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Weekend Review: Marquez’s night

01
Mar

Juan Manuel Marquez (left) solidified his place as one of boxing's premier stars with his knockout victory over Juan Diaz on Saturday. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

BIGGEST WINNER

Juan Manuel Marquez: No doubt here. Marquez weathered the killer tornado that is Juan Diaz with his toughness, experience and profound ability and then closed a very entertaining show with a spectacular knockout on Saturday in Houston. If the 35-year-old Mexican isn’t the best fighter in the world – even better than Manny Pacquiao – he’s awfully close. Their handlers must find a way for Marquez and Pacquiao to meet one more time.

MOST FORBIDDING

Juan Diaz: Who the hell would want to fight this guy? The first- or second-best fighter in the world could barely cope with the immense pressure Diaz applies from beginning to end. Marquez was able to overcome it because of his superior ability. However, only fighters as clever and resilient as Marquez and Nate Campbell could pull it off. Diaz has lost two of his last three fights but remains a major player in the lightweight division.

MOST-PUZZLING DECISION

Chris John-Rocky Juarez draw: Watching on TV, this was a one-sided fight in John’s favor. He boxed Juarez silly. At best, Juarez won four rounds. Some of those at ringside in Houston saw it differently. All three judges scored it 114-114, which many journalists believed was fair because Juarez landed the harder punches even if John landed more. Some even had Juarez winning eight rounds. Eight to four Juarez? I’m still scratching my head over that one. I guess this is an example of a fight looking one way in person and another on TV.

MOST-DISAPPOINTED FANS

Houston’s: The city’s favorite sons, Diaz and Juarez, failed to win pivotal fights at home on Saturday. Diaz would’ve become undisputed lightweight champion and climbed onto the Top 10 pound-for-pound list but was KO’d by Marquez. Juarez, perhaps fighting at his highest level, would’ve finally beaten an elite opponent but had to settle for the draw against the slick John. Diaz and Juarez certainly won’t lose fans, however: They fought their hearts out. They’ll be back.

MOST-AMAZING CHIN

Tomasz Adamek: Johnathon Banks landed the kind of crushing right on the chin of Adamek in the eighth round Friday that would’ve knocked out almost any cruiserweight in the world. Adamek’s reaction? He was barely fazed, marched forward immediately and knocked out Banks – with a crushing right – in the same round. THE RING cruiserweight champion might be the toughest fighter in the world and certainly is one of its best.

MOST-INTRIUGING POSSIBILITY

Adamek vs. Hopkins: Bernard Hopkins says he wants to fight Adamek for the cruiserweight (200-pound limit) championship. After his performance against Kelly Pavlik in October, we’ll never put anything past Hopkins again. However, Adamek is a different animal. First, he’s much bigger than Hopkins, who has never weighed more than 174 pounds for a fight, while Pavlik moved up to fight Hopkins. And, second, Adamek is a better boxer than Pavlik. The hunch here is that the Pole would be too much for BHop.

MOST INSULTING

Juan Manuel Marquez: Marquez said in pre-fight interviews that he had an advantage because the Mexican-American Diaz was “50 percent Mexican” and he was “100 per cent Mexican.” I’m all for national pride but that was insulting to both Mexican-Americans and Americans in general.

MOST CONSISTENT

Glen Johnson: Win or lose, the light heavyweight contender does the same thing every time he walks into the ring. He arrives in shape and focused, he continually moves forward, he throws a ton of punches and he absorbs everything his opponent has to offer. He never looked better than he did in a one-sided victory over Daniel Judah on Friday. Like Bernard Hopkins, who once stopped Johnson, it’s amazing what he can do at 40-plus.

MOST ADMIRABLE

Carl Froch: The WBC super middleweight titleholder from England has agreed to defend his belt against Jermain Taylor on April 25 in Mashantucket, Conn., on Showtime. Froch (24-0, 19 knockouts) could’ve remained in the relative safety of the UK and continued to make a nice living. However, the 31-year-old from Nottingham decided to take a gamble against a good fighter in hostile territory, although Froch undoubtedly will earn a healthy payday. We wish Joe Calzaghe would’ve done the same earlier in his career.

BEST QUOTE

Juan Diaz: “The hell with it. I’m a fighter,” he said in the ring immediately after his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, referring to his thought when he had to decide whether to fight it out after he was hurt or hold Marquez.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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