Diaz can cut it, wins by KO
STATELINE – After an upset loss in his previous bout, a little more adversity was just what welterweight Oscar Diaz needed.
The once-beaten Diaz of San Antonio spilled blood early in the first round when Juan Amezcua opened a gash over his left eye.
Sensing the bout could be eventually stopped by the referee, Diaz became more aggressive and dropped Amezcua twice- the second ending the bout 67 seconds into the second round.
“It woke me up. I wasn’t myself in the first round,” Diaz said. “I was throwing one punch and throwing my hand down.
“I was waiting for him to come in, but I didn’t want him to push me around. The first round I was a little more hesitant because of the last fights I’ve been fighting. I just came back to the way I used to be – stronger and a crowd pleaser.”
Amezcua, fighting for only the second time in five years, got up to one knee on the second knockdown but didn’t have the strength to get back to his feet.
“My legs felt so tired. The altitude was getting to me,” Amezcua said through trainer and interpreter Al Godinez.
Diaz’s visits to Stateline have been a bloody mess. An accidental headbutt produced a cut over the same eye in a 2001 bout with Pedro Garcia, resulting in no contest.
“I guess it’s the style I have of coming forward and we both came forward,” Diaz said. “I dropped my hand when I should have kept it up.”
This time there was a difference of opinion on how the cut occurred.
Diaz claimed he was headbutted, while Amezcua insisted his right hand did the damage.
“I caught him with a short right hand,” said Amezcua (9-2).
“Either way, he got knocked out,” Diaz said.
Ebo Edler spoiled Diaz’s perfect pro record in March, winning a decision in Miami. Diaz got back to the tactics that made him an unbeaten pro.
“That last fight wasn’t me. I was mad and I was struggling making weight,” Diaz said. “My last five or six fights I haven’t been doing the body. I’ve been a headhunter,” Diaz said. “I was known for my body shot coming up and I was strong, and I haven’t been fighting like that. This fight I got back to it and I had to.”
Diaz (18-0-1, 11 knockouts) won’t pursue a rematch with Edler. Edler is reportedly dropping down to 135 pounds, while Diaz thinks his natural weight to fight is 147.
“I might as well be strong and fight who I can fight at my best potential,” Diaz said.
Amezcua’s handlers have had trouble finding opponents at lower weights and they felt stepping up in weight class figured heavily in the outcome. Diaz weighed more than 10 pounds than Amezcua for their 142-pound match.
“It was a good experience because Oscar is a good boxer, you know?” Amezcua said. “I’m forced to fighter a bigger person.”
The 800 or so in attendance didn’t get to see much of promising heavyweight Mike Marrone.
From the opening bell Marrone of Vero Beach, Fla., threw a barrage of combinations that ultimately dropped Mike Moncrief of Cleveland. Moncrief beat the 10 count and was disappointed when the bout was waved off at 23 seconds of the first round.
“It’s a very dangerous sport and you can’t let fights like that go,” Marrone said. “The referee saw that he wasn’t slipping punches anymore and often the sign of when a fighter is getting ready to get out of there is when he’s no longer moving his head and slipping punches.”
Marrone connected on almost every punch he threw.
“You don’t look for a knockout, but once you get a guy stunned you try to pick up the pace and get him out of there,” Marrone said.
Afterward, veteran trainer Lou Duva brandished his T-shirt featuring late undefeated heavyweight Rocky Marciano to illustrate who his young fighter resembles.
“He goes out there and fights and if we would have had to pull him back to box, he would have boxed,” Duva said. “I wanted him to go out and show him who was boss early.
“We’re teaching him the basics right now, but we know if he stands there and you want to go toe to toe with him, he’s going to knock your head off.”
In other bouts, Larry Gonzales of Denver won a controversial split junior welterweight decision over Curtis Meeks of Austin, Texas, and T.J. Wilson of Miami punched a wobbly Jason Williams of Long Beach so hard into the ropes that a disoriented Williams couldn’t get out them and the bout was stopped at 2:29 of the first round.
In the co-main event, Joey Gilbert of Reno won a Nevada Civil War of sorts as he earned a unanimous decision against Farid Shahid of Las Vegas. Judges’ scores were 60-53, 60-53 and 59-54.
For the first time in his pro career Gilbert was forced to go the distance.
Gilbert (8-0, seven KOs) was on the cusp of ending the bout in the second round, but Shahid survived a knockdown. A left hook caught a retreating Shahid, sending him into the ropes and prompting a standing 8-count. Gilbert was so excited about the punch that he spent the break jumping up and down in his corner.
“I wasn’t really hurt. I was off balance,” Shahid said. “But he worked hard and he won the fight.”
Shahid (2-2), however, made good use of the standing eight count and was never in serious trouble the rest of the way in his first six-rounder.