|Marquez vs. Diaz II: How It All Came Together
By Vikram Birring, Doghouse Boxing (March 31, 2010)
They were both supposed to be left for dead, forgotten inmates in an insane asylum. But through a series of incredulous events, each has been given a lifeline to regain past glory.
Juan Diaz admitted he didn’t have it December 12. His opponent, Paulie Malignaggi, boxed a masterful performance and reignited his career, and left Diaz pondering retirement. Three defeats in the last five fights, and one controversial victory, Diaz pondered if boxing was the game for him anymore.
Juan Manuel Marquez was thoroughly defeated by Floyd Mayweather, not landing a single punch of notice over twelve rounds. He was not just defeated, but totally outclassed.
Both of these men have the memory of February 28, 2009 etched in their brains forever: a wild brawl in Houston that was the fight of the year.
A few months after the Malignaggi defeat, Diaz had been offered a fight against Joel Casamayor on the Mayweather/Mosley undercard for a paltry sum; his team turned it down. Then, as Michael Katsidis’s fight against Robert Guerrero fell apart, Diaz and Katsidis wanted to fight again, in Houston. However, HBO had no interest, and Katsidis moved on to a Kevin Mitchell challenge in England, while Diaz was left hanging in the dust.
Marquez was offered a fight against rising star Amir Khan. Despite pleas from Golden Boy head honcho Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya, manager Nacho Beristain felt his fighter was being used as a stepping stone and declined.
This is when rumblings of a Marquez/Diaz rematch began. Nobody thought it would come together again, until they realized they had no option but to fight each other, for it was fate.
July 10 was the date given, and possible venues were Mexico City, Houston, and Las Vegas. Mexico City was not really a viable option, since Marquez’s popularity in Mexico is not high, his fights up until the Mayweather fight were shown on HBO Plus and not regular television so the masses did not get to watch most of his career. Houston, for the fans, was the best option but the stench from Diaz’s hometown decision against Malignaggi last August is still alive, and thus did not make it attractive.
In comes the MGM Grand, by way of the MGM Mirage, which has a “cozy” relationship with Golden Boy Promotions, giving Golden Boy site fees and venues for fights that nobody really has an interest in attending, such as Paul Williams vs. Winky Wright and Shane Mosley vs. Andre Berto. This bailout gave a venue for Diaz/Marquez with guaranteed money, but the only problem was television. HBO either did not have or want to spend the money for a rematch (the first fight’s license fee was $2.25 million), so it ends up on HBO PPV.
And now, after a whirlwind of events coming together, in the blistering Las Vegas summer, these two men will provide another boxing classic for the ages.
Questions or comments,
e-mail Vikram at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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