COMMENTARY | When you think of simmering boxing feuds, a few come to mind. There's Paulie Malignaggi vs. Adrien Broner, Nonito Donaire vs. Abner Mares, and Tyson Fury vs. Everyone.
However, there has been one feud brewing for the last two years that has managed to, for the most part, stay out of the spotlight and away from the headlines. This all-Aztec rivalry involves, arguably, the two biggest names in Mexican boxing today-Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Juan Manuel Marquez.
To be fair, most of the public venom has come from Marquez's side of the feud, but Alvarez has exacerbated the animosity by publicly challenging the veteran battler to a bout on various different occasions.
The public animosity began right around the time a 20-year-old Canelo was announced to be the no. 1 contender to the vacant WBC junior middleweight title.
"That really sucks," Marquez told the media. "I am speaking as a fighter and for the fighters that are ranked. They work very hard to get in the rankings and all of a sudden this kid is the number one contender because he has the silver belt? Come on, what about Perro Angulo? What about the English guy who is ranked number 4? What about Vanes? And now you give him [Matthew] Hatton, who isn't even ranked in the super welterweight division. It took me a lot of years to get a title shot that is why I am speaking as a fighter."
Marquez would issue a double shot of venom when Alvarez failed to make the agreed upon weight of 150 lbs. for his Matthew Hatton bout.
"It shows you that he doesn't have what it takes to be a champion. I mean, how can you fail to make the contracted weight that you imposed on your opponent, and doing it in your first world title shot is unbelievable," Marquez said.
It doesn't take a psychologist to see the reasons for Marquez's anger.
The four-division world champ from Mexico City traveled a long, difficult road to get to his current level of stardom, putting in a hard fifteen years before he was ever in a position to dictate any terms in a major fight. Alvarez, at 20 years of age and with barely six years in the business had the world practically laid at his feet without having to pay the dues most fighters are required to pay.
Two full years later, Marquez's attitude toward Canelo has not changed-even after Alvarez's solid win over Austin Trout on April 20.
"A win over Trout (does) not confirm that (Canelo) is the best, because there are higher quality opponents out there," Marquez told Boxingscene. "This (is) an important step for Canelo and (a win over Trout gives him) access to bigger fights. He has to face the right opponents and prove that he is a great fighter - opponents like Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez, Vanes Martirosyan, Erislandy Lara. He has to fight those kind of opponents to prove that he's among the best in the world. That's where it should be confirmed (that he's great) and where (he will) gain greater credibility."
Alvarez, to his credit, has taken the higher road in what could be an ugly feud between countrymen.
"I don't have an opinion on that," Alvarez responded, also to Boxingscene. "I respect everyone and everyone has the right to their own opinion."
Don't confuse a quiet public demeanor with behind-the-scenes reality, though. Alvarez is a proud man and a fierce competitor. The constant jabs snapped at him and his career by such a well-known source have to produce some significant level of anger.
Normally, feuds like this would eventually find themselves resolved in a ring. On the surface, with only one division officially standing between them, a bout could conceivably happen. But Marquez is a very small welterweight and Alvarez is a junior middleweight who rehydrates to upwards of 170 lbs. by fight night. Also, consider that the 39-year-old Marquez will likely be tied to Top Rank Promotions for the two or three remaining fights of his career while Alvarez is 100% Golden Boy product-and, as we have seen, these two companies just don't do business together.
So, this simmering feud will have to stay simmering, but don't expect Marquez to take it easy on the kid anytime soon. And you can almost count on the fact that Alvarez, once he has achieved a certain level of mainstream stardom, will begin to defiantly fire back.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: Boxingscene, Examiner.com, Caneloalvarez.com
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