By Vivek Wallace: Saturday night, the world of Boxing will look on as a potential “fight of the year” candidate takes place, live from Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay, on HBO PPV. In the main event, Mexican warrior, Juan Manuel Marquez takes on Juan Diaz in a rematch of their first shootout which took place back in February 2009. The first fight was a timeless classic, and all indications show us that this one will be no different. As we get ready for this great night of action, we take a look at “Keys to Victory”, “4 (critical elements) to Explore”, and an “Official Prediction”:
Juan Manuel Marquez (Keys to Victory):
Despite his great efforts of the past, presently, there’s simply no way to accurately gauge what Marquez has left in the tank. Diaz brings volume punching and energy, if nothing else.. That reality means that stamina may present itself as an issue for Marquez late in the fight. Leading up to his Mayweather showdown, Marquez revealed the utterly disgusting technique of chugging down his own urine. Well…..at age 37 and being somewhat shopworn, don’t be surprised to see a yellow foamy keg in the corner…….he’s probably gonna need it!
Marquez will need to continue to use his precision punching, but unlike fights of the past, he will need to follow that with some nifty footwork and/or head movement to avoid so many shots. His offense is generally his defense, but this time around, that strategy may not allow him to leave enough in the tank for that necessary stretch-run. Skill-wise, Marquez is clearly the better man. If he uses those skills and avoids being baited into a dogfight, it should help him immensely. On the offensive end, Marquez will need to use the same body-head attack he did before, alternating, and softening his opponent up for another possible late round stoppage.
Juan Diaz (Keys to Victory):
For Juan Diaz, the key to victory is pressure, pressure, and more pressure. Pressure is the one element that Diaz normally brings in great abundance, but the issue for him comes in the fact that it’s not always intelligent pressure. Breaking down the first fight, what was very evident is that although Diaz frequently uses pressure, he often fails to cut the corners and trap an opponent. Being the great tactician Marquez is, he was able to use certain punch combination’s going backwards, and although he ate a little leather, he was still able to outsmart Diaz, and wear him down enough to get the victory.
Diaz will need to cut the ring off, removing any escape angles, and smother Marquez in a phone-booth type fight. Some may talk down on Diaz because of his outings against Malignaggi, but it should be duly noted: Marquez is NOOOO Malignaggi. Some would argue he’s better, and although history may approve that sentiment, Malignaggi was a harder target to hit by far! Marquez is much more grounded, and if Diaz can smother him enough to reduce the effects of those precision punches, it’s anyone’s game!
FOUR TO EXPLORE:
Nervous ‘Breakdown’: Juan Manuel Marquez has been arguably the most talented Mexican fighter this generation has seen. In true Mexican spirit, Marquez carries the heart of a lion, and the pride of a warrior. Typically, that’s a great thing, but for the aging Marquez, perhaps enough is enough!?! Of all the ring warriors in this particular generation that have seen 50 fights (or more) by their early 30’s, only one (Manny Pacquiao) was able to totally defy the forces of nature and improve as he continued to age! Morales, Barrera, and a few others, each found themselves operating in nothing more than a ‘shell’ of what they once were as they crossed this barrier (early 30’s, 50+ fights). For a 37 year old Marquez who’s well beyond that point, this isn’t a good sign. Confidence is something Marquez has never lacked. But at this present stage of his physical evolution, no doubt, we should all be ‘nervous’ about a possible ‘breakdown’! Does he have enough left in the tank?
Age Before Beauty?: One of the major intrigue points of this matchup is the age factor, as one side boast an old lion, and the other, a fairly young pup. The last time we saw these two men go to war, it was the old lion who proved his mettle, pulling out a gutsy TKO victory. Many around the industry feel the sequel is his fight to lose, but as Brooklyn-based rapper, Lil’ Cease, once said: “don’t be fooled by the baby face”! A number of things could dictate the final outcome in this fight. It won’t be age, or beauty…but I know what it could be…..which takes me into my third element to explore:
Don’t Catch The Red-Eye!: Most of us frequent travelers cringe at the mere thought of a ‘red-eye’ flight, knowing there’s nothing we hate more than cruising at 35,000 ft. above ground in the still of the night. If you think that’s bad, for Diaz, there’s another ‘red-eye’ that proved to be far worst! Few seem to remember that at the time of stoppage in the first fight between these two men, the scorecards were all knotted up, with one score card a draw, and each man holding a two point lead on the two others. The one major obstacle that made it utterly impossible to regain composure for Diaz? Blood to the eye, caused by a gash above it. Already viewed by some as a ‘fly-by-night’ contender in the sport, without question, if Diaz wants to ‘see’ daylight again, he’ll need to avoid the ‘red-eye’!
7th Heaven?: In seven attempts, Juan Diaz has posted a perfect 7 wins in the 7th month of the year (July) throughout his respective career. Although, if we placed colors beside each of his past 6 fights, they would resemble a checker board, alternating – win, lose, win, lose, win, lose. With “7” being his lucky number, the plot thickens as it looms in the backdrop, yet again. Could this be a sign, ushering him back to his winning ways? Or is it simply another case of bad trending?…..Something the boxing world has seen more than its fair share of lately! (Stay tuned to find out)
I have a strange feeling that many of us are gonna be quite surprised in the end. Marquez has shown a great deal of wear and tear recently, and the Mayweather drubbing certainly didn’t do him any favors. The progress of Juan Diaz with Ronnie Shields by his side has to be factored in, as well. Marquez is the better, more polished fighter, and I’m a firm believer that more often than not, skills pay the bills! Trouble is…..Diaz realizes this could be “it” for him, too, and although skills pay the bills, this could be one tab it simply can’t have! I see the fight going the distance, in a bloody battle that results in a better fight than that first. When it’s all said and done, the hand raised in the air will be the unexpected one! The (upset) crow is hovering pretty low, but when the score sheet unfurls……I think we’ll see Diaz shock the world! By the end of the night, I fully suspect fight fans will witness the birth of boxing’s latest trilogy, as there’s no better option with an even score! COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU!
JUAN DIAZ via SPLIT DECISION VICTORY
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at 954-292-7346, email@example.com, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), FaceBook and Myspace)