Dinamita! Marquez KO's Diaz in Nine after Unforgettable War
By Thomas Gerbasi, MaxBoxing.com (Mar 1, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
Call it another one for the ‘old’ guys, as 35-year old Juan Manuel Marquez joined his Golden Boy Promotions stablemates Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins by turning back the clock and the challenge of 25-year old Juan Diaz, capping off a fierce battle with a stirring ninth round knockout at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Marquez adds the vacant WBA and WBO lightweight belts, as well as Diaz’ IBO 135-pound crown to his Ring magazine title.

There was no feeling out process in this one, with Diaz pressuring Marquez, and “Dinamita” trying to counter in an effort to keep the 25-year old Texan off him. This led to some heated close range exchanges, with Diaz holding the early edge. By the end of the round though, Marquez seemed to have found his rhythm, only to get tagged by a hard hook seconds before the bell sounded.

Diaz immediately put Marquez’ back on the ropes in the second round, but the counters from the 35-year old vet were effective. Midway through the round, Diaz rocked Marquez with a left hook, and the crowd’s roar got even louder. The rest of the round was fought evenly, and both men got their licks in.

Marquez looked good in the third frame, his accurate punching getting Diaz’ attention but not keeping him from getting in close. What ensued in the second half of the round were more furious exchanges that delighted the fans in the Toyota Center.

The toe-to-toe action didn’t relent in the fourth, and just when Diaz would rip off a flurry that looked to be breaking his foe down, Marquez would come back with the same combination plus one or two more shots for extra measure, showing the younger fighter that he was far from done.

Round five was almost impossible to call, with both fighters tearing into each other with shots to the head and body throughout the three minutes. At the end of the round, Marquez walked back to his corner with a cut over his right eye, amazingly the first blood of the bout.

Smelling blood, Diaz walked right at Marquez to begin the sixth, but the Mexico native still gave as good as he got in another round of tense warfare.

As the second half of the fight got underway, a subtle change became evident, as – despite a consistent workrate – Marquez began to show signs of weariness on his face, not a good sign as there was still half a fight to go with a still energetic Diaz.

Diaz was cut over the right eye early in the eighth, and Marquez used this to his advantage as he ripped straight shots and uppercuts through his opponent’s guard. After weathering the storm, Diaz fired back aggressively, but in the final 30 seconds, a Marquez hook staggered the ‘Baby Bull’, capping off Marquez’ best round of the fight.

Apparently ignoring the previous round, Diaz put his hard hat on and went right back to work in round nine, but in the final minute, a close range right hand hurt Diaz, and after a Marquez flurry, Diaz was sent down face first into the ropes. Diaz gamely rose to his feet, but Marquez would not be denied, with a right uppercut putting the Texan down a second time, prompting referee Rafael Ramos to halt the bout immediately at the 2:40 mark.

With the win, Marquez improves to 50-4-1 with 37 KOs; Diaz falls to 34-2 with 17 KOs. At the time of the stoppage, the bout was even, with Levi Martinez seeing it 76-76, Max DeLuca scoring it 77-75 for Diaz, and Duane Ford judging it 77-75 for Marquez.

After four unsuccessful tries for a world title, most believed that if Rocky Juarez didn’t get the job done tonight against WBA featherweight champ Chris John that there would be no fifth shot. But after a spirited 12 round draw with the titleholder from Indonesia, expect to see Juarez back for title fight number six sometime soon.

Scores were 114-114 across the board.

Juarez, usually a slow starter, made an effort to be a little busier at the start of the bout, and while John’s defense and jab were solid, Juarez was effective in closing the gap and getting inside for some good bodywork.

The Houston native continued to score well in the second, mainly with whipping hooks to the head and body – all of which drew roars from the pro-Juarez crowd. John was no shrinking violet, even though his punches didn’t deter Juarez’ forward march.

John kicked off the offensive portion of round three, aiming to keep Juarez at bay. The challenger eagerly obliged, and he landed the harder shots, yet it was John who was the busier of the two.

Juarez landed his biggest punch of the fight – a right hand to the head – in the fourth round, yet John was unmoved, and he kept up his end of the bargain with more inside busywork.

Both men put in good work in the fifth stanza, with Juarez again landing with his flush right hand, and John drawing first blood as he cut his challenger over the left eye.

The action continued at a crisp pace in the sixth, and while Juarez did his best to try to muscle the champion around, John’s constant and accurate punching carried the round. Little changed in round seven, but in the eighth, Juarez’ consistent bodywork got the crowd back in the fight.

Looking to keep the momentum going, Juarez went on the attack again in round nine, slipping a lot of John’s straight punches on the way in, but the Indonesian was so busy that even if he missed two, he was still getting one in. That was a problem Juarez was dealing with all night, and even when he would land a flush shot, John shook it off.

Amazingly, both fighters’ furious pace refused to wane as the bout entered the tenth, and neither showed any signs of slowing down anytime soon. By the 11th, Juarez’ right eye was beginning to swell shut, but he kept moving forward, apparently hurting John briefly with a left hook to the body as the crowd chanted his name. And by the end of the round, Juarez looked to have finally broken through John’s defenses, much to the delight of the crowd.

Juarez got right in John’s chest to begin the final round, but John refused to give ground as he flurried on the courageous challenger. Midway through the round, Juarez scored with short hooks that jarred John, and the drama was increasing with each passing second. By the final 30 seconds, it was Juarez wading in looking for the finisher while John threw combinations back, but there would be no knockout – or winner - in this one.

John’s record goes to 42-0-2 with 22 KOs; the draw puts Juarez at 28-4-1 with 20 KOs.

Special thank to MaxBoxing.com for providing Doghouse Boxing with this Article.

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