After watching the Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Juan Diaz Pay Per View this past weekend, I realized that these fights were very telling for the future of these fighters, and the directions that their careers may end up taking from here on out. Here are the 5 most important things I took away from the Marquez vs. Diaz PPV and the results of the battles on the card that evening.
1. Juan Manuel Marquez has one or two more fights left in him as an elite fighter.
As much as I was disappointed in Juan Diaz’s performance, I can’t take anything away from Juan Manuel Marquez. He looked great. That was probably his best performance since beating Marco Antonio Barrera a few years ago. With that being said, I just feel like Marquez has slowed down enough that the wrong fight could send him into retirement. Amir Khan is one of those fights. I know Marquez wants to be the first Mexican to win four titles in four weight divisions, but I think Khan is too young and strong. His best option may be to stay at 135 and face Michael Katsidis. I think Katsidis is a fight Marquez can win. Ultimately, I am still holding out hope that Marquez can end his career with a third fight against Manny Pacquiao. That would be the perfect way for Marquez to leave the sport.
2. It’s over for Juan Diaz and Rocky Juarez.
Both of these guys were good fighters and it’s sad that they won’t be in the mix anymore. Diaz was on the verge of becoming a great fighter with his relentless pressure style. For me, the signature moment of his career was his fight against Acelino Freitas. When Freitas quit on his stool after the 8th round, it felt like the passing of the torch. I truly expected after Corrales, Castillo, and Casamayor left 135, Diaz would have a long run at the top. It all unraveled so fast. When Nate Campbell beat Diaz, he took more than Diaz’s titles. He took a part of Diaz that he was never able to get back. That night Diaz was bloodied, swollen, and defeated. He was never the same again. I wish him the best in his future plans.
I thought Juarez was going to be a great fighter too. After the Antonio Diaz knockout, I thought: This guy could be a star. Then I saw Humberto Soto dominate him and I thought: yeah, he’s not going to live up to the expectations. Then I saw his first fight against Marco Antonio Barrera, a fight I believe Juarez won, and I thought: If this guy could ever put it all together, watch out. Then he was awful against Barrera in the rematch. Juarez’s career will be known for the baffling inconsistency and missed opportunities. As far as legacies go, Diaz definitely had the better career, no question. However Juarez was the more naturally talented fighter.
3. Jorge Linares is on his way back.
I don’t think he will ever get back that hype he had before Juan Carlos Salgado knocked him out, but he’s still going to be great and I can easily see him rounding out the bottom of pound for pound lists in the near future. Linares has some nice options at 130. Roman Martinez would be my choice, but its probably more likely that Linares will fight WBA champ Takashi Uchiyama. Even though Uchiyama just knocked Salgado out, I think eventually you will see Linares rematch with Salgado.
4. Daniel Jacobs: It’s your turn
Amir Khan, Victor Ortiz, Alfredo Angulo, and Jorge Linares can give Jacobs some advice on how to recover. They all share the distinction of being clipped on their way to greatness. It’s almost like an initiation for great young fighters. As we stand now, Khan is a world champion, Angulo and Linares will be soon, Ortiz is going to win one, and Daniel Jacobs will bounce back from this and win one too. Sure, Dimitry Pirog has set Jacobs back a few steps, but Jacobs has too much talent to not become a great fighter. Credit to Pirog though. He definitely made a fan out of me. That knockout has to be a strong candidate for knockout of the year.
5. Robert Guerrero doesn’t belong at 140.
Frankly, I wasn’t impressed by Robert Guerrero’s performance against faded Joel Casamayor. It’s a good thing that he isn’t planning at saying at junior welterweight, because I do not believe he’s a threat to Alexander, Bradley, Khan, or possibly even Maidana. I don’t think he punches hard enough and I don’t think he can take Maidana or Khan’s punches or deal with the hand speed of Alexander or Bradley. If Zab Judah can’t get one of those big names though, Guerrero vs. Judah could be an interesting scrap at that weight.