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CLASH OF TOP TWO POUND-FOR-POUND FIGHTERS: MARQUEZ LURES PACQUIAO

By Maloney L. Samaco
PhilBoxing.com
Mon, 12 Jan 2009

Juan Manuel Marquez now ranks second as the world?s pound-for-pound fighter based on The Ring Magazine ratings. And his nemesis Manny Pacquiao remains number one after a very convincing triumph over Golden Boy Oscar de la Hoya.

Marquez is now Mexico's premier fighter when he knocked out Joel Casamayor, thereby winning a title in a third weight class. On February 28, 2009 Marquez will face former three-time lightweight champion Juan "The Baby Bull" Diaz at Houston's Toyota Center.

Marquez moved up to 135 pounds in order to face Casamayor at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. He defeated Casamayor by stopping him in the 11th round after two knockdowns and captured his sixth world title in three different weight classes.

Casamayor was affable in his defeat and said, "Marquez was the best this night." Before the knockout, the official judges scored 95-95, 95-95, and 97-93 for Marquez. After the win, he became The Ring Magazine lightweight champion.

Marquez believes that a convincing victory over Diaz will bring him closer to a third battle with Pacquiao. The 35-year-old Marquez (49-4-1, 36 KOs) always searched for strong competition as he keeps trying to persuade Pacquiao?s camp to schedule a third bout between the top two pound-for-pound fighters of the world.

Marquez and Pacquiao fought to a controversial draw in 2004 and Pacquiao won a very close split decision in their rematch in Las Vegas in 2008. Marquez, who signed with Oscar De La Hoya?s Golden Boy Productions, mainly blames Top Rank chairman Bob Arum for preventing another rematch to be realized. Arum said, ?I?m not saying they?ll never fight again, but you have to let it bake for a while.?

?There is a reason he doesn?t want to fight me again,? Marquez said. ?But that?s the fight I?ve wanted, I?ve made no secret of it.? He wants to win impressively against Diaz, a former three-time lightweight champion, to increase the pressure on Pacquiao. ?That?s the intention,? Marquez said. ?Right now, I?m just concentrating on Juan Diaz 100 percent.?

At present, Pacquiao?s camp is focusing on the fight with Englishman Ricky Hatton which is set on May 2 in Las Vegas. After the Hatton match, Pacquiao is rumoured to face the retired Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Reports had it that Pacquiao is set to retire after three fights and Marquez is doing anything to lure The Pacman to face him before Manny?s departure from boxing. Another possible Pacquiao opponent is Antonio Margarito.

The 25-year-old Diaz (34-1, 17 KOs), meanwhile, calls his match up with Marquez a ?dream come true.? Diaz lost three lightweight belts to Nate Campbell last March, but went on to defeat Michael Katsidis in Houston last September.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.

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