INGLEWOOD, California - Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico won a clear unanimous decision over Mike Alvarado on Saturday night, dominating in his return to the Forum ring for its first boxing card in 13 years.
Marquez (56-7-1) dismantled Alvarado with 12 rounds of technical brilliance and vicious power, knocking down Alvarado in the eighth round and bouncing back from his own ninth-round knockdown to finish strong. Marquez staggered Alvarado right before the final bell, punctuating another for the 40-year-old four-division champion.
The welterweight win likely sets up Marquez for a fifth fight with Manny Pacquiao later this year.
Alvarado (34-3) never got rolling in his second straight defeat, struggling to land any major shots beyond the right that sent Marquez to the canvas.
Judges Max DeLuca and Julie Lederman scored it 117-109 for Marquez, and Robert Byrd favored him 119-108. The Associated Press also scored it 117-109 for Marquez, giving him 10 of the 12 rounds.
Marquez improved to 13-0 at the Forum, where he hadn't fought since 1999.
Arguably the greatest Mexican fighter of his generation, Marquez showcased the roots of his success against Alvarado, whose apparent fear of Marquez's famed counterpunching left him waiting for Marquez to clobber him.
Marquez outlanded Alvarado in 11 rounds, connecting with 44 percent of his 627 punches. His power shots were even more devastating, landing 57 percent to just 34 percent for Alvarado.
After a raucous pro-Mexican crowd cheered him into the ring, Marquez was in charge from the opening rounds. With Alvarado sitting back and waiting, Marquez pounded him to the body and pulped the left side of his face, opening a cut under his eye in the middle rounds.
Marquez knocked down Alvarado with a counter right hand in the final seconds of the eighth, sending Alvarado sliding under the ropes and nearly off the canvas into the photographers.
Alvarado recovered after the bell, and he knocked down Marquez with a double right hand early in the ninth, stunning the pro-Marquez crowd. But the shot only seemed to enrage Marquez, who landed big combinations for the rest of the round.
Alvarado's face was swollen with damage under both eyes in the final rounds. Alvarado wobbled Marquez again in the 11th round, but Marquez kept his feet and finished to a standing ovation.
Marquez knocked out Pacquiao in December 2012 in the crowning moment of his career, but returned last fall for a split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley.
He was back on top in the heralded return of boxing to the Forum, the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings. The Forum was a boxing hotbed for 30 years, hosting Muhammad Ali's second fight with Ken Norton along with dozens of fight nights promoted by Lakers owner Jerry Buss.
Alvarado hadn't fought since Ruslan Provodnikov stopped him last fall. Alvarado moved away from his native Denver to the Los Angeles area in preparation for this bout, determined to avoid the pitfalls lurking in his hometown.
Ukraine's Viktor Postol stopped Turkey's Selcuk Aydin with a stunning right uppercut in the 11th round of their 140-pound bout before the main event. Postol, a Freddie Roach-trained fighter, dominated the early rounds before finishing strong in just his second U.S. bout.
Oscar Valdez and Diego Magdaleno picked up victories earlier on the undercard.