Juan Diaz vs Pauli Malignaggi
LOS ANGELES, July 8 - There's nothing in the world like Texas heat in August. On Saturday, August 22nd, four of boxing's best will square off at Houston's Toyota Center in an event that will raise the temperature of a sweltering summer of boxing even higher. In the main event, former Undisputed Lightweight World Champion and hometown hero Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz takes on former 140-pound world titleholder Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi of Brooklyn, New York, while the co-featured bout sees heavy-handed Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero challenge for a world title in a second weight class when he takes on IBF Junior Lightweight World Champion Malcolm Klassen..
Article posted on 09.07.2009
Both bouts, which are presented by Golden Boy Promotions, with Diaz vs. Malignaggi being presented in association with DiBella Entertainment and Guerrero vs. Klassen being presented in association with Branco Sports Productions, will air on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 9:45 pm ET/PT (8:45 pm CT). The evening of boxing is sponsored by Quaker State, Cerveza Tecate and Southwest Airlines. Doors open at 3:30pm and the first bout begins at approximately 3:45pm CT.
Tickets, priced at $250, $125, $70, $45 and $25, go on sale on Friday, July 10th at 10am CT, and may be purchased online at www.ToyotaCenterTix.com, by phone at 1-866-4-HOU-TIX and at select Houston area Randalls locations. Tickets will be available at the Toyota Center Box Office beginning Monday, July 13th at 9am CT.
"An exciting evening of boxing like this is what the Boxing After Dark series is known for, and I can't think of any place better to have it than at Toyota Center in Houston," said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "The fans in Houston are knowledgeable and enthusiastic and we're giving them plenty to cheer for with their hometown fighter Juan Diaz taking on Paulie Malignaggi and Robert Guerrero looking to win another world title against Malcolm Klassen. This will be a great night for Houston and for boxing."
"These matchups simply continue the momentum of the exciting, make-or-break fights we've been televising on Boxing After Dark," said Luis Barragan, director of programming HBO Sports. "You put two young, hungry and talented fighters with their backs up against the wall, like Juan Diaz and Paul Malignaggi, and there's no doubt that you're going to get a tremendous fight."
"The Toyota Center is thrilled to welcome back Golden Boy Promotions and HBO for another classic night of boxing in Houston," said Doug Hall, Vice President and General Manager of Toyota Center. "The Houston fight fans have given their overwhelming support to boxing in general, and Juan Diaz in particular, at both our previous matches. We are honored that Golden Boy has asked us to participate in yet another great night of boxing and we can't wait to see the action unfold."
Boxing's most exciting pound for pound fighter, Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz (34-2, 17 KO's) has accomplished a lot in the sport for a young man of just 25 years old. A former WBA World Lightweight Champion who defended his title five times before adding the WBO and IBF World Titles to his resume with technical knockouts of Acelino Freitas and Julio Diaz respectively, Houston's finest is coming off an epic war with Juan Manuel Marquez in February. Though he fell short against the future Hall of Famer in a Fight of the Year candidate, Diaz is eager to go from hitting the books to hitting opponents following his graduation from the University of Houston - Downtown earlier this year.
"Ever since graduation, I've just been in the gym and I can't wait to get back into the ring," said Diaz. "Malignaggi is a slick opponent and a good test, but I'm confident that with my fans in Houston behind me, I'll win the fight in exciting fashion."
A brash Brooklynite who has been to the top of the boxing world as a former Junior Welterweight World Champion, Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi (26-2, 5 KO's) is more than flash in the ring. Owner of wins over Lovemore N'Dou, Herman Ngoudjo and Edner Cherry, the 28-year-old Malignaggi has also gone to battle against boxing superstars Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton, but he knows that no fight is more important than the one ahead of him on August 22nd as it could lead to a another world title shot for him if he beats Diaz.
"I respect Juan Diaz as a fighter and I know this fight has the potential to be Fight of the Year," said Malignaggi. "But I know what I have to do on August 22nd, and that's to dominate every round. This is the kind of big fight I've been waiting for and the fans are definitely going to see the old Paulie Malignaggi in action."
Hailing from Hammanskraal, South Africa, Malcolm Klassen (24-4-2, 14 KO's) is the latest in the line of hard-nosed South African fighters to ascend to the peak of the boxing mountain. A ten-year veteran who rebounded from a rocky start to his career to win 11 of his last 12 bouts, Klassen came to the attention of the boxing world in 2008 with his win over former Five-Time World Champion Manuel "Mantecas" Medina and followed that with a seventh round technical knockout of South African boxing legend Cassius Baloyi in April that earned him the IBF 130-pound championship.
"I'm happy to be fighting in the United States for the first time and to be challenged by a respected fighter like Robert Guerrero," said Klassen. "I expect a tough fight, but I waited too long to win this title and I'm not about to give it up on August 22nd.
A ferocious puncher whose last 16 wins have come by knockout, Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero (24-1-1, 17 KO's) has the type of power that can change the direction of a fight in a split second. A native of Gilroy, California, the popular Guerrero knows what it's like to compete at the game's highest level, having won the IBF Featherweight World Title twice. Now competing at 130 pounds, Guerrero - who is fresh off of an eighth round stoppage of veteran Efren Hinojosa in June - is ready to join the select few who can claim to be a world champion in two different weight classes.
"I miss being a world champion and knowing that I'm the best in the world, but I knew that after giving up my featherweight title I'd have to pay my dues all over again," said Guerrero. "I think I've done that and on August 22nd, I'm excited to have the opportunity to become a champion again. The fans should expect fireworks."
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