Boxing Notebook: Repeat, No Revenge

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: August 1, 2010

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NEW YORK (BASN) — The rematch of the 2009 “Fight of the Year” didn’t end the way it did during the first encounter when Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Juan Diaz to claim the WBA/WBO lightweight championships.

The rematch was different, but the result was the same — a Marquez victory.

“In the first fight, Juan Diaz came forward,” Marquez said. “He pressed the fight. He was aggressive. Diaz was thinking more this time. He boxed more. The fight was a bit more technical, and I am happy with my performance.”

Marquez (51-5-1, 37 KOs), fighting under the bright lights of the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, captured a well-deserved unanimous 12-round decision against Diaz (35-4, 17 KOs), in defense of the unified WBA/WBO 135-pound titles.

Like every true Mexican warrior, we fought with all our hearts and left it all out there,” Marquez said afterwards. Marquez, once again, proved technically superior to Diaz, a former unified WBA/WBO and IBF 135-pound champion.

Marquez’ left jab was accurate, as he was able to land a variety of hooks and uppercuts. Diaz did give Marquez a few fits because, unlike the first fight and recent bouts against Paulie Malignaggi, he wasn’t flat-footed.

Diaz showed better footwork, but didn’t throw as many punches and wasn’t as active as Marquez. The official judges’ scorecards read: 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112 for what was a pretty decent fight.

“Tonight was not my night,” Diaz said. “Juan Manuel Marquez is a great fighter. He is a future Hall of Famer and it was an honor to be in the ring with him again.”

In his previous bout, Marquez fought two weight divisions above his 135-pound limit to challenge unbeaten welterweight Floyd Mayweather last September.

Marquez suffered a knockdown and lost a lopsided decision.

Having returned to familiar ground to dominate a fighter he once defeated, Marquez has a couple of options for his next bout.

Marquez could move into a bout with WBO interim lightweight champion Michael Katsidis. That would be a good fight because Katsidis has tremendous power, he can brawl, and he cuts easily which always adds drama to a fight.

Marquez could also meet WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan in what would be a bigger fight between two very solid boxers. The advantage for Marquez is that Khan has difficulty fighting on the inside where Marquez can be a wicked body-puncher.

The disadvantage for Marquez in fighting Khan is that he would have to move up in weight to 140 pounds for the fight. There is no way a Khan risk depleting himself to 135 for a fight against an older, slower 36 year-old who will be strong at that weight.

There a few that would love to see a Marquez-Manny Pacquiao III fight. That won’t happen anytime soon, as Pacquiao has agreed to fight Antonio Margarito on November 13, either in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or Mexico.

Personally, what good would a third fight between Pacquiao-Marquez prove? Pacquiao dropped Marquez three times in the first round of the initial encounter six years ago.

Since there was no three-knockdown rule, the bout continued. Marquez rallied and escaped with a draw. In the 2008 rematch, Marquez lost a razor thin spit-decision highlighted by him getting knocked down early in the bout.

Marquez against anyone else at 135 or even 140 is great, but the only fight everyone wants to see Pacquiao in is with Mayweather.

Dimirty Pirog punishes the Golden Child

What was supposed to have been a life-defining moment for Brownsville Brooklyn’s Danny Jacobs evolved into the worst beating of his career. A victory would have placed Jacobs on the cusp of being recognized as America’s next big boxing superstar. Jacobs’ bout was even billed as the chief supporting co-featured attraction to the main event.

Golden Boy Promotions’ highly touted undefeated “Golden Child,” Jacobs was put into world title fight for the vacant WBO middleweight championship against an older, more experienced professional from Russia named Dimitry Pirog.

While the fight was exciting and very impressive, the results were disastrous as Jacobs (20-1, 17 KOs) fell victim to a sharp overhand right to the chin from Pirog (17-0, 14 KOs) that knocked him out cold just 57 seconds into the fifth round.

“I enjoyed the fight with Daniel Jacobs. I want to say thank you to Danny for coming and fighting with me. He really did come at me which made it a great fight. I hope everyone enjoyed the fight and I look forward to more great things.”

The punch, combined with the way Jacobs was dropped asleep to the canvas, produced what many will consider the 2010 “Knockout of the Year.” Watching Pirog chase after Jacobs was similar to watching a butcher cornering a pig prior to its slaughter.

Pirog’s meal wasn’t any part of Jacobs, but rather a reward of the WBO 160-poiund championship that became vacant after WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez was stripped of the title weeks after besting Kelly Pavlik in April.

Throughout Jacobs’ 2 ½-year career, he has fought on the undercard of many of the biggest pay-per-views in recent years: Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao, Bernard Hopkins vs. Kelly Pavlik, Joe Calzaghe vs. Roy Jones, Jr., and Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton to name a few.

Jacobs has amassed a once-perfect record that included 10 first-round knockouts. It was as though Jacobs, behind Golden Boy Promotions, would steamroll through everyone placed in his path toward greatness.

Little was the boxing community aware of a wall named Pirog.

A lot of people predicted Jacobs to beat Pirog based on the fact they’ve never seen Pirog in a pair of boxing gloves. It’s okay to go with familiarity, but it’s important to know as much about both fighters as possible before going out on a limb.

For those that knew of Pirog, his victory over Jacobs was only a mild upset. What was shocking was the fact that Jacobs literally had no answer for Pirog’s pressure and applied power

Aside from being older at 29, Pirog had a stellar amateur record of 200-30. He’s a defense-first type of a fighter and uses a shoulder-roll to help slip and block punches.

Pirog isn’t a typical straight-up European fighter, as he uses fluent movement and like a Juan Manuel Marquez he tries to figure out the opponent’s punch-patterns before going for the kill.

Jacobs fell right into Pirog’s game plan. Jacobs threw every punch in his arsenal at Pirog and missed. By doing so, he allowed Pirog to see the angles and figure out when the punches are coming and at what speed. Pirog shuffled Jacobs with a stiff right hand in the opening round, but seriously buckled his knees in round two.

Jacobs simply couldn’t adjust and had to have known he was in trouble because; Pirog had better timing and eventually wasn’t worried about following him around the ring.

What a performance. To Pirog go the spoils.

Robert Guerrero decisions Joel Casamayor

The southpaw battle between Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (26-1-1, 18 KOs) and Joel Casamayor (37-5-1, 22 KOs) proved to be one-sided, but not without a few surprises as both former world champions tasted the canvas. However, in the end, the younger Guerrero proved to be the stronger, fresher, and dominant of the two.

“You never want to attack a crafty guy when he is hurt,” Guerrero said. “You have seen previous fights with Casamayor when he has knocked guys out when he was hurt.”

Guerrero, a former two-division IBF champion, won a 10-round unanimous decision against Casamayor, a former WBA super featherweight and WBC lightweight titlist.

The scores were 98-89 (twice) and 97-90 for Guerrero.

Referee Jay Nady docked one point from Casamayor for holding. Later in the round, Guerrero clipped Casamayor with a beautiful right jab, straight-left combination that shocked him. A dazed and badly hurt Casamayor grabbed Guerrero before falling forward on the canvas for an official knockdown.

As the bout progressed, Casamayor, a former Olympic gold medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, a veteran of more than 300 amateur bouts, and 14 years as a professional, looked off balanced with poor coordination whenever Guerrero punched him.

Guerrero was winning round-after-round and appeared to coast through the fight before the unthinkable occurred. Toward the later stage of the 10th and final round, The aging 39 year-old surprisingly dropped Guerrero off a stiff right jab.

Guerrero was fast to return to his feet, but was cautious for the final moments.

Jorge Linares outpoints Rocky Juarez

In October 2009, former unbeaten two-division world titlist Jorge Linares suffered the first defeat of his career. It was an embarrassing first-round TKO at the hands of current WBA super featherweight champion, Juan Carlos Salgado.

One of the best ways to recover from a shock KO defeat is to move up in weight and dominate fighters in a higher weight class.

Linares did just that on Saturday on the undercard of the highly-touted “Marquez-Diaz 2: The Rematch.” Linares (27-1, 18 KOs), moving up to the lightweight division, the former featherweight and super featherweight champion, unanimously defeated former U.S. Olympian and five-time world title contender Rocky Juarez (28-6-1, 20 KOs) after 10 rounds.

All three judges scored the bout 99-90 (twice) and 97-92 for Linares.

“I gave a great performance,” Linares said. “Rocky is a great fighter. I will be back better than ever, stronger than ever. I wait to come back to Las Vegas and fight again.”

Linares boxed and moved intelligently around the ring.

Linares punched from various angles behind a stiff left jab and combinations.

Juarez simply couldn’t wear Linares down. Juarez was chasing after Linares and receiving leather in exchange.

Juarez did catch Linares with a few good right hands, but only a few. The best punch of the fight occurred in round five when Linares badly wobbled and dropped Juarez with a short left uppercut on the inside at end of round five.

Juarez did finish strong by pressuring Linares against the ropes with right hands. However, Linares countered with jabs and fast combinations.

Juarez said: “Tonight was a big opportunity for me to put myself back in line for another world title and I blew it. I didn’t fight the fight that I trained for. Linares fought a great fight, a smart fight.”