Search the web for "famous rematches" and your top results are almost exclusively boxing articles. The rematch holds a special place in boxing history, steeped in the storylines of Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The second act is always when the narrative gets rolling.
Tonight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas was, it was about reclamation and revival. Juan Manuel Marquez needed to show fans that his loss to Floyd Mayweather resulted from an unfortunate step up in weight. Juan Diaz needed to once against test himself against a veteran and prove his worth among the ranks of bold Mexican fighters like Marquez. To some observers, it seemed a Herculean task for both.
Their first fight in February of 2009 was a throbbing, leather-filled affair, covering all four corners of the ring and heralded by most as Fight of the Year. It ended in the 9th round with Diaz on his back after Marquez managed to turn the tables on the high-output fighter. Mid-fight, a tired and flustered Diaz fell after multiple failed attempts at controlling the action.
Tonight's Marquez, fighting at a more manageable 135 pounds, showed more speed and reflex early in the fight than their first. His right hook landed with incredible snap, placing 48% of his total power punches. With little exception he pummeled Diaz around the ring. While the action was exciting and exchanges often intense, it lacked the dramatic tension the first fight provided. Instead, Marquez put on a highly entertaining clinic boxing Diaz, who refused to alter his game plan during the fight, to a unanimous decision victory.
See a slideshow from the Marquez-Diaz II fight here.