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David Diaz Hits Chicago Tonight

BY Jesse K. Cox ON March 16, 2006
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There wasn’t much celebration for lightweight David Diaz after the first professional title shot of his career in December.

Sure, it was a good fight against undefeated Ramazan Palyani. Diaz (29-1-1) felt he won the fight, but the judges just couldn’t decide whether to award the International Boxing Association championship to the Chicago native Diaz or the Georgian national Palyani.

“It was disappointing,” said Diaz, who drove almost six hours from Chicago to Grand Victoria Casino in southern Indiana to face Palyani. “I thought that it definitely should have gone the other way. Judges see something that everybody else didn’t see and that’s just the way it is.

“I can’t complain. Sometimes you get a freebie, sometimes you don’t. You take it and you move on and hope for the best next time.”

A rematch isn’t in his immediate plans, but complaints will be few for Diaz, a 1996 U.S. Olympian, tonight as he only needs to drive a matter of minutes instead of hours to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago to face crafty Mexican Silverio Ortiz (16-8) in the “Madness in March” card, which begins at 7 p.m.

“How can I explain it? It’s just an awesome feeling to fight in your hometown,” Diaz said. “Chicago fans have really picked me up. I feel blessed to be fighting again at the Aragon.”

Ortiz is making a longer haul than Diaz ever had to worry about in December. The Chicxulub Pueblo, Mexico, 23-year-old is coming off a rough three-year run in which he’s won only two of his nine contests. To his credit, he outfoxed 20-1-1 Daniel Seda in August for a unanimous decision. Unfortunately for Ortiz, he followed it up with an eight-round UD to Wes Ferguson in November.

Ninth-ranked IBA contender Diaz is still hesitant to look past Ortiz for another title shot just yet.

“He’s a pretty crafty guy,” Diaz said last week. “I got a tape a couple days ago. He’s pretty fast, gets his shots pretty well. He’ll get into an exchange here and there. He’s a nice little boxer."

Fighting Palyani to a draw did give Diaz something to concentrate on other than being frustrated.

“I feel what I did was right, just (needed to add) a little more pressure,” Diaz said. “I did too much waiting. I think I should have been on the offensive and I usually am.”

Diaz also said he “saw more of the fight than I usually do,” which could make the difference against the speedy Ortiz tonight. But that’s all Diaz took away from facing Palyani, since no video cameras were allowed at the fight. Whatever the lessons learned or missed, Ortiz could have another chance for only his second 12-round payday soon if Ortiz doesn’t knock him off the path.

“Right now, we’re just taking one fight at a time,” Diaz said. “Our concentration is on Ortiz. He’s going to be a difficult fighter to attack.”

Undefeated light heavyweight “Irish” Mike Nevitt (11-0) will face Jesse Sanders (14-4-2) in a special six-round attraction. Tavoris Cloud (9-0) and Anthony Dennis (6-1) are set for the other eight-round light heavyweight bout. Welterweights Gilbert Venegas (9-1-2) and Frances Rincon are scheduled for eight rounds along with junior welterweights Jose Manuel Ortega (5-1) and Gonzalo Bonilla (6-6) in a six round bout. Barbaro Zepeda and Miguel Angel Figueroa will square off in a six-round featherweight match, which will lead in another pair of featherweights Wilton Hilario (1-0) and Jeremy Martz (3-1) in a four-rounder.

Undefeated Rita Figueroa (6-0) will be featured in the only women’s contest of the evening, facing Eva Lidia Silva (4-4) in a six rounder.

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