LOS ANGELES-Former world champion Julio Diaz of Coachella wanted to rinse the bad taste of losing with a victory and quenched his thirst for redemption with a knockout win over formerly undefeated David Torres on Wednesday.
Now it’s on to bigger things.
Before an A-list crowd at the glitzy Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Diaz proved he belongs on the A-list of prizefighters with a dominating performance over Washington’s Torres (20-1, 13 KOs). He wants another crack at the elite.
“He was a tough fighter, he took a lot of punches,” Diaz (35-4, 26 KOs) said. “But I knew I could beat him when I first saw a video of his fights about a month ago.”
Diaz says it’s not cockiness that draws that statement, but a simple fact that in the boxing business experience and tactics win out over bullish fighters.
“I’ve fought some of the best in the world,” said Diaz. “I know if I don’t know who he is, then he couldn’t beat me.”
The first round saw the undefeated Torres, who had fought all of his pro fights in his home state, attempt to pressure and bull his way through the Coachella fighter’s defense. No chance.
Diaz, a former two-time world champion, moved out of range easily and countered from both the right-handed and southpaw stance. In the second round it was apparent that Diaz had figured out Torres' plan of attack and neutralized it with some stiff left hooks to the head and body.
The third round saw Diaz score a knockdown with a left uppercut and left hook that staggered Torres across the ring and to the ropes. Referee Tony Crebs ruled correctly that the ropes saved the Washington fighter from going completely down and ruled it a knockdown. After Torres beat the count, the bell rang saving Torres from further punishment.
The end was near if Diaz wanted it.
“I knew I could stop him, but I wanted the fight to go longer,” said Diaz, who lost his last fight against former world champion Juan Diaz by technical knockout. “After not boxing for so long I know I needed the work.”
Diaz picked his shots in the next two rounds and fired a left hook to the body that sent Torres to the floor. The referee ruled it a slip but stopped the fight to let ringside physician Dr. Paul Wallace look at Torres' swollen eyes, the doctor immediately advised to stop the fight at 1:25 of the fifth round.
“I wanted to prove to myself that I belong at a level higher,” said Diaz, who is now trained by his brother Joel Diaz. “We don’t call people out, we just hurt opponents.”
Diaz said he wants a rematch with Juan Diaz regardless if a title is at stake.
“I’m a fighter who wants to earn his way to a title shot,” said Diaz. “The Julio Diaz who lost to Juan Diaz is not the fighter you saw tonight. That’s the fighter Juan Diaz will see when we fight again.”
Maryland’s Henry Buchanan (17-1, 12 KOs) stopped Georgia’s Brian Norman (16-8) with a right uppercut and right cross combination at 1:02 of the ninth round of a super middleweight contest.
“I think I want to move down to the middleweight division,” said Buchanan. “These guys are too big for me.”
In a female bout, San Francisco’s Melissa McMorrow (1-0) defeated Mexico’s Mayla Perez (2-8-1) by unanimous decision in a mini-flyweight bout. McMorrow proved much busier and more accurate than her opponent in the four round bout. The judges scored it 39-37 twice and 40-36 for McMorrow.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV