Juan Manuel Marquez retained the legitimate lightweight championship of the world with a second defeat of Juan Diaz, but this time the fight wasn't nearly as thrilling as their 2009 Fight of the Year. Marquez statistically dominated a more tentative Diaz, who seemed to have little fire throughout the night and attempted to box the entire night, which has never been Diaz's strength. Official scores were 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112. Bad Left Hook scored the bout 118-110 for Marquez.
The CompuBox numbers (from HBO PPV's broadcast) more or less do tell the story of this fight:
Marquez: 288/672, 43%
Diaz: 155/579, 27%
Marquez: 120/324, 37%
Diaz: 81/336, 24%
Marquez: 168/348, 48%
Diaz: 74/243, 30%
The 120 jabs landed by Marquez were the most he's ever landed in a CompuBox-tallied fight, and it should also be noted that Diaz, who made his bones by going to the body, landed just 28 body punches in the fight.
Diaz (35-4, 17 KO) tried early to box more than he ever has before, and it was an admirable attempt to change his style for a big fight. His more usual style did not work against Marquez last time, but after the fourth or fifth round of this fight, it was clear that the new approach also was not going to work. Diaz simply cannot outbox Marquez (51-5-1, 37 KO), and eventually it became a bit frustrating that he and trainer Ronnie Shields showed no desire to change the gameplan when it was obviously not going to defeat Marquez. Jim Lampley and Emanuel Steward, calling the broadcast for HBO, continually lauded the "smart" fighting, but it was noted in our comments by many that it can't exactly be too smart to keep fighting in a way that will not win the fight. But I don't fault Diaz for not trying his best; he did try his best, at least so far as sticking with a plan. It just didn't work.
I'm not trying to be negative, but it can't go unsaid that this fight was a disappointment as compared to their first bout. It was a solid fight, but not near a great one, and will not be close to the running for the 2010 Fight of the Year.
After the fight, Diaz seemed to say he was ready to move on with his life outside of boxing. At 26, he's been through the wars, had plenty of good fights, and was generally an entertaining fighter to watch. If this was his last bout, we can do nothing but wish him all the best in his future.
For Marquez, who turns 37 soon, this was not a great performance, but was indeed a very good one. He was likely a bit rusty having not fought for a good while, but you could see the sparks here and there. And really, he wasn't forced into doing more than he really had to. Early on, he seemed to be itching for a fight, but eventually it became clear he wasn't going to get Diaz to engage in the firefight he wanted. Late in the fight, he did take his foot off the gas some, but he'll have a money fight coming up next. He again called out Manny Pacquiao in the post-fight interview with Lampley, but most likely will find himself fighting Amir Khan at 140 pounds next.
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