Marquez and Diaz going into battle in the first fight
By Matthew Hurley: The summer months, which have seen a dearth of quality bouts, have not been particularly kind to boxing fans, and with the mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather falling apart yet again frustration abounds.
Still, HBO Pay-Per-View and Golden Boy Promotions has put together a potentially exciting fight card for this Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The major selling point is the rematch of 2009’s Fight of the Year between Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz for the lightweight title. But should boxing fans be expected to plunk down another fifty bucks for a bout no really asked for?
I was in Las Vegas when the Marquez – Diaz rematch was officially announced as a pay-per-view event and the boxing fans I talked with literally threw their hands up in the air in disgust. Mind you, their annoyance had nothing to do with the bout itself. In fact most of them were pleasantly surprised that the two fighters had circled back to each other It was aimed at the very idea that they were expected to shell out more of their hard earned dollars in an economy that has crippled many of them financially and has forced them to pick and choose between these types of overpriced fights.
One might argue that a bout between two fighters on the down slope of their careers, and both coming off losses in their previous fights, should not have even been considered for pay-per-view. But such is boxing and despite the oft times maniacal loyalty of its fans, promoters consistently treat them shabbily. And one of their most egregious offenses is force-feeding them nearly unwatchable undercards.
However, this time around Golden Boy Promotions has put together a rather good undercard that should pique the interest of the fans.
Opening the night’s televised festivities is a middleweight bout between prospect Danny Jacobs and Dimitry Priog. This will be followed by what could be a very interesting lightweight bout between former champions Robert Guererro and Joel Casamayor. The final bout before the main event pits Jorge Linares against Rocky Juarez in another lightweight tilt. The talented and highly touted Linares is still trying to shake off his shocking first round knockout loss to Juan Carlos Salgado earlier this year; while the seemingly ubiquitous but often frustrating Juarez is fighting for continued relevance.
In the main event the rematch between Marquez and Diaz has all the ingredients necessary for another give-and-take brawl.
Marquez will be coming back down to lightweight from welterweight following his disastrous showing against Floyd Mayweather in September of last year. Mayweather pitched a shutout against an obviously sluggish opponent who had no business packing 142 pounds onto his small frame. But if any fighter in the sport deserved a fat payday it was Marquez, a future first ballot hall of famer who had never seen that many zeros on a paycheck in his life. It will be interesting to see how this yo-yoing between weight classes and the wear and tear of a brilliant career filled with tough fights will affect him.
Diaz is coming off a points loss to feather-fisted Paulie Malignaggi in a rematch of their first go round which Diaz had won on a disputed decision. Diaz was once viewed as a potentially big star in the sport. His fan-friendly style and charming personality had all the earmarks of a bright career. But that come forward, slugging mentality, despite not being particularly heavy handed has gotten him into trouble against crafty boxers like Nate Campbell, Malignaggi and most memorably Marquez who knocked him out in the ninth round of their thrilling first matchup.
Despite the hefty price tag this really is a pay-per-view card to invite your friends over to watch and have them all chip in, be it with a few bucks, food or beer because there really aren’t any stinkers on the card. And if the rematch between Marquez and Diaz is even half as compelling as their first shootout you won’t be clamoring for you money back after the final punch is thrown.
July 28, 2010