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Home Boxing Worth the Wait: David Diaz Returns with a Win over Jesus Chavez
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Worth the Wait: David Diaz Returns with a Win over Jesus Chavez

 

david-diaz-poseIt took 15 months away from the ring after a ninth-round TKO loss to Manny Pacquiao in June 2008 but former WBC lightweight titleholder David Diaz returned in gutsy style with a majority decision win over Jesus Chavez Saturday night.

Over 3,800 spectators filled Chicago’s UIC Pavilion on the same evening HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” featured WBC heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko’s serving a dominant tenth-round TKO victory over Cristobal Arreola. But for the fans’ money, promoter Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions provided more action in its ten-round lightweight main attraction.

Perhaps Diaz, 35-2-1 (17), might have been more gun-shy had he returned to the ring sooner after the Pacquiao loss but the time away (which included a short stretch to recuperate from knee surgery) proved a boon to the Chicago native. Diaz came to meet Chavez with a vigor and enthusiasm that boasted warrior spirit from the get-go.

Diaz would need that warrior spirit to fully engage Chavez, 44-6 (30), a former IBF lightweight titleholder, who was coming off an eighth-round TKO loss of his own to Michael Katsidis in April. Five months after the Katsidis loss, Chavez, more the aggressor, showed no sign that the ring was nowhere he wanted to be.

Neither fighter showed give from the beginning and stayed close for the trades. Chavez, as is his wont, focused on Diaz’ body early as Diaz chose to be as technical as a fighter can be when facing off with “El Matador.” Diaz would extend his know-how to forcing combinations; staving off the shorter Chavez, who would frequently get dangerously low due to his height and attention to firing to the lower body.

Midway through the fight, Chavez’ brawling style and aggression hit a fever pitch, somewhat stealing away Diaz’ awkward southpaw style that’s so iffy for orthodox fighters to deal with. Chavez would fire away at “Dangerous David’s” head. In the eighth and bleeding from above the right eye, Diaz would suddenly throw a right hook and straight left down the pipe, which visibly shook Chavez.

The final two rounds served as the factor determining the margin of victory for Diaz. Both men would engage in a back-and-forth struggle that saw Diaz typically targeting Chavez’ head with deadly accuracy. True to form, Chavez continued targeting the body, attempting to extinguish the taller Diaz’ fire. Diaz would finish the tenth and final round stronger and with cleaner focus.

In the end, ringside judge Mike Fitzgerald saw the fight as a draw; rendering a scorecard of 95-95. Judges Mauro Di Fiore and Scott Dexter had the fight 97-93 and 96-94, respectively, for David Diaz. The referee was Gerald Scott.

What’s a real shame is that David Diaz vs. Jesus Chavez was, as expected, a pretty friendly fight for TV and was relegated to interview pay-per-view status while the widely expected result of the Vitali Klitschko vs. Chris Arreola heavyweight fight got the HBO treatment. This isn’t to say that Klitschko-Arreola shouldn’t have been an HBO fight but wouldn’t it have been nice to see Diaz-Chavez as a remote co-feature?

Incidentally, unlike the sudden reaction Arreola suffered when trainer Henry Ramirez stopped the heavyweight fight in the tenth, there were no tears shed; only immense respect between the two Latino sluggers who hugged like long-lost friends in the ring once the battle was done.

Chavez once said before this fight that, should he lose, it would be the end of the road. Apparently, that sentiment’s no longer applicable as the Austin, Texas native plans on plugging on. And there’s no lack of fighters at lightweight for Chavez to face. What might not settle well in his belly…well, it’d have to share office space with the fire there…is the possibility of becoming a lightweight gatekeeper. At 36 years of age and with three losses in his last five fights, it’s something he might have to accept if he’s willing to stay competitive in Our Sport. And if he works himself back into contention, even better.

Diaz, on the other hand, is reasonably a lightweight player again. I base this solely on the fact that, after such a long layoff, there was no tune-up fight (If you consider Jesus Chavez a “tune-up”, you’re way too critical…). There was only Chavez. Now, there’s a lightweight landscape including the winner of the upcoming vacant IBF lightweight title fight between Joan Guzman-Ali Funeka, Vicente Escobedo or even THE RING magazine World Champion Juan Manuel Marquez. The latter would be interesting due to both Diaz and Marquez having almost equal periods of recovery; Diaz’ from the Chavez fight, Marquez from his unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. In fact, the playing field might be rather level since Marquez has to re-acclimate to find his wheels at 135.

Undercard results

Juan Carlos Martinez, 17-11-1 (7) UD 10 Jose Andres Hernandez, 22-5 (14), junior lightweights

Ivan Popoca, 12-0-1 (8) TKO 6 Mike Gonzalez, 10-7-1 (9), junior welterweights

Jaime Sandoval, 16-4-1 with one no-contest (12) UD 6 Oscar De La Cruz, 5-8 (2), lightweights

David Latoria, 3-0 (2) UD 4 Jeremiah Williams, 0-3, heavyweights

Achour Esho, 4-0 (3) TKO 2 Ricky Thompson, 1-7 (1), welterweights

Diamond Baier, 2-0-1 UD 4 Jose Javier Guzman, 6-3 (5), junior lightweights


38 Wins and a Wake-Up: Vitali Klitschko Awakens from another Nightmare

Equally intriguing (although not equally compelling) was the heavyweight showdown between defending WBC heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko and Cristobal Arreola (broadcasted live from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on HBO’s World Championship Boxing). The pre-fight predictions were somewhat scattered but the consistency of “Dr. Iron Fist’s” comeback fights stayed true as he took out “The Nightmare” when in the tenth round, Arreola’s chief second Henry Ramirez spared his fighter from absorbing further punishment.

From the onset, the younger challenger was the aggressor but Klitschko, 38-2 (37), would lessen the effect by establishing distance. The reigning titlist would unleash his powerful left hook frequently; softening his Mexican-American opponent. Arreola, 27-1 (24), would work the jab, seemingly the most effective weapon in his arsenal, to establish his own offensive. However, Klitschko was having none of it and put on a showcase of fundamentals; progressively rendering Arreola’s jab useless and taking total control of the bout.

Despite an almost superhuman surge of energy and heart in the eighth round, Arreola couldn’t exceed the gutsy forward effort that was his modus operandi throughout the fight. Klitschko was just the better fighter on Saturday night as he moved, jabbed and hooked his way to victory. After Ramirez called a halt to the punishment, his charge, overwrought with disappointment, wept openly. The reality of the loss was overwhelming to Arreola, who had no quit, and the scene was reminiscent of the aftermath of Paul Malignaggi’s unanimous decision loss to Miguel Cotto. Even Arreola’s post-fight statement was near identical to Malignaggi’s.

“I really wanted to be champion,” lamented Arreola. I had no doubt in my mind that he wanted nothing less.

 Now, the heavyweight landscape thins out once more as Klitschko and Arreola consider their next moves. Arreola deserves a good rest before he even thinks of testing the waters again. Former WBA titlist Ruslan Chagaev, Tony Thompson, and James Toney would make for good confidence-renewing fights but I’d like to see Arreola throw with undefeated Kevin Johnson or former Undisputed Heavyweight Championship challenger David Tua, especially if Tua can get past New Zealander Shane Cameron next Saturday.

Klitschko’s options are, interestingly enough, less interesting. With his and younger brother/THE RING magazine World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir’s adamant refusal to fight each other, there’ll be few options for clarity, if you’re looking for it. For either Klitschko, the next big fight could possibly come from the winner of the upcoming bout between WBA titleholder Nicolay Valuev and former THE RING magazine World Cruiserweight Champion David Haye.

The time of stoppage was 3:00 in round 10. Judge Guido Cavalleri saw the fight 100-89 and judges Ken Morita and Anek Hongtongkam both scored the fight 99-91. The third man in the ring was Jon Schorle.

Associate Editor Coyote Duran never cried after a fight. He saved it all up for Dawn dishwashing liquid commercials and those damn Sarah McLachlan ASPCA spots…Damn you, Sarah…*sniff* If you’d like to make Coyote cry, shoot him an e-mail about how much you think the Sonic “Limeades for Learning” commercials suck at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also track Coyote at www.myspace.com/coyote_duran and www.facebook.com/CoyoteDuran or visit www.convictedartist.com/coyote_duran.html. Then you can e-mail Coyote and tell him his little online coloring book blows or something…
But he doesn’t “Tweet.” Sorry.

 

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