Juan Diaz’s big chance
By Vikram Birring (Feb 18, 2009) DoghouseBoxing.com  
For a man that has seven lightweight championship defenses, one would think his career would be at the end of the line, and a cadre of highlights have been in the past.

But for Juan Diaz, this is not the case. After a lengthy reign as lightweight champion, he is still just 25 years old, and in his hometown of Houston, Texas, he is a tremendous draw, as evidenced by the over 14,000 fans who came in droves to watch Diaz’s bout against Michael Katsidis this past September.

Now, Diaz faces his toughest test. Standing in his way is modern Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez, the only man in recent history who has given the best boxer in the world, Manny Pacquiao, a challenge in recent years. As seen by Pacquiao’s dominant performances against Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and most recently, a shocking dismantling of Oscar De La Hoya, the fact that Marquez gave him so many problems in their two bouts is held in even higher esteem.

Marquez is a sharp, fluid boxer. He stands straight up, with his arms held high, but his gloves leave a gap so he can see what his opponent’s eyes and thought process. He is the boxing equivalent of a king cobra, one mistake, and he picks off the prey with stunning quickness and accuracy. Master boxer Joel Casamayor was worn down and beat up in September as he had never been before in a long, distinguished career.

Diaz’s style is non-stop aggression. He does not have the blessing of one punch power, so he accumulates punishment on his opponent until they submit and quit, sometimes, quitting boxing altogether, like Billy Irwin, Julien Lorcy, and Acelino Freitas. If he can impose his style on Marquez, his chances of victory are high. But Marquez dealt with the sheer tenacity and intensity of Manny Pacquiao, a fighter with massive power and blinding speed, so other than a roaring crowd in his back pocket, Diaz has the odds stacked against him.

All great champions overcome obstacles, and this is Juan Diaz’s chance to make his name in boxing lore.

Questions or comments,
Vikram at: vikram.birring@gmail.com

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