24.07.04 - By Jim Amato: Just recently Juan Diaz brought a world title to his hometown of Houston. Juan's victory over Lakva Sim allowed the twenty year old to claim the W.B.A. lightweight title. On the undercard another favorite son of Houston qualified himself as the # 1 contender for the I.B.F. featherweight title. Ricardo "Rocky" Juarez took a hard fought decision over the talented Zahir Raheem. Although the referee took a ridiculous amount of points away from Raheem, I still had Rocky as the better man despite the padded point total.
The question now is this: Will Rocky be able to make the grade as he moves to the top level of his division? The I.B.F. champion is none other then Juan Manuel Marquez. The same Marquez who got off the canvas and fought a rousing draw with the feared Manny Pacquaio. Is Rocky at 21-0 ready for the likes of Marquez, Pacquaio or Marco Antonio Barrera? Rocky has some nice names on his resume. In his thirteenth fight he outscored Hector Acero Sanchez. Nine months later he beat the rugged Antonio Diaz. Juarez had a couple of heart testing wars against Hector Valezquez and Joe Morales. Did these fights prepare Rocky for world honors or did they show some of the chinks in his armour the may never let him fulfill his dream ? One thing is certain, Rocky is very popular in Houston.
My contact there sends me articles on Rocky often. From what I've gathered if being a great guy could win a person a world title, Rocky would be a champion. I have seen a few things in Rocky's fights that have caused doubts about his fistic future. No one can deny the power of his left hook. What I have noticed is that he is depending too much on the bread and butter hook. He has been outboxed by some opponents and outmuscled by others. I also noticed that he is not as effective with his body attack. Although Rocky is well schooled he does not seem to extremely fast or strong. He also appears to be somewhat predictable with his fight plan. All this could add up to impending disaster for Rocky. I hope I am wrong. The great city of Houston would surely welcome another world champion. Good luck Rocky. I am afraid you will need it.