Probably the best of the lightweight prizefighters, Julio “The Kidd” Diaz holds the IBF lightweight world title and a few days ago got a glimpse of his next opponent Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell.
“He’s not the person I want to fight next but if I have to I will,” said Diaz of Campbell.
Campbell decidedly defeated Ricky Quiles in an elimination bout to determine who would fight Diaz for the lightweight title. Though it lasted 12 rounds, the outcome was never in doubt.
In the 12-round fight held at Tampa, Florida, Campbell battered Quiles almost every round and seemed to hurt the valiant lightweight contender repeatedly. Some felt the referee should have stopped the fight a few rounds earlier.
“I really like Ricky Quiles. I’ve known him for years,” said Campbell who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. “Can you imagine if I didn’t like him?”
Both Diaz and Campbell were forced to jump through hoops during the past year. In 2006 Diaz faced Quiles and won by unanimous decision. Campbell decisively beat Matt Hegan and Quiles to gain a position at the top of the lightweight pile.
Diaz was not fully impressed.
“I wish Ricky Quiles would have fought me the way he fought Campbell,” said Diaz, adding that Quiles moved and provided as little a target as possible. Against Campbell last Friday, Quiles mostly traded punches in close proximity. “I would have loved to fight that Quiles.”
The lightweight division has recently experienced an exodus of its marquee fighters such as Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo and Joel Casamayor. But there’s one fighter who Diaz wants more than anyone else.
“I want Juan Diaz,” said Diaz, who after capturing the world title from Jesus Chavez asked Juan Diaz’s promoter Don King for a match. “There are too many Diazs for my taste in this division.”
Lee Espinosa, who trains and manages Julio, said they sought a fight with WBA lightweight titleholder Juan Diaz because of one sole reason: “There’s more money in that fight than with Campbell,” he said.
Campbell knows nothing is certain when it comes to a world title fight.
“They keep me tied up with paperwork,” Campbell said of the various sanctioning organizations. “I’ll fight anybody without thinking about it.”
The Florida fighter, who briefly lived in California, knows all about Diaz and relishes a meeting with the IBF titleholder.
“If Jose Luis Castillo could hit him, imagine what I can do to him,” Campbell said about Diaz. “I can fight the Julio Diaz boxer-puncher style.”
A fight between Diaz and Campbell almost took place in October 2005. But Diaz was replaced by Kid Diamond. Many felt Diamond would buzz saw by Campbell. Instead, it was the Galaxxy Warrior who did the cutting.
“I can stop anybody,” Campbell insists.
Diaz knows all about Campbell.
“He’s not the guy I want to fight but if I have to go through him I will,” promises Diaz.
Campbell still seems energized by his dominating win.
“I know Julio Diaz doesn’t want to fight me, but I don’t care,” said Campbell. “Tell Julio I’m coming.”
Victor Burgos in induced coma
After the IBF flyweight titlefight against Vic Darchinyan on Saturday, Mexico’s Victor Burgos was taken to the hospital for observation it was reported. One of the publicists said that paramedics said Burgos was doing fine.
That report was mistaken.
Burgos underwent brain surgery to remove a clot and reduce swelling to his head at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on Saturday. He is currently in an induced coma, a common technique used after head trauma to held further swelling.
On Monday, it was reported that Burgos was still in critical condition.
Fight of the year
Though it only lasted seven rounds the battle between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez for the WBC junior featherweight title was riveting.
“That was a classic fight between two elite fighters that you don’t often see,” said Doug Fischer, editor for Maxboxing.com. “It was intense.”
From the opening bell the two Mexico City prizefighters attacked with precision and firepower that had the 5,000 fans shouting at the top of their vocal chords.
“Marquez! Marquez” was heard from the crowd as well as “Vazquez! Vazquez!”
The speed and tactics displayed by both fighters resembled a kind of power ballet with dynamite.
Marquez’s left jab allowed him to jump ahead immediately and probably caused the fracture of Vazquez nose in the opening round.
“It bothered me a lot,” said Vazquez after the fight. “I couldn’t breathe at all.”
Three-punch combinations by Marquez in the second round kept Vazquez from attacking. In one instance Vazquez landed a powerful left hook and kind of admired his work. Within a micro-second Marquez had retaliated with a snapping right hand counter that thundered off his jaw.
When it looked like Marquez was going to steamroll through Vazquez, he found himself on the floor looking up in astonishment after a right hand-left uppercut caught him on the chin.
“I’ve never been down before,” Marquez said.
After regaining his senses, Marquez returned to the jab. But in rounds six and seven Vazquez began battering his body and slowly the tide turned again. A big right hand punctuated the end of the seventh round for Vazquez who was defending his world title for the sixth time.
Then referee Raul Caiz Jr. waved the fight over as the crowd seemingly all jumped up in shock. Vazquez seemed to be regaining control but no one knew his predicament from the nose injury.
“There’s going to be a rematch,” said Gary Shaw, who promoted the event.
Even without a rematch the fight is a candidate for Fight of the Year.
Frank Espinosa who manages Vazquez said the tide was turning in the last two rounds but his fighter was unable to breathe.
“Israel was doing a great job the last two rounds,” said Espinosa. “I’m glad the people were excited about the fight. We can do it again and maybe two more times.”
Former Vazquez trainer dies
Manuel “Chato” Robles, 55, died on Saturday following a bout with pneumonia.
Robles formerly trained Israel Vazquez and trained Martin “El Gallo” Castillo among many other elite fighters in his career.
“The fight had just ended on Saturday when I got the phone call that Chato had died,” said Frank Espinosa, who hired Robles to train his various fights including Manuel Roman. “It was very sad to hear.”
Robles mostly trained fighters at Azteca Gym in Bell and also frequented Maywood Boxing Club in the last few years.
“Most people associate Chato with Azteca,” said Espinosa who met Robles more than 15 years ago. “He was a great trainer.”
Fights on television
Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (29-0-1) vs. Louis Brown (14-2).
Sat. HBO, 1:45 p.m., Wladimir Klitschko (47-3) vs. Ray Austin (24-3-4).
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV