Juan Diaz Back On Top With Points Win Over Michael Katsidis, Juarez and Maskaev Also Win

by James Slater - It was quite a night for the sport of boxing last night. In The U.K, hot shot Amir Khan was sensationally flattened inside a single minute by the previously unknown Breidis Prescott. In Russia former heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev came back from his stoppage loss to Samuel Peter to out-point journeyman Robert Hawkins over 10 rounds, the fight topping the very first card of boxing to be held in Russia's Red Square..

While in Houston, Texas, a former world champion, in Juan Diaz and a former world title challenger, in Rocky Juarez, put on big fight winning performances - Diaz out-pointing tough Aussie Michael Katsidis and Juarez TKO'ing Argentina's Jorge Barrios in the 11th.

With all the fights that happened last night, however, it was the Juan Diaz-Michael Katsidis and Rocky Juarez-Jorge Barrios bouts that were the best in terms of action. Expected beforehand to perhaps be an absolute classic, Diaz-Katsidis fell a little short in that department but it was a good fight nonetheless. Despite the bout being scored a split decision, and despite Katsidis later claiming he felt he'd won, most observers saw former unified lightweight champion Diaz as a clear winner. Controlling a lot of the action with his left jab, "The Baby Bull" came back well from his points loss to Nate Campbell last time out. Katsidis also entered last night's fight coming off a loss - by TKO to Joel Casamayor - and he will be very upset at losing two in a row.

Diaz, still only 24-years-old, was simply too sharp and too fast for the always dangerous Katsidis at times. The tough Australian certainly had his moments and won some rounds, but no way did he win the fight, as one judge said he did. Diaz won the first half of the bout quite comfortably, opening cuts around both of Katsidis' eyes, as well as causing them both to swell. Looking busted up and a sure loser, Katsidis came back with sheer guts to win a number of the later rounds, boxing well at times, as opposed to just slugging. The doctor took a look at Katsidis' bloodied face at the start of the 10th round, but allowed the fight to go on.

Diaz's aggression forced the final two rounds, but Katsidis, a real crowd-pleasing fighter, refused to give in. The official announcement of a split verdict somewhat stunned the Houston crowd, but they could breathe easily as the right man was given the victory. Both men gave their all though, and the fans had easily been given their money's worth - as they usually are when Diaz or Katsidis are in action. Diaz improved to 34-1(17). 28-year-old Katsidis fell to 23-2(20).

For Rocky Juarez, who stopped wild man Jorge Barrios on a hideously cut lip in the 11th round after having put Barrios down earlier in the round, his career looks set to get one more world title shot. At the time of his bloody stoppage of "La Hiena" Juarez was ahead on two judges' cards and was even on the third. The fight had been a war before the stoppage, and the fans had been on their feet at times. 28-year-ol Juarez improved to 28-4(20). 32-year-old Barrios fell to 47-4-1(34).

The future looks bright for Juan Diaz, Rocky Juarez and, less so but at least he won, Oleg Maskaev. For Amir Khan, however, the future is very much uncertain.

Article posted on 07.09.2008

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