As had been all but officially reported by HBO or the promoters, the proposed December 12 rematch between Juan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi is now 100% on. HBO made an official announcement on their Facebook page earlier today. As we discussed just a couple of days ago, the fight will be held at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Ticket information has yet to be released.
December 12 will be a busy day for boxing. Along with the Diaz-Malignaggi rematch on HBO (paired with Victor Ortiz-Antonio Diaz), Showtime will be presenting a show featuring Timothy Bradley-Lamont Peterson and Vic Darchinyan-Tomas Rojas. One also figures that someone will pick up Vitali Klitschko-Kevin Johnson for American TV. There have been rumblings that with Kelly Pavlik pulling out on his December 5 date, HBO may have the money necessary to grab Klitschko-Johnson and put it on tape delay with the Diaz-Malignaggi show. Klitschko's September fight with Cristobal Arreola did HBO's best ratings of 2009.
As for Diaz-Malignaggi, I'm glad it all got worked out and both sides were able to be placated enough for it to happen. Chicago is a neutral site so that won't play into anything this time. The August fight generated far more interest than anyone expected, and that was even before the controversy on the scorecards. The fight did what was reported as a surprisingly high TV rating, and that was before it became the talk of boxing for a couple weeks.
I also don't really know who to favor in the rematch. Without meaning to insult either of them, both are limited fighters, and their styles make for a tough fight to call. I scored the first bout for Malignaggi, but could I have seen it scored for Diaz? Sure, plenty of very smart folks felt Juan won (though nobody agreed with the 118-110 card). It was a competitive, entertaining fight, and a rematch is deserved.
For Paulie, he can attempt to right what he sees as a wrong, and get his career fully back on track. A clear loss in August would have really hurt him. For Juan, it's a chance to prove that there's no controversy, to clear the air with a win and shut Paulie's mouth. Pretty basic storylines, but effective, too.