Michael Katsidis: On Top or Down Under?

By Ryan Watson: In just over a months time power-punching Australian Michael Katsidis takes on Mexican ring legend Juan Manuel Marquez in a clash for the WBA lightweight title at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. In a bout which has fight of the year written all over it, will we see Katsidis become the ‘nearly man’ we are all starting to suspect him of, or the champion warrior we all hope him to be?

Katsidis 27(22)-2(1) has fallen short twice before. In a close fought battle with Joel Casamayor and a one sided beating at the hands of Juan Diaz. ‘The Great’ now 30, has bounced back with 4 straight wins and claims to have never been better, and his recent 3rd round demolition of promising British prospect Kevin Mitchell did nothing to hurt that sentiment.

However, teaching a young gun a trick or two is a hell of a lot different from defeating the revered Marquez. We’re talking about a different animal entirely.

In a clash of styles that makes the mouth water and adds another ‘0’ to De La Hoya’s bank account, Katsidis will look to suffocate Marquez with pressure from the off. Staying tight on his chest and roughing him up on the inside, the Aussie will plan to be an unstoppable force that’ll make them old legs wilt.

Ironically, Marquez will welcome these tactics, believing Katsidis will be playing right into his hands. The notorious counter-puncher will intend to wear Katsidis down with counters all night and eventually take him out late on in typical Marquez fashion. Assuming of course, the ageing Marquez doesn’t run out of gas, in which case we could see a Hatton-Tszyu type affair unfold.

It’s blindingly obvious what Katsidis’ game plan is going to be; but the question is, can Marquez stop it?

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