Juan Manuel Marquez (51-5, 37 KOs) still proved too smart and skilled for a determined Juan Diaz (35-4, 17 KOs), while middleweight prospect Danny Jacobs fell victim to an unusual Russian fighter last night (July 31) at the Mandalay Bay.
As Diaz and Ronnie Shields both told Beats, Boxing and Mayhem in previous interviews, the Baby Ball fought early on behind the jab. The Houston native was very composed, and did not fall in with the reckless shots and leaky defense that sunk him in the first fight. But Marquez as the better boxer was still able to catch Diaz with nice counter left hooks and uppercuts. In another 180 from the first fight, Diaz would give ground instead of engaging in machismo punch exchanges whenever the action got too intense.
Marquez hurt Diaz bad in the fourth with a lead left uppercut. The Baby Bull wobbled back towards the ropes as Marquez pounced with hooks and shot the uppercut again. Diaz was composed in his strategic retreat and survived despite losing the round big. Ronnie Shields warned him in the corner that he got caught for standing straight in front of Marquez with no angles.
That round would be important, as it signaled Marquez’s dominance for the rest of the fight. In the middle rounds, Marquez was all business and continued working Diaz over with counters. For nearly every punch Diaz threw, he received 3-4 punch counters in a varied assortments of straights, hooks and of the course the deadly left uppercut. The only positive for Diaz in this stretch was Marquez’s eye beginning to swell in the 8th, which the champion attributed to an errant thumb in the previous round.
Diaz never stopped trying in the championship rounds, but Marquez had too much skill and power for the 26-year-old former champion. The final scorecards read 116-112, 118-110 and 117-111. Marquez’s accuracy was great, landing 168 of 348 punches (48%). Diaz struggled all night to land cleanly going 74 out of 243 for 30%.
In the post-fight interview, Diaz was non-committal about whether this would be his final fight.
“I’ve got to sit down with my trainers and managers and really consider my future in boxing,” explained Diaz, who takes the LSAT exam in October and has lost 4 of his last 6 fights. “I have to really consider all the facts and see what happens from here on out. I’ve put up a hell of a fight for 10 years and that’s more than most fighters stay in the game…The opportunies are endless all around the globe.”
Even with being the linear lightweight champion, Juan Manuel Marquez still has his mind set on a rubbermatch with rival Manny Pacquiao. Marquez scored a draw in their first battle and a narrow, highly controversial decision loss in the second bout.
“The trilogy is the best thing for the fans.I want it, the Filipino and Mexican fans want it and so do all the fans who follow boxing,” he said.
On the undercard promising middleweight prospect Danny Jacobs fell victim to a 5th round TKO loss courtesy of a pinpoint straight right hand from Russian Dmitry Pirog.
From the outset Jacobs had problems landing on Pirog, who unlike most European pugilists used upper body and head movement combined with constant pressure. Pirog almost scored a knockdown in the second when a right hand badly wobbled Jacobs against the ropes. The Brooklyn fighter was a few centimeters from his rear touching the ground and only stayed upright by grabbing onto Pirog’s legs.
Jacobs was backed to the ropes again in the 5th, confused with Pirog’s stance changes and angles. The Russian contender capitalized on that hesitation with another right hand that knocked Jacobs unconsciousness. Motionless on his back, referee Robert Byrd call the fight off after a five second count. The end signal triggered Jacob’s brain to recover, and he stood upright in attempts to protest.
The win gives Pirog the WBO middleweight belt that was stripped from true division champion Sergio Martinez following his victory over Kelly Pavlik.
HBO continues to have high hopes for Jacobs. This was evident by the fact the network chose to interview the knockout victim exclusively instead of a possible new division star in Dmitry Pirog.
Jacobs blamed the loss on bad camp that resulted from the recent death of his grandmother. He vowed to make a focused return.
Jorge Linares fought well behind a consistent, hard jab to secure a decision win over Rocky Juarez. As has become his pattern, Juarez came on strong in the last two rounds by couldn’t land the home run shot.
Robert Guerrero took a boring decision over faded Joel Casamayor. Guerrero scored an early knockdown off a straight left in the second, but was overly respectful and tentative against his former mentor. Casamayor scored his own flash knockdown late off a jab but still lost a unanimous decision.
Super middleweight Sakio Bika was DQ’d in the first round after slamming a vicious uppercut to a down Jean Paul Mendy. Bika was on his way to a stoppage victory when he smashed Mendy with the shot as he took a knee. Bika hesistated for a few seconds when Mendy was down before unleashing the haymaker. Mendy fell flat on his face and took several minutes to recover.