Move Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz to the front of the line for best fight of 2009. The great Marquez, the lightweight champion of the world, was getting beaten early on by the #1 challenger in the division, as Diaz dragged Marquez into his ultra-kinetic fight, and it didn’t look good for the second best boxer in the world. But Marquez used his incredible boxing brain to make the adjustments he needed to — primarily, his uppercuts, but Marquez is so advanced he did so much more than that — leading to him landing the more precise shots and eventually KOing Diaz in the 9th.
We’ll be back with more tomorrow, but the pace was inhuman, the quality punches landed were jaw-dropping, and the willpower both men showed was incredible. After the 4th, HBO’s Jim Lampley said, “Why should a fight like this even be scored?” Put it in his Hall of Fame for great Lampley quotes. Put this fight in a time capsule for 2009.
[UPDATE: Yeah, it was criminally negligent of me not to mention the wonderful Chris John-Rocky Juarez featherweight bout. Moderately questionable draw or no, it was all you could want and more. John is better maybe than we all realized. Juarez just always is right. on. the. verge, and he’d never been better. Applause, to all participants.]