PRIMM, NEVADA-Southern California’s Julio Diaz and Dominic Salcido both passed big tests at Buffalo Bills Resort and Casino on Friday and any talk about their careers being over has been put on serious hold.
Former lightweight world champion Diaz (37-6, 26 KOs) had former world title challenger Herman Ngoudjo (18-4, 10 KOs) to contend with at junior welterweight and proved to be ready for the task.
Ngoudjo’s strength proved a problem in the first round for Diaz who absorbed a few punches that seemed to be unexpected. Immediately Diaz attacked the body though he seemed to lose the first round.
Diaz went into boxing mode not trying to hurt Ngoudjo but hit him with short crisp punches. The tactic seemed to pay off for the next two rounds as Ngoudjo could not seem to find the target.
After a great sixth round that saw Diaz seemingly hurt Ngoudjo, the seventh and eight rounds saw the African fighter make adjustments and shut down Diaz’s body attack with right hand counters.
“I felt my punch was hurting him but he could take a punch. Usually that kind of punch would knock someone out but this guy was an exception,” said Diaz fighting at junior welterweight for the second time in his career. “His style was very complicated because of his elbows, head coming in and things like that.”
Ngoudjo seemed to regain control of his ground with a right hand counter as Diaz continued to work the body but took those rights.
The Coachella fighter made an adjustment in the ninth round by staying inside where he proved to be more adept at the inside game. Each exchange saw Diaz get the better when he fired punches slipped and blocked and fired more shots inside. The last two rounds saw Diaz work the inside more effectively and convince the judges he was the victor.
“I saw that everything was going around me when I was inside. With my brother’s permission we stayed inside,” said Diaz. “I felt like the stronger fighter.”
No knockdowns were scored after 10 rounds with judges Duane Ford and Patricia Jarman scoring 97-93 and Dave Moretti 99-91 for Diaz.
“Julio is a great boxer,” said Joel Diaz, the older brother who trains Julio. “But this kid (Ngoudjo) was tough. He was there to win.”
Rialto’s Dominic Salcido (18-2, 9 KOs) wasn’t given any favors in fighting New York’s undefeated southpaw Guillermo Sanchez (11-1-1, 5 KOs), but he showed he still has fight left in him in winning by unanimous decision against the dangerous lefthander.
“I didn’t have no tape on him. Nothing. I heard he comes out blasting but I didn’t see none of that,” said Salcido.
Sanchez arrived knowing he was the heavier puncher and able to withstand Salcido’s punching power, he just couldn’t deal with the Southern Californian’s quickness in the eight round junior lightweight match up.
Both fighters started cautiously though the New York fighter was known for his fast starts. Soon it was apparent that Salcido’s ability to punch and jump out of danger would be a problem. Time after time Sanchez mugged in front of Salcido and paid the price for it with quick strikes to the chin. Pretty soon the Puerto Rican fighter began looking for one shot rather than putting the pressure.
“I knew I had to come out and prove what I could do. He was an undefeated fighter,” said Salcido. “I didn’t want to do nothing stupid like fight with my hand down and get caught.”
Sanchez best round was in the fourth when he landed several left hands that seemed to shake up Salcido. But he never could land that killer blow.
All three judges scored it for Salcido 77-75 twice and 78-74.
“A lot of people were saying I had a glass jaw. But I proved I can go eight rounds against an undefeated fighter,” said Salcido. “I kept it straight.”
Glendale, California’s Arman Sargsyan floored Leo Martinez in the sixth round in routing the Chicago fighter in a lightweight contest. Behind a stiff jab Sargsyan was dominant over eight rounds in winning by unanimous decision.
Julio Luna and Freddie Cisneros fought to a no decision due to a bad cut over the latter fighter’s right eye in the third round. Referee Tony Weeks topped the fight on advice from the ringside physician at 52 seconds of the third round.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV