By Peter Wells
Thurman vs Diaz
With a war bubbling, proceedings were unfortunately cut short as Julio Diaz retired after the 3rd session against Keith Thurman with a rib injury.
Thurman had forced Diaz to the canvas in the 2nd round after a left hook caused a delayed reaction. The action really heated up in the 2nd and 3rd rounds as both loaded up with big left hooks, Diaz caught flush on several occasions, every time Diaz fired back in kind.
Sadly the fight was then called to a halt as Diaz could not continue due to a rib injury, but no suggestions of faking an injury have been made, knowing Diaz’s unquestioned heart.
Thurman improved to 23-0(21) and will likely move on to fight some of the other premier fighters in a stacked Welterweight division, while Diaz 40-10-1(29) will be back soon, with another opportunity to impress on national TV.
Matthysse Molina Fight Wows Fans In An Incredible War
One had to worry about John Molina from the moment he told the press he was going to trade toe-to-toe with Argentine banger Lucas Matthysse. Knowing that if the former Lightweight was true to his word, then it could well be an early night for the American.
And the fans can only thank Molina for sticking to his word and clashing with Matthysse in an early candidate for fight of the year.
Sadly for Molina he was to be at the wrong end of a brutal contest that saw 5 knockdowns – 3 for Molina, 2 for Matthysse – and dozens of crunching haymakers.
Molina came out of the blocks with serious intent, the bigger man, despite moving up in weight, he took the fight to Matthysse who looked to utilise his jab. A crunching right from Molina in the opener gave fans a taster for what was to come. Molina was winning the battle of the punchers early, but he was not swarming Matthysse as the eventual winner would later in the contest. Matthysse was sent crashing to the canvas in the 2nd, never hurt, but it was a sign that Molina was in with a huge chance of victory.
Molina continued to pound Matthysse with the right hand, and he found another knockdown in the 5th, this time the punch landing to the back of the head, but the 8 count was issued anyway.
Both fighters were bleeding from a head clash in the 3rd, only adding to the gladiator feel about the fight.
Molina’s extraordinary bravery was tested as the fight wore on, Matthysse began to pile on the pressure in the 6th. Molina was still highly competitive as both traded blows, sending the fans to their feet for much of the contest.
In the 7th and 8th rounds, Matthysse was all over Molina, who was unfortunate himself to receive a count in the 8th when it seemed that Matthysse pushed him to the ground.
In the 9th and 10th rounds, Matthysse was in full destroy mode, but he still could not finish off an unbreakable Molina. Molina sank to the canvas again in the 10th, this time a legit knockdown.
The ending that came in the 11th was inevitable as Matthysse amazingly never tired, coming out with even more intensity to send Molina crashing to the canvas. This time no count was issued as the referee waved the fight off immediately.
With the incredible victory Matthysse 35-3(33) keeps his reputation as an unbelievable puncher, while Molina 27-4(22) left the ring with the admiration of the whole boxing world.
Figueroa vs Belmontes
Jerry Belmontes had the beating of Omar Figueroa in the amateurs and he felt very unfortunate to not get the beating of the WBO Lightweight champion in the opening bout of this Showtime Tripleheader.
Figueroa held onto his unbeaten record with a split decision victory in a highly competitive and often tough to score contest. Figueroa remained aggressive throughout while Belmontes looked to box on the outside after brawling on the inside early in the fight, but amazingly got the better of the attack-minded Figueroa.
To be fair to Belmontes his tactics early were evolving around smothering Figueroa’s work and not letting him get full leverage behind his shots, but the pace was extremely high and Figueroa was beginning to get through too much in the 3rd and 4th rounds.
Belmontes then looked to use the ring, forcing Figueroa to become frustrated while having to chase the fight. Close rounds – of which there were many – looked to go towards Figueroa for his higher work rate, Belmontes boxed well but his tempo often dropped off the scale.
Still the fight could have gone either way, but two judges favoured the aggression of Figueroa. The official scores were 115-113 (Belmontes) and 116-112, 118-110 (Figueroa). The 118-110 scorecard to the now 23-0-1(17) Figueroa was far from revealing the true events in the ring. Belmontes can come again at this level as he drops to 19-4(5).
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