By the time they enter the ring, anticipation in the Mandalay Bay Arena should be at a fever pitch, thanks to a power-packed, three-fight undercard. "This is without question the most stacked pay-per-view card we have ever put on," says Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. The opening bout features former featherweight champion Jorge Linares (28-1, 18 KOs), who will be looking to rebound from a shocking first-round knockout when he faces perennial contender and Olympic silver medalist Rocky Juarez (28-6, 20 KOs). The second fight sees Robert Guerrero (26-1-18) taking on Cuban legend Joel Casamayor (37-4-1) in a battle of former champions. The final bout before the main event will pit two undefeated fighters battling for a vacant world title. All eyes will be on rising star Daniel Jacobs (20-0, 17 KO), when he takes on Russian Dmitry Pirog (16-0, 13 K0s) in a fight which could have major implications for the moribund middleweight division.
In the Marquez-Diaz rematch, both boxers are coming off devastating losses, and they should be hell-bent on regaining their luster. "Both fighters have something to prove," Steward said. "They must look impressive. Their credibility is at stake because both guys have lost in humiliating fashion."
Diaz, more than Marquez, is in a make-or-break situation. Counting his first career defeat to Nate Campbell in March of 2008, Diaz has lost three of his last five fights. Some say he only escaped another defeat in his first bout with Paulie Malignaggi because of hometown scoring. In the rematch at a neutral site, Malignaggi took Diaz to the cleaners, winning in dominating fashion. "Juan Diaz may be 26 chronologically, but as a fighter he looks like he's 30," says Bob Papa, the play-by-play announcer for HBO's Boxing After Dark. "He's in sort of an in-between land. On one hand you know he's not going to get any better, and on the other you can't say he's shot. What you can say is he has probably peaked."
De La Hoya does not agree. "Whether he wins or loses, Juan Diaz will probably still fight again because that's the type of warrior he is. He wants to become world champion again. He has something to fall back on; yes, he can become a lawyer, but he's on a mission right now. That mission is to beat the guy that beat him because he knows he can do it."