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Saturday, February 28, 2009
Updated: March 2, 12:19 AM ET
Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz blog

By Dan Rafael, Darius Ortiz
ESPN.com

Saturday, 11:57 p.m. ET -- Round 9

What an incredible fight so far. Diaz is eager to show he isn't hurt. He seems to have his legs back. Marquez is picking Diaz apart with his jab. Diaz throws a combination that rattles Marquez. Diaz doing an excellent job of fighting through the blood. Diaz is back to landing his jab. An uppercut nearly sends Diaz through the ropes. He's hurt badly. Marquez goes to the body and ends the fight with an uppercut. Diaz falls like someone chopped his legs off. Excellent finish for Marquez!

Saturday, 11:53 p.m. ET -- Round 8

Marquez seems to be tiring. An uppercut opens a cut over Diaz's eye. Marquez is rallying behind the uppercut now. Diaz lets his hands go but he isn't landing. Marquez lands a vicious uppercut that halts Diaz's attack. Both men are trading bombs. Diaz lands a jab but is staggered by a counter hook. Diaz is hurt. Marquez is looking to end it but Diaz backs him off. Diaz looks lost at the moment. Marquez ends the round with a combination.

Dan Rafael scores the round 10-9, Marquez
Darius Ortiz scores the round 10-9, Marquez

Saturday, 11:49 p.m. ET -- Round 7

Despite the high work rate, Diaz doesn't seem to be tiring. Diaz has Marquez pinned against the ropes again. Marquez battles off the ropes and is back to working the body. Marquez flurries but Diaz blocks the majority of the shots. Diaz lands a jab and combos with a hook. Both men land jabs but Marquez's lacks steam. Diaz outworks a tiring Marquez in the last minute of the round.

Dan Rafael scores the round 10-9, Diaz
Darius Ortiz scores the round 10-9, Diaz

Saturday, 11:45 p.m. ET -- Round 6

Marquez is bleeding over his right eye. Diaz stalks and forces Marquez to the ropes. Diaz clubs Marquez with a left hook. Marquez is trying to keep the fight in the center of the ring. Both men exchange heavy punches in the corner. Diaz is stalking but landing little now. Both men swap heavy leather in a neutral corner. Diaz dials home with a right hand. Marquez ducks a hook and responds with a right before the bell.

Dan Rafael scores the round 10-9, Diaz
Darius Ortiz scores the round 10-9, Diaz

Saturday, 11:41 p.m. ET -- Round 5

Marquez lands a three-punch combo that stops Diaz in his tracks. Marquez is starting to find a groove and is countering accurately. Diaz has his best moments when he forces Marquez to the ropes. Diaz lands a straight right as Marquez is pinned against the ropes. Marquez lands a thudding body punch. Both men trade body blows. Marquez lands a jab to fight his way off the ropes. Marquez throws an uppercut then rakes the body. Diaz rushes forward but lands nothing. Marquez fights well off the ropes.

Dan Rafael scores the round 10-9, Marquez
Darius Ortiz scores the round 10-9, Marquez

Saturday, 11:37 p.m. ET -- Round 4

Diaz lands a neck-snapping left hook 15 seconds in. Marquez takes it well and responds in kind. Diaz forces Marquez to the ropes but Marquez is landing pinpoint shots. Marquez mixes his jabs to the body and to the head to keep Diaz honest. Diaz throws punches in bunches as Marquez momentarily rests along the ropes. Marquez throws a two-punch combo and Diaz bores ahead with a three-punch salvo immediately after. Diaz lands a pair of jabs that snaps Marquez's head back. Both men try to steal the round.

Dan Rafael scores the round 10-9, Diaz
Darius Ortiz scores the round 10-9, Marquez

Saturday, 11:33 p.m. ET -- Round 3

Marquez seems slow at countering and getting out of the way of Diaz's jabs. Diaz marches in again with little respect for Marquez's power. Marquez stands his ground against the ropes and lands a left hook. Diaz can't seem to miss Marquez with his jab. Diaz throws four unanswered punches. Marquez stuck against the ropes. Marquez uncorks a right hand that stops Diaz in his tracks. Marquez now digs with the uppercut. Marquez is finally getting his punches off. Diaz keeps his hands active.

Dan Rafael scores the round 10-9, Diaz
Darius Ortiz scores the round 10-9, Diaz

Saturday, 11:29 p.m. ET -- Round 2

Marquez peppers Diaz with a jab to begin Round 2. Diaz wastes no time pushing Marquez to the ropes and going to work. Marquez is overpowered badly. Now he's staggered by a left hook. Diaz continues firing; Marquez slides away and returns fire. Diaz is the bigger, stronger man tonight. Marquez jabs to the body, then goes upstairs with a hook. Diaz seems to be reloading. Both men trade shots in the center of the ring. Marquez throws a four-punch combo just at the bell.

Dan Rafael scores the round 10-9, Diaz
Darius Ortiz scores the round 10-9, Diaz

Saturday, 11:25 p.m. ET -- Round 1

Diaz storms across the ring and sticks out his jab. Diaz stalking early and digs to the body. Diaz corners Marquez and lands a left hook. Marquez is being smothered. Diaz lands a body shot then comes upstairs with a straight left. Marquez tries to stand his ground but is forced to cover up. Both men trade jabs in the center of the ring. This is where Marquez would like to keep the fight. Diaz showing off savvy boxing skills in finding ways to land his heavier blows. Marquez just misses with an uppercut. Diaz is beating Marquez to the punch with his jab. Diaz has Marquez against the ropes again. A hard left hook stuns Marquez but the champion responds just before the bell.

Dan Rafael scores the round 10-9, Diaz
Darius Ortiz scores the round 10-9, Diaz

Saturday, 11:20 p.m. ET -- Introductions

Both fighters look focused and intense. Diaz introduced first. Marquez next. The crowd boos loudly. Marquez doing some last-minute stretching. They touch 'em up and here we go …

Saturday, 11:15 p.m. ET -- The moment you've been waiting for

Folks: The mariachi music is playing, which can mean only one of two things: We're at a quinceañera or Juan Diaz is making his way to the ring. Let's hope for the latter. Yup, there's the Baby Bull himself, all decked out in -- what else? -- baby blue.

Marquez is now making his way to the ring. More mariachi. Classy guy he is, the champion has kept the trash talk to a minimum leading up to tonight. Let's hope he checked the cordial behavior at the door as there's no place for it in the ring. Marquez salutes the crowd to a less-than-warm reception.

Saturday, 11:05 p.m. ET -- We have a draw, folks

HOUSTON -- How about one more round?

After 12 exciting rounds, Indonesia's Chris John retained his featherweight title against Houston native son Rocky Juarez when all three judges scored it a 114-114 draw on Saturday night at the Toyota Center.

The draw denied Juarez, a 2000 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, a world title in his fifth shot, disappointing a crowd of supporters who chanted, "Rocky! Rocky! Rocky," throughout the bout.

John, making his 11th defense, had wanted to come to the United States to defend his title and show that he is one of the best featherweights in the world. He seemed to do just that despite the judges' scorecards. ESPN.com scored the bout for John, 115-113. HBO's unofficial judge, Harold Lederman, also had it for John, 116-112.

John, 29, also had a commanding edge in the CompuBox statistics, landing 344 of 1,190 blows (29 percent) while Juarez, 28, was credited with landing 206 of 797 punches (26 percent).

John appeared to race to a large early lead, but Juarez closed strong, giving the impression that he may have won.

"I thought I won the fight," Juarez said. "I gave up the middle rounds. I lost some of the middle ones but it was a great show. I wanted to win the title in front of my hometown. I came out in the later rounds and I took the fight. He fought a smart fight. But it was my fault in the mid rounds."

Although John retained his title, he thought he deserved the victory.

"I could handle Rocky," said John, who owns a close victory against Juan Manuel Marquez, who defended the lightweight title against Juan Diaz in the main event. "I didn't run. Everybody thought I would run, but I didn't. I thought I won the fight easily. I dominated."

A flush right hand from John in the fifth round opened a bad cut over Juarez's left eye with a minute to go in the round. Juarez's eyes had already started to swell before the perfect shot drew blood.

"I got cut but it didn't have much to do with the fight," Juarez said.

John, who looked very comfortable, continued to move in and out and mix up his punches against the slower and more one-dimensional Juarez through the middle rounds.

But Juarez (28-4-1, 20 KOs), with the crowd cheering him on, continued to press forward and came on strong in the final few rounds.

He finally broke through during the 11th round, when he landed some hard blows that seemed to hurt John.

Juarez went after John (42-0-2, 22 KOs) in the 12th as the crowd went wild, but John, despite taking huge shots, stayed on his feet as they traded for the final 20 seconds of the highly entertaining fight.

Juarez is now 0-4-1 in world title fights. He lost an interim featherweight title bout to Humberto Soto and three junior lightweight title bouts, one to Marquez and two to Marco Antonio Barrera.

Saturday, 9:45 p.m. ET -- Hometown hero

• Former heavyweight champion George Foreman, a Houston native, is in the house. Foreman drew a huge ovation from the crowd when he was shown on the big screen in the arena. Then Foreman, who used to be an analyst for HBO fights, came to ringside and shared hugs and handshakes with his former HBO colleagues, including Jim Lampley, Harold Lederman and members of the crew.

Saturday, 9:45 p.m. ET -- Garcia pounds out win over Favela

• Junior welterweight prospect Danny Garcia (11-0, 7 KOs) got in eight solid rounds of work against Mexican journeyman Cristian Favela (15-17-6, 9 KOs) en route to a lopsided unanimous decision in the final fight before HBO's telecast began.

Philadelphia's Garcia, who turns 21 on March 20 and was one of several Golden Boy prospects on the card, was a 2006 U.S. national champion. But he lost in the finals of the U.S. Olympic trials and turned professional in December.

Garcia stayed busy throughout the fight and won 80-72 on two scorecards and 79-73 on the third. Favela took a lot of shots but was never in danger of being stopped. That came as no surprise since he has been knocked out only once despite so many losses.

Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET -- Jacobs makes short work of Cruz

• Blue chip super middleweight prospect Daniel Jacobs (14-0, 13 KOs) didn't break a sweat as he blew away Mexico's Jose Cruz (12-16-3, 4 KOs), knocking him out at 2:59 of the first round. Jacobs, a U.S. Olympic trials finalist, has tremendous power and he put it to good use, outlanding Cruz 27-5, according to CompuBox statistics. Every shot seemed to shake Cruz.

Jacobs, who turned 22 on Feb. 3, appeared to drop Cruz midway through the round, but it was ruled a slip. Moments later, he knocked him down with a flurry of punches and Cruz, his back against the ropes, shook his head in resignation as he was counted out.

Saturday, 8:20 p.m. ET -- Williams forces Partillo to quit

• Houston lightweight prospect Hylon Williams (8-0, 3 KOs) was too fast and hit too hard for Edgar Partillo (3-1, 2 KOs), who quit on his stool after the fifth round. Williams, 18, was an outstanding amateur, going 145-20 while winning a U.S. national championship and national Golden Gloves title in 2007 and serving as a U.S. Olympic alternate in 2008.

Partillo, a late substitute who took the fight on only a day's notice, hung in there but couldn't deal with Williams' speed and volume of punches that came from all angles.

Saturday, 7:50 p.m. ET -- Charlo earns the nod over Serrano

• Houston welterweight prospect Jermell Charlo (6-0, 3 KOs) easily outpointed Juan Serrano (2-5-1, 2 KOs) in an entertaining fight. Although three judges each scored the fight a 40-36 shutout, Serrano never stopped trying to win and landed some hard shots, one of which knocked 18-year-old Charlo, who turned pro in December, off balance in the third round.

It's fight night in Houston! Dan Rafael fills you in from ringside up until the main event. Then, Darius Ortiz calls the action as Juan Manuel Marquez defends his lightweight title against Juan Diaz. Coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Darius Ortiz is ESPN.com's boxing editor.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.