A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis...
Rocky Fights Back
Rocky Juarez was a name off my radar. Juarez came out of the 2000 Olympics with a silver medal and stardom was within reach. Unfortunately for Juarez, he fought in an era dominated by the likes of Marco Antonio Berra, Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, and Erik Morles and he was forever just falling short against those hall of fame fighters he needed to beat to get a title. He lost two decisions to Berra; one being a close heartbreak and another decision to Marquez. And if that didn’t hurt enough he suffered a draw against Chris John allowing John to keep his title and then he lost a to Chris John in the rematch.. Juarez was a very good fighter who fought in an era of Hall of Fame fighters.
From that point, his career headed south as he lost five in a role before stopping Antonio Escalantie in the fall of 2012. Juarez always suffered from a style that allowed boxers to out point him as he was prudent with his output and depended upon his power to win bouts and this past Monday, he faced Rene Alvarado for something called the WBC silver featherweight belt at the Army base in El Paso Texas. For the 34 year old Juarez, this was the final fight of his career if he lost. It was win or go home. Alvarado was a good boxer, the kind of fighter that gave Juarez trouble at his peak and it didn’t help that Alvarado was nine his junior.
The first four rounds looked like many of Juarez failures in the past as Alvarado used his height and boxing skills to dominate the action from afar. Juarez used his guile to move inside Alvarado jabs but Alvarado played matador as he easily maneuvered around Juarez while throwing punches in bunches.
Starting the fifth round, Juarez finally penetrated Alvarado defenses and nailed him with left hooks to the body followed by solid right hands to the head. By the eighth round, Juarez turned the tide of the bout as his power took hold. Half way through the eighth round, Juarez landed a left hook and right hand that spun Alvarado head around. Alvarado could no longer land punches accurately as Juarez slipped them and Juarez was not missing with his power shots.
Through the ninth and eleventh round, Juarez consistently landed his left hooks and right hands as Alvarado had no answers for the veteran onslaught. In the final and twelfth round, Alvarado went for broke and landed some effective combinations but over the last stretch of the fight, Juarez landed a left hook that shook Alvarado and he too control over the last minute.
The key to the victory was not just Juarez’s power but his ability to slip punches and make adjustments. Over the first four rounds, Juarez couldn’t seem to get out of the way of Alvarado’s punches but starting in the fifth round, he slipped punches and used his jab more effectively to bore in on Alvarado chest. Alvarado only connected on 25% of his punches and while he threw nearly 400 more punches; Juarez connected on one more punch than Alvarado and hit Alvarado with two out of every five punches thrown. Over the second half of the fight, his connect rate was even higher.
This was a typical Juarez fight as he was outworked punches wise but his accuracy with his power shots won him a comfortable decision with one judge giving him 9 rounds and the other two 8 rounds. Rocky looked like the Rocky at his peak over the second half of the fight and after an 18 months layoff, he made a comeback against a hungry young opponent. Juarez won and now he will fight another day and who knows, maybe he will win that one thing that has eluded him a share of the featherweight title.