August 01, 2010
LAS VEGAS _ Fight fans just want to see fights. Few are worried about the records or style points. And after the nonsense the unfolded with the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather "negotiations" it was good to see two warriors stand toe-to-toe and blast away. Juan Diaz a good fighter but Juan Manuel Marquez is still great even at 36 years old. Marquez was crisper throughout and landed the best punch of the fight in the fourth to score a unanimous decision victory, 116-112, 118-110 and 117-111, over Diaz to retain his WBO and WBC lightweight titles in front 8,383 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
It was Marquez's first trip back to the squared circle after his defeat against one of the world's best in Floyd Mayweather in Sept. of 2009. His class was clear from the get-go against a very game Diaz. Diaz (35-4, 18 KOs) made some nice adjustments and bruised up Marquez's right eye but he could never land the fight changing shot.
Meanwhile, Marquez (51-5-1, 37 KOs) landed some heavy uppercuts with the left hand. The best came in the fourth. With 1:55 left in the round, Marquez had Diaz wobbled and landed a few more big shots. He couldn't put him away but it changed Diaz's attacking approach for the next few rounds.
Marquez outlanded Diaz 288-155 and landed at a high rate of 43 percent. Diaz took a ton of heavy shots absorbing 168-of-348 (48 percent) power punches.
Marquez, 36, said just after the fight that he wants Pacquiao more than anyone he'd have to defend his belts against in the lightweight division.
"The trilogy with Pacquiao is what I want," said Marquez. "It's what everyone wants to see. It's good for all the fight fans. The Mexicans, the Filipinos all want to see it. I'll be ready to fight in November, so hopefully Pacquiao will take the fight."
Apparently, Marquez hasn't been following the news very closely. Pacman is booked to fight Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 with the site TBA. Top Rank Promotions and Pacquiao have repeatedly said there's no interest in fighting Marquez for a third time. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told Yahoo! Sports he doesn't think there's any chance Marquez gets that third fight.
Taking part in a tournament, similar to Showtime's Super Six, at 140 pounds could also be of interest to Marquez and more importantly his promoter Golden Boy. Well, that depends on who you speak to. Oscar De La Hoya told Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole on Thursday that the promotion thinks the tournament is a great idea. Following the Marquez win, Schaefer was very down on the concept making it sound more likely that the champ could meet Amir Khan at 140 pounds.
The result was an improvement for Diaz over the first fight between the lightweights back in February of 2009. Or was it? Diaz got stopped via TKO in the ninth but going into the round that fight was also 1-1-1 on the judges scorecards. Tonight, he tried to box more and nearly got shutout. He survived but really never threatened Marquez this time.
Diaz is only 26 but he's now lost 4-of-6 fights. He's also going to school with an eye towards a law degree and will take the LSAT's in the fall. When pressed on his future, Diaz wouldn't commit one way or the other.