- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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A deal for lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz to meet in a rematch of the 2009 fight of the year is imminent, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Thursday.
Schaefer said the fight for Marquez's title is being planned for July 10 as the main event of an HBO PPV card. He said it would "probably" take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"It's very close," Schaefer said. "We are getting everything signed, but we have agreed on terms." Willie Savannah, Diaz's manager, told ESPN.com that he had received the proposal from Golden Boy and that their side wants the fight.
"It looks like that is what will happen," Savannah said. "I told them we would like to have the rematch."
Marquez, of Mexico, went to Diaz's hometown of Houston to face him at the Toyota Center in February 2009 in what turned out to be an all-action slugfest, one that Marquez won via ninth-round knockout.
The fight was named fight of the year by ESPN.com, Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KOs), 36, went on to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September and lost a lopsided decision in a welterweight fight.
Diaz, 26, a former lightweight titleholder, went on to split a pair of junior welterweight bouts with former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, winning the first fight in August on a controversial decision and losing a decision in the December rematch.
Golden Boy had talked to Marquez about a potential fight with former junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton and one with 140-pound titleholder Amir Khan, but neither bout panned out. Diaz (35-3, 17 KOs) had nothing significant on the horizon either.
"The first fight was a great fight. These guys are both coming off losses, but they are still great fighters," Savannah said. "Doing this rematch, which you know is going to be great fight, is the biggest fight for both of them right now."
The winner will be in prime position to move up to the loaded junior welterweight division for a potential fight with any of the titleholders, Tim Bradley, Devon Alexander or Khan, all of whom are fighting now on HBO.
One of the pay-per-view undercard bouts for the July 10 card Schaefer said he is working on is a middleweight match between former undisputed junior middleweight champ Winky Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs) and former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora (21-1-1, 5 KOs).
Wright has been out of action since losing a decision to Paul Williams last April. Mora, the winner of the first season of "The Contender," has another fight scheduled first. In his first bout since losing his junior middleweight belt to the late Vernon Forrest in September 2008, Mora faces Calvin Green in a scheduled 10-round middleweight bout on the Roy Jones Jr.-Bernard Hopkins pay-per-view undercard on April 3 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.
8hPat McManamon and Jeremy Fowler