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Maidana, Juarez get second (and fifth) chances

19
Jun

Rocky Juarez and Marcos Maidana are very good fighters. And very fortunate.

Juarez drew with talented featherweight titleholder Chris John in his fourth chance to win his first major belt and then-unbeaten Maidana lost a split decision to junior welterweight titleholder Andreas Kotelnik in his first such opportunity.

Still, with no rebuilding required, both remain in the thick of their respective title hunts and will fight on the same card June 27 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Juarez (28-4-1, 20 knockouts) is scheduled to face Chris John (42-0-2, 22 KOs) in a rematch and Maidana (25-1, 24 KOs) faces Victor Ortiz (24-1-1, 19 KOs).

That Juarez is receiving his fifth title shot seems remarkable.

The former Olympian from Houston lost twice in attempts to lift Marco Antonio Barrera’s WBC junior lightweight title (one close, one not), was cut in the first round and lost a one-sided decision to Juan Manuel Marquez for the same belt and drew with John.

Juarez also lost to late-replacement Humberto Soto in what would’ve been another title shot, against In-Jin Chi in 2005 but Chi pulled out.

Why has he received so many opportunities when some fighters never get one?

“With good management,” said Juarez, who is now handled by Golden Boy Promotions. “Not only with good management but also as a fighter. I gave Marco Antonio Barrera a run for his money where I thought I won the first fight and he beat me in the second. I suffered a cut in the first round and went 12 with Marquez. Soto was the better man that day; no one knew much about him.

“ÔǪ I can say I fought the best fighters out there; I never ducked anybody. And I was never dominated where I can say they were better than me. If I fought the opponents I lost to again, I feel I could beat them.”

That said, Juarez will be the underdog against the slick-boxing Indonesian on June 27.

John said he hadn’t trained for nine days leading up to their first fight because of flu symptoms yet should’ve received the decision, according to many observers. He is healthy for this fight, which could leave Juarez frustrated again.

“This time Chris is going to be a lot more confident in his fitness,” said his trainer/manager, Craig Christian.

Still, Juarez is confident. He certainly is motivated.

“I feel my career will not be complete until l win world title,” he said. “I feel very fortunate, very blessed to have another opportunity. You never know if you’ll get another one. I need to make the best of it and come out with a win.”

Maidana ended up as Ortiz’s opponent for the interim WBA junior welterweight title because unbeaten New Yorker Dmitry Salita, expecting to face the winner of the Andreas Kotelnik-Amir Khan fight for the title, turned down the fight.

Thus, Maidana stepped in and could reclaim his momentum – and possibly set himself up with another title shot — with a victory.

The hard-punching Argentine, who will be fighting in the U.S. for the first time, said the close fight against Kotelnik – in the Russian’s adopted country of Germany – justifies the opportunity he’s receiving on June 27.

“The (Kotelnik) fight was very close, very competitive,” Maidana said through an interpreter. “Some people booed the result. I think that’s why I deserve another chance. ÔǪ Honestly, I feel very happy.”

So does Juarez. They both understand how fortunate they are.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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