Chris John-Rocky Juarez Added To Marquez-Diaz Card In Houston

by James Slater - The February 28th boxing card in Houston, Texas just got even more exciting. Now added to the hugely intriguing Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz lightweight clash, is featherweight champion Chris John defending his WBA belt against local man Rocky Juarez. This is according to news that has gone out on ESPN. The February bout will mark the first world title defence made in America by the Indonesian fighter known as "The Dragon," and for Texan Juarez the fight will offer another chance at world glory..

Golden Boy Promotion's Richard Schaefer spoke to about the featherweight match-up, as well as the lightweight bout.

"It's a natural fit to have Rocky and Juan in Houston with both of them fighting for world titles on the same card," Schaefer said. "We have talked for a while about the right fight for John to come to the US, and now that time is here (Vs. Juarez). It's a big fight for Chris John and the right spot for him. Everyone has accused him of just fighting in Indonesia but now he comes into the lion's den to defend his title in Rocky's hometown. It's a big showcase for both of them.

"For Rocky, it's an opportunity to finally win a world title and do it in his hometown, and for Chris John it's an opportunity to silence the people who say he only fights in Asia."

It is indeed a good match-up. So who wins?

29-year-old John, unbeaten at 42-0-1(22) and the WBA featherweight ruler since 2004, must be made a reasonably big favourite. Yes, he will be fighting in America for the very first time (three of John's fights took place in Japan, one was held in Australia, the rest took place in his home country), but it's unlikely this will affect the unbeaten fighter unduly. 28-year-old Juarez, while a fine fighter, saw his best days take place up at super-featherweight, and his dropping down to 126-pounds just might have an effect on him.

In his last fight, against Jorge Barrios in September of 2008, Juarez put himself back in contention after having suffered a points loss to then WBC 130-pound champ Marquez - who, of course shares the February bill - but it was assumed Juarez would get a shot at super-featherweight. Going in against the formidable and naturally strong featherweight, Juarez, 28-4(20) may be up against it big time. Though Rocky has never been stopped - including in his two fights with the great Marco Antonio Barrera, the first of which many felt he'd won - he may lose widely.

John has a 2006 win over Marquez to his credit, even though the verdict was somewhat disputed - and he has never lost a pro fight. The draw on his record came against Jose Rojas back in 2004 and was a technical draw as a result of an accidental head clash. A star in his homeland for a long time now, "The Dragon" will be looking to make new fans with an impressive US debut as makes his tenth title defence.

Look for the WBA champion to go home with a clear UD victory on his record. Hopefully, the Juarez fight will be the first of a number of bouts the largely unknown Indonesian has in America on HBO.

Article posted on 08.01.2009

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