Boxing


Chris John/Juarez, Marquez/Diaz on HBO Feb 28

Juan Manuel MarquezLOS ANGELES, January 8 -- It's the homecoming fight Rocky Juarez has dreamed of ever since he turned pro and on Saturday, February 28th at Houston's Toyota Center, the 2000 US Olympic Silver medalist will have an opportunity to face the premier featherweight in the world, unbeaten WBA World Featherweight Champion Chris John in a 12 round championship bout.

"Chris John has been one of boxing's most consistent world champions and we're excited to finally bring him to the United States so the fans here can see him in person," said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "He's in for a tough night against Rocky Juarez, who is more determined than ever to capture a world championship. With John looking to impress U.S. fans and Juarez looking for his first world championship, this has all the makings of a great fight.."

The pride of Indonesia, Chris "The Dragon" John (42-0-1, 22 KO's) is one of the longest reigning champions in boxing today having won his WBA World Featherweight Crown in 2003 with a win over Oscar Leon. John has since defended his title ten times against the likes of standouts such as Osamu Sato, Derrick Gainer, Hiroyuki Enoki and pound for pound great Juan Manuel Marquez, whom John decisioned in 2006. Now, fighting for the first time in his ten year career in the United States, the 29-year-old is ready for the big names that will cement his legacy even further.

"This is an important moment in my life and my career - to not only defend my title against a worthy challenger like Rocky Juarez, but to do so fighting in the United States for the first time," said John. "I promise all my fans that I will give my best as always and I hope to make even more fans in Houston."

One of the most exciting and courageous warriors in the game today, Ricardo Rocky Juarez (28-4, 20 KO's) has been thrilling fight fans ever since he took home a Silver Medal for the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games. Juarez went on to win his first 23 pro fights and though he would later fall short in hard-fought title fights against Marco Antonio Barrera (twice), Humberto Soto and Juan Manuel Marquez, a stirring 11th round TKO of Former World Champion Jorge Rodrigo Barrios last September propelled the 28-year-old Houston native back into the world title picture. On February 28th, he hopes to finally strap championship gold around his waist.

"I'm grateful for this opportunity and I've always felt that I'm at my best when my back's against the wall," said Juarez, who will be competing in his fifth world title bout on February 28th. "I'm fighting this fight as if it's my last and I won't disappoint my hometown fans. I will win the title on February 28th."

John vs. Juarez, a 12 round bout for John's WBA World Featherweight Championship, is the televised co-feature on the Marquez vs. Diaz undercard. Marquez vs. Diaz, a 12 round bout for Marquez' Ring Magazine World Lightweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and Southwest Airlines. The world title bouts will take place on February 28th from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas and be televised live on HBO's World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 pm ET / 7 pm PT.

Tickets for Marquez vs. Diaz, priced at $300, $150, $75, $50 and $25, go on sale Friday, January 9 at 10 a.m. CT and are available for purchase, online at www.ToyotaCenterTix.com, by phone at 1-866-4-HOU-TIX and select Houston area Randalls locations. Tickets will be available at the Toyota Center Box Office starting Monday, January 12th at 9 am CT.


QUOTES FROM TODAY’S MARQUEZ vs. DIAZ PRESS CONFERENCE

David Itskowitch, COO Golden Boy Promotions

“We are calling this event Supremacy because the winners of both of these two fights will reign supreme in their respective divisions.”

“The mark of a great fight is when you ask 20 people who will win this fight and you have 10 people that say one guy will win and 10 that say the other will win. That’s what we’ve got here with Marquez vs. Diaz.”

“Juan Manuel Marquez’ fights turn into epic battles and go down in the history. You will always get 110% from Juan Manuel.”

“Juan Diaz is one of the best fighters in the world today. When you look at his resume it’s hard to believe that he has accomplished so much at only 25 years old. His boxing ability and experience in the ring are two reasons why this fight against Marquez should be one to remember.”

“I think the 5th time will be the charm for rocky…. I think he is going to do it this time. His last fight was a do or die fight for him and he got it done. It was destiny.”

“I think given the quality of fights that we are doing here at Toyota Center, it could soon become the mecca of boxing in Texas.”

Greg Alvarez, Assistant Program Administrator of Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation
“We are happy to be able to host these great fights here in Texas.”

Doug Hall, Vice President & General Manager, Toyota Center

“For those of us that are big sports fans and are under the age of 50, we haven’t had an opportunity to see a live night of world class boxing in cities other than New York and Las Vegas. But the event on February 28th will be night like that here at Toyota Center in Houston.”

“The boxing event here in September far exceeded my expectations so we jumped on the opportunity to host the February 28th card.”

“Live boxing far exceeds what you see on TV, so make sure you come out to Toyota Center on February 28th.”

Eric Gomez, Vice President & Matchmaker, Golden Boy Promotions

“I’m very excited about this fight. It goes to show that what we have here today, even during tough economic times…when you put the best against the best, you will get a turnout.”

“We had a great event in September and you had a little bit of a taste of what it’s like to have a big fight here in Houston and now we are back again to bring bigger fights.”

“You have Juan Manuel who is a legend in Mexico and the best in the 135 pound division right now, and then you have Juan Diaz who is a great fighter and doesn’t duck anyone, he wants to fight the best.”

Ronnie Shields, Diaz’ & Juarez’ Trainer - On Rocky Juarez:

“In September we told you that Juan and Rocky had tough fights, well these guys are tougher. Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz is a tough fight and the Juarez-John fight is even tougher.”

“We know we have our work cut out for us and we’re up for it, Rocky wants to be the best and he has to fight the best.”

“We’ll be prepared and ready and Rocky will be the WBA Featherweight Champion of the world.”

Rocky Juarez, 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist

“It’s an honor to be back here in Houston. This fight against Chris John just came up yesterday because I was originally supposed to fight Steven Luevano and since I beat him twice in the amateurs I was ready for the fight. He didn’t want to fight here in Houston and offered me a fight in Puerto Rico, but I took less money to fight for the title in front of my fans here in Houston.”

“The Barrios fight was a great fight to have here in Houston, and to win the way I did it was great. I’m ready to do it again.”

“I want to win the WBA featherweight title and do it here in front of my fans on February 28th.”

Willie Savannah, Diaz’ Manager

“Diaz is excited about fighting the best. It has always brought the best out in him. It seems like he is an old veteran, but he is only 25 and still in school.”

“Toyota Center during the September fight looked like we were in Vegas with over 15,000 fans cheering. After the fight we thought we had to get up and catch a flight home the next morning because we were so excited it felt like Vegas.”

“Thanks to Golden Boy for having the foresight to bring this fight to Houston as we hope this will open the doors to bring other fights to Houston.”

Ronnie Shields, Diaz & Juarez Trainer - On Juan Diaz:

“This is a fight we are really looking forward to.”

“Styles makes fights and we expect a good fight.”

“We are confident that Diaz can and will pull out the win here in Houston.”

“Juan Manuel Marquez has been around for a long time and fought the best. We are happy he is not ducking Diaz and he is going to come here to fight in Houston in our home town.”

“We realize that just because we are in our hometown, we don’t get any special treatment and Juan knows he has to be prepared to fight that night.”

“In order for him to win this fight, it’s going to take a lot of hard work….so come support Juan and Rocky, because this is going to be one hell of a night.”

Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, Marquez’ Trainer

“Fighters like Juan Manuel Marquez, Juan Diaz and Rocky Juarez are big names in the world of boxing.”

“It’s a great card and its going to be in a great city, so go out and get your tickets because it will sell out. It will be a great night of boxing that you don’t want to miss.”

Juan Diaz, Former Three-Time World Champion

“I want to thank God for making my dream come true through all these years. I never imagined this dream coming true like it did.”

“2008 was a bad year at the beginning, but it finished up being a great year. I had my first loss against Nate Campbell and then I came back in September and won a world title back here in Houston.”

“Even in a bad economic crisis, 15,000 people still came to support Rocky and I and it shows how great the people of Houston are.”

“I want to thank the city of Houston because they are here still supporting us and spending the little bit of extra money that they have to come watch our fights. Rocky and I will not take that support for granted. We will fight that night like we have never fought before. We will train hard and make it worth your money. We will win our fights because we are a team and we will push each other everyday to make sure we are working hard.”

“On February 28th Rocky will win his first world title and I will become a five time world champion.”

“I want to thank Juan Manuel for the opportunity to fight him. He is giving me the chance. I needed someone like Juan Manuel to put me back to the top, so that I can say to everyone that I am the best lightweight in the world.”

Juan Manuel Marquez, Ring Magazine World Lightweight Champion

“This is my first fight here in Houston and I’m really excited.”

“Everyone knows that Diaz is a great fighter and a great champion.”

“On February 28th I will put my Mexican heart and blood on the line in this fight.”

“I m 35 years old and I feel young, like I’m 25 years old.”

“On September 13th, I fought a great fighter, Joel Casamayor, to win my Ring Magazine Belt. On February 28th I will successfully defend my title here in Houston.”

“I will dedicate this fight to all the Mexican fight fans that live here in Houston.


Marquez vs. Diaz Set for Feb. 28th - Live on HBO's World Championship Boxing

HOUSTON, January 8 -- In 2008, Mexican icon Juan Manuel Marquez solidified his place among boxing's elite and became Mexico's number one fighter by knocking out Joel Casamayor and winning a championship in a third weight class. As 2009 opens, Marquez will not be resting on his laurels, as he accepted the challenge to face former three-time lightweight champion Juan "The Baby Bull" Diaz at Houston's Toyota Center on Saturday, February 28th in what promises to be an early Fight of The Year candidate.

Marquez vs. Diaz, a 12 round bout for Marquez' Ring Magazine World Lightweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and Southwest Airlines. The world title bout will take place on February 28th from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas and be televised live on HBO's World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 pm ET / 7 pm PT.

Tickets for Marquez vs. Diaz, priced at $300, $150, $75, $50 and $25, go on sale Friday, January 9 at 10 a.m. CT and are available for purchase, online at www.ToyotaCenterTix.com, by phone at 1-866-4-HOU-TIX and select Houston area Randalls locations. Tickets will be available at the Toyota Center Box Office starting Monday, January 12th at 9 am CT.

"This fight between Marquez and Diaz will shake the lightweight division to its core and truly determine the best 135-pounder in the world," said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "As a fan, I can't wait to see this fight."

"Both of these ring warriors have continuously given fight fans memorable performances," said Kery Davis, senior vice president programming, HBO Sports. "This showdown between them will certainly feature fireworks and we're delighted to bring it to boxing fans across the country live on HBO."

"We are elated to welcome back Golden Boy Promotions, HBO and Houston's own Juan Diaz to Toyota Center," said Doug Hall, general manager of Toyota Center. "We hope the match up against Juan Manuel Marquez proves to be as exciting as both the Diaz and Juarez fights were last time."

Mexico's premier fighter and a future Hall of Famer, Juan Manuel "Dinamita" Marquez (49-4-1, 36 KO's) has signified excellence for over 15 years and in three weight classes. A world champion at featherweight and junior lightweight, the 35-year-old Mexico City native made an immediate impact at 135 pounds when he won the Ring Magazine World Lightweight Championship by becoming the first man to stop Cuban great Joel Casamayor on September 13, 2008.

"Juan Diaz is a talented young fighter with a bright future," said Marquez. "But this is still my time and I am not about to let Diaz take my belt away from me."

Just nine years old when Marquez made his pro debut, 25-year old Juan Diaz (34-1, 17 KO's) has roared through the pro ranks during his eight-year career and built a stellar reputation as one of the fight game's most exciting young stars. The Former Three-Time World Lightweight Champion defended his crown seven times, beating the likes of fellow World Champions Acelino Freitas and Julio Diaz along the way. In his last bout in September of 2008, "The Baby Bull" thrilled his hometown fans at the Toyota Center with a dominant 12 round decision win over Australian warrior Michael Katsidis and in February, he returns for what he hopes is a victorious encore.

"Juan Manuel is one of the greats in the game and it's an honor to fight him, but I will be victorious on February 28th," said Diaz.

Article posted on 09.01.2009



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