South of the border and at the lower end of the scales, Mexican warriors Giovani “Guerrero Azteca” Segura and Hernan “Tyson” Marquez staged a vicious rumble Saturday night. The match, contested in Sonora, Mexico, would determine the next challenger to WBC flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada. In itself, Marquez vs Segura was a thrilling battle featuring non-stop action, unbridled violence, and plenty of drama: just the kind of spectacle fight fans live for.
Both Segura and Marquez are well-known amongst the boxing intelligentsia for their gutsy performances, punching power, and their amazing determination. “The Aztec Warrior” gained international recognition with his two stoppage wins over light flyweight marvel Ivan Calderon, while “Tyson” Marquez amassed a huge following in his home state of Sonora thanks to a string of stirring battles, like his inspiring victory over Panamanian Luis Concepcion and his courageous effort against Brian Viloria.
On Saturday night, thousands of Sonoran fans realized early on that they would witness something special, as both warriors fought from the opening bell with the fury of Tasmanian devils on methamphetamines. In front of his home crowd, Marquez built an early lead, playing the role of boxer as he used the ring to make it harder for Giovani to land his wide power punches. All the while, Marquez connected with shorter counter shots on the pursuing Segura, who, undeterred, kept applying pressure, the fighters engaging in one cruel exchange after another.
Segura’s determination allowed him to score a knockdown in round four, Tyson taking a knee due to the accumulation of punishment Giovani had inflicted with a particularly effective flurry. Marquez beat the count and came back strong in the fifth, forcing Segura to the ropes and scoring with left hooks and overhand rights.
In the eighth a shift in momentum was felt as Segura, always stalking Marquez and landing wild overhand blows, forced his brave opponent to retreat. But “Tyson” fought off the ropes effectively before returning to utilizing lateral movement to avoid Segura’s bombs. The momentum shifted again as Marquez regained control. He got home with some monster punches, testing to an extreme degree the sturdiness of Segura’s granite chin, the crowd exulting as each big shot connected.
But by the tenth round “Tyson’s” face showed the mounting toll of the grueling battle, this despite the fact that Marquez had employed some efficient defense, slipping punches thanks to body movement and effective footwork. Meanwhile, despite lagging on the scorecards, it was clear the thought of losing never crossed Segura’s mind as he continued to apply constant pressure. “The Aztec Warrior” just kept chugging forward and throwing bombs, hurting his opponent with wild overhand rights and sweeping left hooks, even as he took vicious counter-shots from in return.
In the eleventh Tyson sat on the ropes after being pushed by Segura, who proceeded to punch and shove Marquez to the canvas in what the referee dubiously ruled a knockdown. Despite this, it was clear Marquez deserved a slight points lead heading into the twelfth and final stanza; a decision win for Hernan appeared likely.
But instead Segura went on to notch the most dramatic victory of his career, scoring a highlight-reel knockout with little more than a minute left in the fight. At the end of yet another rousing exchange, Segura fired a short, crisp, perfectly timed left hook to his opponent’s jaw. Marquez hit the canvas hard. So hard that the referee dispensed with the ten-count and immediately called a halt.
The brave Marquez–who left the ring on a stretcher–recovered after being treated at a local hospital. He soon let it be known that he had struggled badly to make weight and that his dehydrated state had weakened him and left him incapable of recovering from that wicked left hand.
“Tyson” Marquez and Giovani Segura staged an awe-inspiring contest that ranks up there with any other candidate for Fight of the Year for 2013. This was a war for the ages that served to remind us that a classic firefight can break out anywhere and in any weight class. Marquez’ and Segura’s place in the hearts of fight fans and in the history books has been assured thanks to this riveting and unforgettable battle.