eager for redemption.

On paper, this fight was penned to be a scorcher. A fighter on a mission against an opponent out for redemption.

It did not disappoint.

Diaz started strong, typically bullying his way with his patented six punch combos. But Marquez willed himself back by round 3, figuring out the proper spacing to land his sizzling uppercuts.

It was a fight fought in waves and spurts. When one fighter gained the upperhand, the other would regroup a few seconds later. There was somebody punching or countering.

But like all great fights, something or someone’s got to give. In this case, it was Diaz.

In the ninth, as he was advancing towards Marquez, the latter caught him with a flush right followed by a jab and an uppercut. Down went the “Baby Bull.”

He got up but was met with more resolute punching from Marquez and he got knocked down again. The referee waived it off.

A great fight indeed and worthy of fight of the year honors.

Honorable Mention: Manny Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto, Andre Berto vs. Luis Collazo

ROUND OF THE YEAR: Pacquiao-Cotto Round 4.

Eager to offset the knockdown he suffered in the previous round, Cotto started out by jabbing well. He momentarily caught Manny in the ropes and scored with a left.

Manny regrouped and hit Cotto with flurries at the center of the ring.

At the halfway mark, Cotto tagged Pacquiao with a powerful left hook. The crowd went wild. He followed it up with a right and landed punishing body shots at Manny’s abdomen.

Manny pushed Cotto off and evade a left. This time the roles were reversed with Cotto’s back against the ropes. They exchanged, but a Pacquiao left hand found Cotto’s chin with 17 seconds remaining.

Down went Cotto. At the 7-second mark, action resumed. They exchange punches at the center of the ring. Manny caught Cotto with another left and the latter wobbled.

The bell rang. What a round!

Honorable Mention: Carl Froch-Jermain Taylor 12, Diaz-Marquez 3,

(To be concluded with Knockout of the Year, Upset of the Year and more)

LAST ROUND. It’s on Marvin and Au’s little cherub, Francesca Marie Casipe. Cheers! (jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)