LAS VEGAS // Juan Manuel Marquez is demanding a third fight with Manny Pacquiao after retaining his WBA and WBO lightweight titles with a points victory over Juan Diaz of the United States. The Mexican drew with the Filipino in 2004 and suffered a narrow defeat four years later but has hopes to come away with a victory should they meet again.
"The trilogy with Pacquiao is what I want," said Marquez, 51-5-1 with 37 knockouts. "Everybody wants to see it. It's good for all fight fans, for the Mexicans, the Filipinos. Everyone wants to see it. That's the most important fight for me now." Pacquiao has not seemed eager to reprise their meetings, possibly because he has struggled against counter punchers in the past and Marquez is one of the best.
Pacquiao is in negotiations to fight Antonio Margarito on November 13. Marquez captivated the crowd on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay events complex with precise punching and slick defence in a rematch with Diaz that was nearly as entertaining as the fighters' thrilling first meeting, which Marquez won on a ninth-round stoppage in February 2009. Marquez further erased memories of his one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr last September by dominating another opponent closer to his own size.
Diaz (35-4) has lost four of his last six fights, yet showed remarkable stamina and against one of boxing's most punishing fighters. "The first one was difficult, and so was this one," Marquez said. "He's a very good boxer. Like every true Mexican warrior, we both fought with all of our hearts and left it all in the ring." Diaz, a University of Houston graduate and aspiring lawyer, was sharp again - just not sharp enough to beat arguably the most accomplished Mexican fighter of his generation.
"I fought the best fight I could," Diaz said. "We were trading punches. We fought in, we fought out. I didn't stand in front of him. I wanted to get in there and then get out, but it was hard, and I got hit with a couple of good shots ... I did the best I could. I followed the game plan, worked off my jab, but he's a great fighter. He was the better man." Jerry Roth favoured Marquez 116-112 in the judging, while Glenn Trowbridge scored it 118-110 and Patricia Morse Jarman had it 117-111.
Marquez landed 288 punches to Diaz's 155, out-hitting the American in every round, according to CompuBox statistics. Marquez connected with nearly 50 per cent of his power punches, landing 168 to Diaz's 74. Marquez is a three-division world champion who could be a significant factor when he moves up to 140 pounds in the coming years, another major player in a loaded weight class. Marquez's back-and-forth victory over Diaz was widely considered the best fight of last year. The rematch was an entertaining contest between two fighters with perfectly meshing styles: the hard-charging "Baby Bull" Diaz against Marquez, the crafty, counterpunching Mexican star.
The second and third rounds were close, with Diaz landing enough flurries to keep Marquez on the defensive. But Marquez gradually took control, peppering Diaz with left hooks and right hands while barely staying out of trouble. The middle rounds had a brutal similarity, with Marquez chopping through Diaz's attack. Although swelling developed around Marquez's right eye, it did not seem to bother him at all - and Diaz began bleeding from a cut inside his mouth.
The 12th round was wide open, with the fighters abandoning defence and trading shots to the bell. Marquez leaped on the ropes to celebrate another victory The Las Vegas crowd firmly backed Marquez, the Mexico City native with a humble past in a fighting family that includes his brother Rafael, who will fight Juan Manuel Lopez in Vegas on September 18 in an attempt to become the first boxing brothers to hold three division titles apiece. Diaz has his college degree and far more post-ring career opportunities than most fighters. He is eager to pursue a career in law and perhaps politics, but did not end his boxing career immediately afterwards. "I don't know what I'm going to do," Diaz said. "I'm going to consider all the facts. I'm going to take the Lsat [Law School Admission Test], and that's another fact. I've been fighting for 10 years, longer than a lot of fighters, so I'm just going to have to figure it out." * Agencies
Juan Manuel Marquez, 36 Seven world titles at three weight divisions. Record: 51 (37 KO)-5-1 Probably the greatest counter-punch boxer of all time. Marquez, who beat Marco Antonio Barrera in 2007, fought two controversial fights with Manny Pacquiao - the first a draw in May 2004. The second, in March 2008, was when he lost his super featherweight championship to the Filipino via a split decision after Marquez had out-landed Pacquiao 172-157. Marco Antonio Barrera, 36 Seven world titles at three weight divisions. Record: 66 (43)-7-0 (1 No contest) His three-fight series with Erik Morales is considered one of the greatest of all time. The first bout - Ring Magazine's Fight of the Year - in 2000 saw Morales win by a split decision. Barrera won the other two - in 2002 and 2004 - on points, with the final bout also named Fight of the Year.
Erik Morales, 33 Seven world titles at five weight divisions. Record: 49 (34)-6-0 Morales has defeated 15 different world champions. Famous for his trilogies with Barrera and Manny Pacquiao. He ranks No 49 on ESPN's 50 Greatest Boxers Of All Time, ahead of Mike Tyson. In March 2005, Morales defeated then three-division world champion Pacquiao by a unanimous decision. Julio Cesar Chavez (48) Six world titles at three weight divisions. Record: 107 (86)-6-2 Chavez did not experience defeat until his 91st professional fight. His most famous bout was a title unification fight in 1990 against Meldrick Taylor when Chavez knocked out the American with seconds remaining in round 12. It was named Fight of the Decade by Ring Magazine. Chavez has taken part in more world title fights -37 - than any other boxer.