On July 31 Saturday night, Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz face off once again to dispute the WBA and WBO lightweight titles. Their first match ended with Marquez winning via stoppage in the ninth round. Diaz was leading the earlier rounds but Marquez fought a smart fight by wearing Diaz out, coming from behind leading to that 9th round win.
What makes this rematch exciting and different?
For one, we are uncertain as to how Marquez has recovered from a lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather in September 2009. Some fighters are never the same coming from bad losses.
Diaz is a skillful fighter but Marquez is a more technical fighter. Marquez has displayed his technical skills in his two previous fights with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquaio. Although the fights ended with a draw and decision loss, he clearly showed that he had excellent counter-punching and pure boxing skills that Pacquiao never really dominated him.
Both fighters have never solid chins but Marquez can prove to be tougher. Marquez has been knocked down by Pacquiao but he was never counter out. He also went down against the much bigger Mayweather but he lasted the distance.
At 36, Marquez has shown amazing physical conditioning. Conditioning may not play a major factor in giving either fighter the advantage. What can be a concern is the wear and tear that Marquez has gone through.
Marquez and Diaz are skilled fighters who may not be earning millions of dollars each fight but they can easily belong to the elite list of boxers. Regardless of the outcome, expect fireworks and a showcase of boxing skills in this rematch.
I would pick Marquez with a slight edge and could win via decision.