Giampa: Expert analysis
There's a boxing adage, “styles make fights.” THE RING lightweight championship fight on Saturday night in Houston epitomized the best of two contrasting styles, making this bout as exciting as it could possibly be.
Juan Diaz controlled the first two rounds with his effective aggression, forcing Juan Manuel Marquez to the ropes, while Marquez tried to get into his rhythm by counter punching. Diaz displayed effective aggression by scoring the harder punches and also displayed ring generalship in the first two rounds by dictating the action.
Score after two rounds: Diaz 20, Marquez 18.
However, Marquez found his range and timed his counter punches accurately in the third round. Diaz still forced the action but Marquez established effective counterpunches in the third round and took control while fighting off of the ropes and countering Diaz's aggression, which was less effective than in the first two rounds.
With Marquez taking control and winning the third, fourth and fifth rounds, my score after five rounds was: Marquez 48, Diaz 47 in a very close fight.
Diaz picked up the action in the sixth round with his effective aggression. Marquez tried to continue his counter punching but missed more than he landed in the previous three rounds. Diaz scored well with Marquez on the ropes. Diaz landed a right cross at the end of the round to convincingly win the sixth round. My score in this action-packed fight after six rounds was: Marquez 57; Diaz 57. Even after six rounds!
Marquez found his range again in the seventh and eighth rounds by not only countering the punches of Diaz but by becoming the aggressor and scoring effectively with aggression and counter punches. With Marquez winning the seventh and eighth rounds on my scorecard, my score after eight rounds was: Marquez 77, Diaz 75.
The ninth round started with Diaz throwing one jab at a time and clinching. Diaz had blood flowing from a cut over his right eye, which seemed to impair his vision. After good exchanges by both fighters, Marquez picked up the action and knocked down and hurt Diaz with strong shots. Diaz took the mandatory eight count. Diaz, feeling the effects of the knock down, was caught again by a right uppercut by Marquez and was floored for the second time in the round. The referee stopped the count while Diaz lay flat on the canvas.
Marquez was declared the winner by knockout 2:40 minutes into Round 9 to retain his RING belt and add the vacant WBA and WBO titles.
This fight lived up to everyone's expectations. There were several very close rounds as indicated by the scores of the official judges after eight rounds:
Duane Ford: 77-75 for Marquez
Max De Luca: 77-75 for Diaz
Levy Martinez: 76-76
This fight illustrated the fact that judges cannot ignore the defense and counter punching of a fighter (Marquez) even when a strong fighter (Diaz) is forcing the action and is the aggressor. Such contrasting styles usually result in close, action filled fights. The judges must always be aware of which fighter is doing the most damage and scoring the most effective punching, not just who is the aggressor. Tonight was Marquez's night.
Chuck Giampa can be contacted at [email protected]