Once again Juan Manuel Marquez shuts down the Texan

Ducking under Diaz's right hand, Marquez is ready to counter with a left uppercut.

Back on February, 28, 2009, Juan Manuel Marquez met Juan Diaz, the three-time lightweight champ, in a ring on his home turf of Houston, Texas. The fighters exchanged heavy blows in a crowd pleasing action fight and by the middle rounds the veteran started to impose his will. In Round 8, a left uppercut opened a bad cut over the right eye of Diaz. He was later wobbled in the same round by another left uppercut. In Round 9, a combination sparked by a right hook and finishing with a left uppercut sent Diaz falling forward, down on all fours. He got up before the count reached ten but then a tremendous right uppercut dropped him again, this time flat on his back in the center of the ring. After mulling over that experience for more than a year, Diaz and his people got what they wanted a re-match. After almost three months of training and installing a new game plan, the results came out the same. Juan Diaz just doesn’t have the skills to match up with a wily veteran like Juan Manuel Marquez.

Last night, Marquez retained his WBA and WBO lightweight titles with a resounding unanimous decision victory in the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions fight card that had 8,383 boxing fans in attendance.

After making Diaz miss, Marquez countered with the sharper blows to win by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110. It was clear from the outset who was the better boxer and who would win. The only thing in doubt was if either fighter could get lucky and score the knockout.

Diaz’s master plan involved jabbing more and then moving out of harm’s way; surely more than he did back in their last meeting in Houston. He did follow through with this plan and did throw more jabs, 336 according to the people of CompuBox, but despite his increased movement, he still got hit.

“I started the fight by throwing single jabs and he countered me really well with right hands,” said Diaz later. “[My trainer] Ronnie [Shields] was telling me to double up on the jab and triple jab but it wasn’t until the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds that I started listening. My jab started working in those rounds.”

Their first bout was a boxing fan’s dream, a toe-to-toe slugfest that had the crowd on their feet. The rematch was more of a chess match. The veteran had his prey walking into punches and consistently avoided getting into any exchange where he might get caught flush on the chin. The only scary part  came in the middle rounds when Marquez was thumbed in the right eye and it quickly shut.

“It was causing me a few problems, but I have a lot of experience and I knew what to do,” said Marquez. “This is boxing and that kind of thing happens.”

As always, Marquez, who will turn 37 on August 23rd, was in great condition. He wasn’t breathing heavy even after Diaz tried to push the pace.

I would venture to say that Marquez now 51-5-1, with 37 KO’s, who now lives in nearby Anaheim, Ca., looked even better this time around. Sure, there was no knock out, but he did exceptionally well landing those signature straight rights and sharp left uppercuts. Once again, he proved that he’s a true champion.

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