Keith Thurman looked like he was having fun, on his way maybe to an early stoppage. Then Julio Diaz got cooking some..but the plug got pulled after three rounds, because Diaz told his corner his ribs were hurting too much in the main event on Saturday night, at the StubHub Center, and on Showtime.
The end came after three rounds complete.
The WBA interim welterweight champ Thurman (age 25; from Florida, 22-0 1 ND entering) was 145 1/2 to the 146 3/4 for Diaz (age 34; born in Mexico, lives in CA; 40-9-1 entering; two-time lightweight champ).
Thurman afterwards thanked the usual suspects. He told Jim Gray that Diaz is a "tough dog" and a "true warrior" but his rib wouldn't let him continue. The victor said the left hook to the temple won him a knockdown, and he praised Diaz when he took a knee. Thurman was asked about entering the Mayweather Sweepstakes. He said all welters want that, and he'd love it. He said he craves KOs all the time, and would love to fight Shawn Porter.
Diaz after said he was having trouble breathing, from a body shot. "I'm human, I got hurt today, the guy got some power," he said. He sounded like he was veering toward saying he was going to retire, mentioning a couple times that he's been fighting for 25 years, but Gray didn't follow up on it.
In the first, Thurman sought to land a lead left hook. A left uppercut worked and then Thurman swarmed the vet. Thurman did some lovely work backing up to end the round. In the second, a left hook to Diaz' body scored clearly. Thurman hunted patiently, no wasted motion, no restless energy dispelled as he looked for his spots. A left uppercut had the crowd in awe at Thurman. Diaz took a knee as he ate a left hook coming in. It was a delayed reaction to a blow high on the head.
In the third, Thurman was master of his domain. His left hook was deadly. Diaz picked it up, after hearing from bother Joel in the corner. A right hand stopped Diaz, but only for a moment. A left hook stunned Thurman, but he collected his senses, and got back to working to finish the round. A cut, on the right eye formed, and a rib injury forced a stoppage, because Diaz' corner pulled the plug. The ref, Jack Reiss, told Jim Gray after that he heard a heated exchange in the corner, and then the trainer told him his bro was done.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV