At the age of 41, Juan is a 21-year pro. A certain future Hall of Famer, he is a former world champion at 126, 130, 135, and 140 pounds — a veteran of 15 world title fights and three interim world title fights.
When Juan won the WBA-WBO lightweight world titles in February 2009, he joined an elite group of only five Mexicans who have won world titles in three different weight divisions – Juan, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Fernando Montiel. They were joined in 2011 by Jorge Arce.
Juan, Morales, and Arce have now taken another significant step – they are the only ones who have gone on to win world titles in four weight divisions.
Juan is coming off a unanimous decision win over Mike Alvarado on May 17, 2014 at the historic Forum in Inglewood, California for the vacant WBO welterweight international title.
Prior to that, he had a 12-round split decision loss against Timothy Bradley Jr. on October 12 – he was challenging for a world title in a fifth weight division, welterweight.
It was a close, exciting fight. Juan gave a tremendous effort and thought he deserved to win. After the fight, he said, “We came to do our job and get a win. You don’t necessarily have to win by knockout. We did our job. You can’t win all fights by knockout. We did what was necessary to win.”
On December 8, 2012, he scored a spectacular one-punch knockout win against Manny Pacquiao. It was their fourth fight, and Juan’s first win in the series.
After the fight, Dan Rafael wrote on ESPN.com [excerpts]: The rivalry between Marquez and Pacquiao was already one for the ages through their first three fights, all of which were outstanding action battles that ended in controversial decisions and with Marquez – and many others – feeling as if he had been robbed each time. There was the draw in a 2004 featherweight championship fight and then two close Pacquiao victories – a 2008 split decision in a junior lightweight title fight and a majority decision in a welterweight title fight in November 2011.
So, coming into the fourth showdown between the great rivals and surefire Hall of Famers…both wanted to put their stamp on the rivalry and leave no doubt about who the winner was this time.
They fought with an even greater intensity than in their first three fights, thrilling the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd of 16,348. It was a Marquez house, thanks to his loyal Mexican fans, and they got exactly what they wanted, as did Marquez: a massive knockout victory in a scene as stunning as anything witnessed in recent boxing history.
It was a great fight. It was so good that a realistic argument can be made that it ultimately will produce the 2012 fighter of the year (Marquez), the knockout of the year and the round of the year (the sensational toe-to-toe fifth round).
Through the first three fights, Pacquiao had the big edge in knockdowns. He dropped Marquez three times in the first round of their first fight and dropped him in the third round of the rematch. Marquez got one back in the second round of fight No. 4, landing a nice right hand to plant Pacquiao on the canvas with about 70 seconds to go. The Filipino congressman was clearly hurt but made it out of the round. He rebounded well from the knockdown and began to take over the fight.
In the fifth round – which was as good as it gets and is probably the single best round from the four fights — Pacquiao rocked Marquez with a straight left hand and sent him reeling. Marquez touched his glove to the canvas, and referee Kenny Bayless properly ruled a knockdown. Pacquiao was getting the better of the heated action and had Marquez’s nose bleeding and busted up as they tore into each other throughout the round.
Pacquiao continued to pour it on in the sixth round, and it seemed as though he was beginning to take over the fight. He was headed toward easily winning the sixth round on the scorecards, but then it happened: Pacquiao missed with a right jab and Marquez – one of the best counterpunchers in the game – countered with a fierce overhand right that landed squarely in the center of Pacquiao’s face. He never saw the punch coming and was out cold before he hit the canvas. Bayless didn’t bother to count and called off the fight as Marquez climbed the ring ropes to celebrate with blood smeared all over his face and chest. Everyone wanted a clear result, and we got it — in a great fight to boot. [End Rafael item]
Juan is experienced against top opposition, and has fought current or former world champions Timothy Bradley Jr. (L12), Manny Pacquiao four times (D12, L12, L12, KO6), Juan Diaz twice (W12, KO9), Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L12), Joel Casamayor (TKO11), Marco Antonio Barrera (W12), Chris John (L12), Derrick Gainer (TW7), Manuel Medina (TKO7), Robbie Peden (TKO10), Daniel Jimenez (TKO7), Fred Norwood (L12), Alfred Kotey (W12), Agapito Sanchez (W12), and Julio Gervacio (KO8).
Two weeks after Juan won the IBF featherweight world title in February, 2003, his younger brother, Rafael Marquez, won the IBF bantamweight world title with a knockout victory against defending champion Tim Austin.
They are the fourth pair of Mexican brothers to win world titles, joining Rene Arredondo (two-time WBC super lightweight) and Ricardo Arredondo (WBC super featherweight), Erik Morales (WBC super bantamweight, two-time WBC featherweight, and WBC super featherweight) and Diego Morales (WBO jr. bantamweight), and Gabriel Ruelas (WBC super featherweight) and Rafael Ruelas (IBF lightweight).
Juan and Rafael are the first Mexican brothers, however, to both win world titles in two or more different weight divisions.
Regarding his nickname, Juan said, “It comes from when I was fighting at The Forum in Los Angeles. People were calling me ‘Dinamita’ maybe because of the way I fight. I don’t mind. I just kept it as my ringname. I’m just happy, because people obviously like the way I fight.”