5 keys for Sergey Fedchenko
Plotting a path to victory for Sergey Fedchenko against Juan Manuel Marquez
Juan Manuel Marquez's lightweight title match with Ukraine welterweight contender Sergey Fedchenko on Saturday is widely considered an interim fight for Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs), a prelude to bigger and better things for the multiple-division champ from Mexico. It will also be a chance for Marquez to perform in front of his countrymen after an 18-year absence from the rings of his native Mexico City, in a split-site doubleheader shared with Brandon Rios' attempt to regain his 135-pound crown in Las Vegas.
The main event, which will take place at the brand-new, 20,000-plus-seat Arena Ciudad de Mexico, will match an up-and-comer in Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs) against one of the world's most experienced fighters. The clash of styles appears to favor Marquez in almost every department -- chiefly stamina and versatility -- while the visitor can at least try to impose his larger frame and awkward, long-range fighting style.
Marquez has everything he needs to dominate Fedchenko and give local fans a long-awaited homecoming victory, but a rising contender appearing in the biggest fight of his career shouldn't be so easily dismissed. Here are five keys to victory for Fedchenko against Marquez:
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|Fedchenko has shown severe stamina problems in his past few fights, especially when he receives a lot of punishment. His energy seems to vanish when he's pushed hard enough, and one thing is certain: Marquez will push him to the limit. This is probably the category that features the biggest gap between the two fighters. Marquez is a 12-round fighter who starts and finishes his fights with the same energy, and Fedchenko will have to summon every particle of his being to match Marquez's relentless pace.|
Stand your ground
|Fedchenko doesn't throw many punches, but when he does, he usually does so from very awkward and uncomfortable positions. He sometimes throws punches with his feet off the ground, in fact, and his posture leaves much to be desired. Staying on the toes is a good idea against a power puncher like Marquez, in order to back up when the onslaught comes. Moreover, Fedchenko needs to plant himself on the canvas much more solidly if he wants to deliver any kind of damage himself.|
|A body puncher is one of the many things Fedchenko is not. He's the quintessential stand-up European fighter who rarely strays too far from the old 1-2 to the head and the occasional hook upstairs. His repertoire is very basic, at best, and it's way too late for him to learn a new attack in a hurry, especially when facing the best combination puncher in the business. Fedchenko needs to stick to his game and hope for the best. Landing a good number of jabs, straight rights and hooks on Marquez's head in every round will be the only way to put money in the bank for him.|
Less is less
|No typo here. Fedchenko isn't one of those "I'll take three to give back one" type of guys. His sparse punching output isn't a tactic to lure his opponents into a counterattack. He simply doesn't throw much. And he's about to run into an awesome volume puncher, a nonstop action fighter. The less he throws, the more miniscule his chances. Fedchenko needs to come into the fight in top shape and throw dozens of punches, landing them or not, if he wishes to make any kind of positive impression on the judges. We doubt that he'll be able to do it, but he's got to try, right?|
Off the ropes
|Marquez will have a reach disadvantage against a tall, straight-up fighter like Fedchenko. He will need to find his range and punish Fedchenko in short spurts instead of forcing the mid- to long-range fight at the center of the ring, where he loses an edge. By drawing his opponent toward the ropes, Fedchenko will be able to keep Marquez coming at him and then fight him off with his solid crosses and hooks, and his shaky stance can use the support provided by the ropes. Marquez is the expert counterpuncher, but if Fedchenko makes him come at him and then effectively counterattacks himself, from a solid stance, he should have a better chance to hurt Marquez in the long run.|
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.
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