by David P. Greisman, live at ringside
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — - Though the fight ended with the scorecards giving Juan Diaz a wide victory over Gerardo Robles, the judges’ verdict didn’t tell the whole story.
Diaz left with a unanimous decision, with one judge seeing the bout 100-90 and two judges seeing it 99-91, but Diaz had to work hard for the win.
Diaz had known ahead of time that it wouldn’t be easy.
“He’s a deceiving fighter, because his record doesn’t do justice as to how he can fight and how hard he can punch,” Diaz told BoxingScene.com in January. “He’s one of those guys that if you’re not careful, then you’ll be in a tough, tough fight. I know that he comes forward and he throws a lot of punches.”
Robles came out in the opening round with a good strategy, throwing a couple of shots and then moving back out of range or to Diaz’s side. It would be the only round that Robles won on the night, and one judge — the infamous Gale Van Hoy, who was criticized for turning in a 118-110 scorecard in Diaz’s first fight against Paulie Malignaggi didn't even give Robles a single round.
Diaz got the message and came out aggressively in the second. Robles stood up to the onslaught, though, and before the end of the round it was him coming forward against Diaz.
Robles began to fade in the middle rounds, and Diaz started to pound away on him in the corner in the seventh round. Again, though, Robles remained upright, Diaz took a break, and toward the end of the round, Diaz got caught with a left hook and a right hand behind the ear. He went to the canvas, but referee Jon Schorle ruled a slip.
Toward the end of the 10th and final round, Diaz landed several flush left hooks. The final bell rang, and Diaz left with the fourth win of his comeback.
The 30-year-old former lightweight titleholder from Houston spent two and a half years out of the ring following his rematch loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in July 2010, returning with three bouts last year, wins over Gerardo Cuevas, Adailton De Jesus and Juan Santiago.
Diaz is now 39-4 with 19 KOs. Robles is 16-13 (7 KOs), with two of those losses coming against familiar names in Rances Barthelemy and Diego Magdaleno.
Featherweight/junior lightweight prospect Oscar Valdez moved to 9-0 with 9 knockouts after scoring a third-round technical knockout of Samuel Sanchez, a stoppage the left some fans in the arena jeering. Sanchez fell to 6-5-1 (1 KO).
Ivan Najera and Angel Hernandez traded knockdowns in the opening two rounds, and the lightweights then continued to trade flush shots for the remainder of the bout, which Najera won by eight-round unanimous decision.
The scorecards were 78-72 and 77-73 (twice).
Najera knocked Hernandez down in the first, when Hernandez threw a right uppercut and was following with a left hook. Najera landed a counter left hook first, though, putting Hernandez on the canvas. Hernandez rose, got hurt with a body shot, and was able to survive the onslaught until the bell rang.
Najera and Hernandez swapped leather in the second, and toward the end of the round, Najera had his own trip to the mat courtesy of a Hernandez right hand.
The rest of the fight was a typical Najera outing, according to press row neighbor Bart Barry of 15Rounds.com and The Ring magazine. Najera was unable to put Hernandez away, and Hernandez was unwilling to go down easy — or without a fight.
Najera, a 21-year-old from San Antonio, is now 13-0 with 8 KOs. Hernandez, 22, of McAllen, Texas, is now 8-2 (4 KOs).
Jose Zepeda didn’t face much resistant from Johnnie Edwards, who not only has faded but was also, at 146.5 pounds, far above his best weight. And whatever resistance Edwards did have was quickly taken away from him once Zepeda began to dig into his body.
Zepeda, 142.5 pounds, dedicated an attack there from the outset, following up on occasion to the head. In the second round, Zepeda once again went to the body, and the referee soon felt he had seen enough.
Zepeda, 24, of La Puenta, Calif., improves to 18-0 (16 KOs). Edwards, who was blown out by Yuriorkis Gamboa at junior lightweight in 2008, defeated Freddie Norwood later that year, and lost a decision to Jason Litzau in 2009, falls to 15-7-1 (8 KOs). This was only Edwards’ second fight since 2009; he had returned in December 2012 for a stoppage loss to Gabriel Bracero, and then hadn’t fought again since then.
Welterweight prospect Alex Saucedo was tested at times in his bout with Gilberto Venegas but was able to pass this test with a six-round unanimous decision victory.
The scores were 60-54 (twice) and 59-55.
Saucedo, 19, of Oklahoma City, is now 13-0 with 9 KOs. Venegas, 36, of East Moline, Ill., is now 12-13-4 with 8 KOs and 1 no contest.
In the show’s opener, Jerren Cochran scored a unanimous decision over Adauto Gonzalez in a six-round bout contested between the featherweight and junior lightweight limits.
The scores were 60-53 and 59-54 (twice). Cochran scored a knockdown in the final minute of the third round.
Cochran, a 23-year-old from Houston who came in at 126.75 pounds, improves to 11-0 (4 KOs). Gonzalez, a 35-year-old from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, who came in at 128 pounds, falls to 10-10 (3 KOs).
(All records according to BoxRec.com)
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]