Revisiting the Marquez-Diaz Fight

March 10, 2009

Juan Manuel Marquez had perhaps the most impressive victory of his career when he knocked out Juan Diaz on February 28. This classic fight still reverberates in the minds of most boxing fans who saw it. Here are some thoughts I had after reviewing the fight several times:

1. Does anyone make better adjustments during a fight than JMM?

Marquez once again showed the world not just his boxing skills, but his incredible mind. Through the first two rounds, Marquez clearly was struggling with the young and aggressive Diaz. At times it looked like Diaz would overwhelm Marquez with his pressure.

Too bad everyone forgot that Marquez has been through all of this before. Marquez has come off the canvas in two fights against Manny Pacquiao (with all due respect, a much better fighter than Diaz) of all people and regained control. In those fights, Marquez adjusted to avoid Pacquiao's dangerous straight left hand.

His last fight against Joel Casamayor also saw him struggle with Casamayor's speed, but as always, he made the necessary adjustments and took control in the middle rounds before the 11th round TKO.

In this fight, he figured out how to neutralize Diaz's left hook which had hurt him early in the fight. He was also able to avoid taking any really big shots along the ropes after about the 3rd round. Finally, Marquez discovered the effective potency of the uppercut which ultimately finished Diaz.

2. Does anyone know how to score a fight anymore?

Kevin Iole of, Harold Lederman of HBO, and Doug Fischer of The Ring all had the fight 5 rounds to 3 for Diaz. I disagree with all of them (as I had the fight 5 rounds to 3 for Marquez) but there were a couple close rounds to score.

Dan Rafael of is a solid boxing analyst. Yet he had this fight 6 rounds to 2 for Diaz going into the 9th round. Are you serious?!

It was also interesting to listen to Jim Lampley and Emanuel Steward consistenly suggest that Marquez may be wearing down during the fight. At no time did Marquez ever give any indication of this. It became so ridiculous that Max Kellerman had to gently point out to his colleagues on several occassions, "but Marquez seems to be landing the harder punches."

Why did so many think Diaz was almost "dominating" the fight before the 8th round? Was it that he was exceeding expectations? Or that they were not able to appreciate Marquez's effective counterpunching when Diaz appeared to be the aggressor in front of the home crowd? Anyway, the knockout, which was admittedly a bit sudden, must have come as a total shock to all of them.

3. Who is truly the pound for pound best at this point?

Arguments can be made for any one of four boxers: Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Bernard Hopkins, and Shane Mosley. All of these fighters have exhibited sustained greatness and currently appear to be on top of their games.

Hopkins is coming off a dominant 12 round victory over Kelly Pavlik and despite slowing down in the 2nd half of his fight with Calzaghe, deserved the decision there as well. Unfortunately, he looked very mediocre in his victory over Winky Wright before that. Also, he hasn't shown the knockout power he once had at Middleweight.

Mosley's knockout of Margarito was probably the most impressive win of any boxer over the last few years. I also think he deserved a draw against Miguel Cotto not too long ago. Unfortunately, Mosley undeniably struggled against Ricardo Mayorga (right before the Margarito fight), although it should be stated that it was at 154 pounds and he did eventually secure the knockout in the last seconds of the fight.

That leaves Marquez and Pacquiao. Both have looked fantastic in their last 3 fights. Each has knocked out their last two opponents, but Marquez's knockouts have come against better quality opposition (Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz were both top lightweights). Nonetheless Pacquiao cannot be blamed for Oscar De La Hoya's shocking decline and if De La Hoya had been fighting at a high level it would have been gutsy for PacMan to take on that challenge.

So it really comes down to who you think won that fight in 2008. I thought Marquez deserved a close decision in that fight and therefore I would pick him. I understand that some will disagree with me about the outcome.

What I can't stand is that some fools actually think we must "honor the decision of the judges" and give credit for the victory to whomever they picked, in that case Pacquiao. What the hell is that about?! In what universe do we really believe that boxing judges know how to score a fight better than any relatively well-informed boxing fan, especially when that fan can watch several replays of the fight? Make up your own mind and pick a fighter, just don't goose-step in line with so-called boxing "authorities."

4. Who needs the Pacquiao-Marquez III fight more?

From a financial standpoint, clearly Marquez does. He has been ducked his whole career and he knows at 35 he needs to make some noise to get some attention. Because of this, Marquez can be forgiven for insisting that both fights with Pacquiao were "robberies" and for his open frustration with Pacquiao. Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach has accused the Marquez camp of "crying" about the last fight, but surely Roach understands the idea of calling out a fighter in search of a payday. Isn't that what he did while insulting Oscar De La Hoya constantly in order to get De La Hoya to take a fight with his man Pacquiao?

However, if Marquez has financial motivation, Pacquiao needs the fight for his legacy. I daresay that if Pacquiao were to walk away without fighting Marquez, most people would recognize it as a sign of fear and weakness. I think Pacquiao is neither scared nor weak, but he may be tempted to make a "business decision" and avoid the risk of fighting Marquez.

In the past Pacquiao has been slightly insulting in suggesting that fighting Marquez was an important fight, but below the challenge of fighting Eric Morales or Marco Antonio Barrera. He is sadly mistaken. As so many have done, Pacquiao has underestimated Marquez, who with his past two knockouts has clearly soared past both Morales and Barrera in achievement. History is catching up to Marquez at a rapid rate and finally recognizing his greatness. Without a third fight, that greatness will outshine Pacquiao's when we all look back.

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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