Showdown: Marquez vs. Diaz!
Report by Byron Spurlock
Photo Aaron Sprecher - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Ring Magazine’s lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez 49-4-1 (36) and former three-time world champ Juan Diaz 34-1 (17) kicked off 2009 by making a stop in Houston, Tex., Thursday.
Houston’s Toyota Center will is the site of their showdown, February 28. The card, appropriately titled "Supremacy" will air live on HBO's World Championship Boxing at 10 pm ET, with the winner recognized as the top lightweight champion in the world.
Mexican icon Marquez solidified his place in boxing last year by adding to his resume a knockout of Joel Casamayor, winning a championship in a third weight class. With the New Year underway, Marquez jumps into the ring immediately against one of the best lightweight fighters in boxing today, former world champion Diaz. What makes this all the more exciting is Marquez gladly took the fight knowing it was going to be in Diaz’s hometown, Houston.
“I’m going to prepare myself very well for this fight and I’m going to come prepared,” says Marquez. “I’m going to fight this fight for all the Mexican fans, I feel good and I feel very young. I hope that everybody comes out to watch a great fight.”
“It’s amazing to be in this position right now,” said Diaz, who will fighting in his hometown for the second straight fight.
“I had my first loss last year and I had one of biggest wins last year, too. This is a new year and I want to start it off right by winning a world title in my hometown against a legendary world champion like Marquez.”
In his last fight, Diaz displayed a dominant performance by earning a 12-round decision against Australian Michael Katsidis.
Diaz was 9 years old when Marquez made his pro debut, since then 25 year old Juan Diaz has since won the World Title at the Lightweight division and only suffered a single loss on his professional record.
In his last fight, Diaz displayed a dominant performance by getting a 12 round decision against Australian Michael Katsidis.
“Fighters like Juan, Rocky, and Marquez are big names in boxing and that’s what makes a fight card like this so attractive,” said Marquez’s trainer, Nacho Beristain.
“Styles make fights and this is going to be good fights for both of these fighters coming at their opponents,” said Diaz’s trainer, Ronnie Shields. “This is going to be an action packed fight that you don’t want to miss.”
The co-main event looks to be just as exciting as WBA Featherweight Champion Chris John, 42-0 (22), and Rocky Juarez, 2000 Olympic Silver medalist, 28-4 (20), square off with John’s title at stake.
This will be a homecoming for Juarez as he looks to capture his first world title in his backyard. John will be risking his WBA Title for the first time in the US.
“What a better place to win my world title than right here in Houston?” said Juarez. “I even took less money to get the fight here.
“This is going to be a great fight card. My last fight here in Houston against Jorge Barrios was one to remember, that’s the type of fight I want again here in my hometown, and that’s one to remember, but with me winning the WBA world title.
John, the pride of Indonesia, is one of the longest-reigning champions in boxing today, winning his title in 2003 with a win over Oscar Leon. John has since defended his title ten times, even against pound for pound great Juan Manuel Marquez.
“These guys are going to have a tough fight,” said Juarez’s trainer, Ronnie Shields. “Chris John is the champion right now and Rocky has to defeat Chris if he wants that title. This may be Rocky’s last chance to win a world title.”
Juarez will be making his fourth attempt at a world title. Juarez won his first 23 pro fights before falling short against the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Humberto Soto, and Juan Manuel Marquez. However, with a TKO over former world champ Jorge barrios last September, Juarez propelled himself right back into the title hunt.
Tickets for Marquez vs. Diaz, priced at $300, $150, $75, $50, and $25, go on sale Friday, January 9 at 10am Central and are available for purchase, online at www.ToyotaCenterTix.com, by phone at 1-8664-Hou-Tix and select Houston area Randall's locations. Tickets will be available at the Toyota Center Box Office starting Monday, January 12th at 9am Central.