Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Juan Diaz II Preview & Picks

Juan Manuel Marquez takes on Juan Diaz this Saturday, July 31, in a rematch of the 2009 Fight of the Year. The bout headlines an HBO pay-per-view event in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay. Also scheduled for the televised portion of the PPV is Daniel Jacobs vs. Dmitry Pirog, Jorge Linares vs. Rocky Juarez and Joel Casamayor vs. Robert Guerrero.

Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Juan Diaz II
Money Line: Marquez -400; Diaz +300
WBO/Super WBA Lightweight Title

Each fighter showed tremendous will during their first fight in 2009, a main reason the bout garnered Fight of the Year honors. After a back-and-forth battle, the fight was even on the scorecards going into the ninth round. Juan Manuel Marquez closed the show and was able to end the fight with a TKO of Juan Diaz with just 20 seconds remaining in the ninth round.

Juan Manuel Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KOs) is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing. Only Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao rank higher. Despite losing to both men in his career, Marquez gave Pacquiao all he could handle on two separate occasions. Marquez-Diaz was certainly a great fight but not one that begged for a rematch. Marquez was hoping to lure Ricky Hatton back to the ring but Juan Diaz is not a bad Plan B. If fans purchase the pay-per-view based on the excitement level of the first fight, then they will be in store for a good night of boxing. Marquez is durable and difficult to stop. Always entertaining, it’s the quick fighters that give him trouble, like Floyd Mayweather Jr did last year.

Juan Diaz (35-3, 17 KOs) is no Floyd Mayweather Jr. But being Juan Diaz isn’t all that bad. He’s a smart kid (at 26 he’s currently studying for the LSAT) that never backs down from a fight. He had his problems with Paulie Malignaggi last year, but that style was not setup well for him. An aging Marquez, who turns 37 in August, works out much better. Diaz won’t have to chase Juan Manuel Marquez. That works out well for the Baby Bull as well as the fans. A collision in the center of the ring is the best gameplan for Diaz. While Diaz has shown good defense in the past, especially against Michael Katsidis in 2008, Diaz will need to think more offensively. Marquez is tough to hurt but he’s no stranger to the canvas. While rematches rarely live up to their predecessors’ standard, Juan Diaz and Juan Manuel Marquez ought to be a great nightcap to an exciting night of fights.

Staff Predictions

Corey Willinger: In the first fight, Marquez took everything Diaz threw at him for the first five rounds. After that, Diaz was spent and Marquez dissected him. Don’t expect Diaz to come out with that same fire this time, for fear of running out of gas again. As he showed in February of 2009, Marquez takes it to another level when fighting under intense pressure; with more time to call his shots, he’ll pick Diaz apart once more and take him out around the seventh round.

Paul Magno: Some will downplay this bout because both are coming from losses where they didn’t look very good, but now they’re back to their normal weights and both are looking for redemption. This is a true crossroads fight where the loser may as well retire and the winner gets one more shot at glory. There’s no way that this one won’t be entertaining, but I’m picking Juan Manuel Marquez this time for the same reason I picked him the last time. He’s smarter, sharper and just technically superior to Diaz. I see Diaz fighting to the very end this time, but I don’t see him winning. My pick is Marquez via solid, but not dominant unanimous decision in a candidate for Fight of the Year.

Trent Pusey: Both men are going to get hit a lot during this fight. According to CompuBox, there were a total of 540 punches landed in their first fight. That creates a lot of variables in predicting a fight such as cuts or swelling. In that case, Marquez becomes the pick because he is the more experienced fighter. In fact, it was a cut to Diaz that led to his downfall against Marquez the first time around. We don’t need Daniel Day-Lewis to know that there will be blood. Diaz will put up a great effort but he will get stopped in the later rounds. I fully expect cuts and/or swelling to play a part in the finish as Marquez puts Diaz away in the tenth round.

Part 1: Daniel Jacobs vs. Dmitry Pirog
Part 2: Jorge Linares vs. Rocky Juarez
Part 3: Joel Casamayor vs. Robert Guerrero

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