LAS VEGAS-Mexico?s Juan Manuel Marquez out-dueled, out-maneuvered and out-thought Houston?s Juan ?Baby Bull? Diaz in their second fight with a return to dominance by display of scientific boxing in retaining the lightweight world championship on Saturday.
The rematch saw a switch of roles as Marquez (51-5-1, 37 KOs) was the constant aggressor and Diaz (35-4, 17 KOs) resorted to the counter-punching role. It didn?t work as the Mexico City warrior slipped into an aggressive mode with superior technique and precision in front of more than 8,000 fans at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Marquez started the first two rounds of the fight as if a continuation of their match 15 months ago. Diaz fired back in the third round with some great defense and counterpunching.
A slow starting fourth round erupted with a patented Marquez left uppercut that wobbled Diaz. Marquez attacked quickly but was unable to further punish Diaz. In the sixth round a three-punch right-left-right combination dazed Diaz who got on his bicycle to avoid further punishment. The crowd booed.
Houston?s Diaz stepped it up in the seventh but allowed Marquez to re-establish momentum in the eighth round. Diaz was falling behind.
?I fought the best fight I could I thought I fought a good fight. We were trading punches. I fought in and fought out but I didn?t want to stand in front of him. The game plan was to get in there go in get off combos, step around and get out,? said Diaz.
Marquez looked in great shape but suffered a swollen eye early in the fight. But he still controlled most of the fight as Diaz simply could not outsmart the Mexican warrior known for his scientific boxing prowess.
?He?s a great fighter with great technique,? said Marquez. ?Like every true Mexican warrior we both fought with our hearts and left it in the ring.?
Both Diaz and Marquez let the blows fly in the last 10 seconds.
Diaz had his moments but simply could never hurt Marquez and was leery of the uppercuts.
?It was hard and I got hit with a couple of good shots too. I tried to use my jab and combinations, but he is a great fighter. I was in with the best,? said Diaz, who was not nearly as damaged physically as Marquez. ?
The judges scored it 118-110, 117-111, 116-112 for Marquez who retains the lightweight world championship, but he wants the third fight with Manny Pacquiao.
?All Mexican fans and Filipinos fans want a third fight with Pacquiao,? said Marquez.
The new WBO middleweight title belongs to Russia?s Dmitry Pirog (17-0, 14 KOs) who beat New York?s Daniel ?The Golden Child? Jacobs (20-1, 17 KOs) to the punch with a right cross that stopped him cold 57 second in the fifth round.
After several rounds of amateur style boxing Jacobs tried to exchange with Pirog and was caught with a brutal right hand at 57 seconds of the round. He tried to get up but the fight was over according to referee Robert Byrd.
?It?s a sport,? said Jacobs after his first career loss. I hope everybody forgive me and keep the faith. I know I can come back and be the champ. It?s just one of those things that happened. I got caught with a shot I didn?t see.?
Pirog had been gesturing through the fight for Jacobs to exchange and when he did he punished the American
?After the second round I knew I had him. I hurt him in that round and I knew I could do it again. I hit him with a straight right hand and I could tell I hurt him,? said Pirog who has an American style of fighting. ?Danny was a dangerous fighter. He punches very quickly and sharply. I didn?t feel much from him.?
The student beat the teacher as Robert ?The Ghost? Guerrero (27-1-1, 18 KOs) beat former stable mate Joel Casamayor (37-5-1, 22 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight clash that saw the two lefties trade knockdowns. But the fight itself was never very competitive as Guerrero stormed ahead in the second round with a knockdown from a big left hand that forced the Cuban fighter to hold on for survival. Repeated holding prompted referee Jay Nady to take a point away from Casamayor who by the end of the second round was four points behind.
Casamayor was repeatedly hurt in the third and fifth rounds from the younger Guerrero who used to train under the same trainer Joe Goossen many years ago. Guerrero showed that he amassed enough knowledge to offset Casamayor?s bag of tricks.
?I had a dominant performance. He?s a lefty and really crafty. He?s a veteran and knows how to get by,? said Guerrero. ?I got caught with a good punch. He was like a ram with his head so I had to be careful.?
In the last round a perfectly timed left cross by Casamayor dropped Guerrero but he easily survived the round and won by large margins according to the judges 98-89 twice and 97-90. Both fighters hugged enthusiastically at the conclusion.
?Robert?s blows were a little awkward. If I landed one more punch it would have been over,? Casamayor, 39, said.
Venezuela?s Jorge ?El Nino de Oro? Linares (29-1, 18 KOs) stepped into overdrive immediately while Houston?s Rocky Juarez (28-7-1, 20 KOs) needed time to step on the clutch. After three rounds including a knockdown of Juarez by a pretty left uppercut Linares left the Texan needing to catch up. He couldn?t do it.
Juarez pressed the attack in round seven but it wasn?t enough to offset the huge margin that the sleek Linares had mounted. Left uppercuts and left jabs by the Venezuelan left Juarez unable to attack until it was too late in the fight. Some well-timed right hand counters by Juarez scored but they did not hurt Linares. After 10 rounds of the lightweight clash all three judges scored it for Linares 99-90 twice and 97-92.
?I fought with one hand since the beginning. When I dropped him it hurt. But I was never tired but always worried about his experience,? said Linares who trains out of Tokyo, Japan. ?I don?t want the little belt, now I want the world title belt.
Juarez was sad but admitted defeat.
?He fought a smart fight. I?m not sure what is next. I have to serious think about it,? said Juarez.
East L.A.?s Frankie ?The Pitbull? Gomez (5-0, 5 KOs) knocked out Minnesota?s Ronald Peterson (2-3) at 2:14 of the first round. A left hook following a right hand did the job for the highly rated Gomez in a junior welterweight bout.
France?s Jean Paul Mendy won after being knocked out by Sakio Bika in a super middleweight elimination fight for the world title. Mendy was dropped to a knee by a left hook but Bika continued with a right hand that connected solidly but illegally. The French fighter was out cold by the blow that may have happened because referee Joe Cortez was a little slow on the draw. The fight was stopped at 1:19 of the first round and Mendy wins by disqualification.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV