By Ryan Maquiñana
The new-look Diego Magdaleno (21-0, 7 KOs) continued his winning ways tonight at the Mandalay Bay in his hometown of Las Vegas with a one-sided unanimous decision over former world title challenger Emmanuel Lucero (26-8-1, 14 KOs) in the third defense of his NABF junior lightweight title.
After the victory, Magdaleno and his trainer/manager Pat Barry spoke to BoxingScene about the triumphant finish to the year and what the future might hold.
MAGDALENO ON THE EARLY MOMENTS OF THE FIGHT, WHERE HE THREW UNCHARACTERISTICALLY WIDE SHOTS AND TRADED AGGRESSIVELY:
“I wanted to come in with a good head start, and around the third, I felt a little more comfortable. I settled down and was able to sit down on my punches.”
MAGDALENO ON KNOCKING LUCERO DOWN IN THE SEVENTH ROUND:
“I caught him with a good shot, and I wanted to jump on him right after, and I felt like the referee saved him a little bit, because he was hurt on his feet. The only thing I was cautious of was the way he was coming in with his head. The way righties and lefties collide, I wanted to be aware of that and keep my distance to avoid a cut.”
MAGDALENO ON EXPLOITING A CUT HE OPENED ON LUCERO’S NOSE WITH A STRAIGHT LEFT CROSS:
“I was using it as a target after that. The straight left cut his nose right through. He’s a little awkward, and I was trying to stay disciplined on my game.”
MAGDALENO ON WHETHER HE WAS DISAPPOINTED HE WAS UNABLE TO STOP LUCERO:
“No, I stayed true to my game. I did catch him with a couple shots, and I did try to take him out, but every time I tried to come in, he would clinch and hold on.”
MAGDALENO ON LUCERO’S NEED FOR A KNOCKOUT LATE IN THE FIGHT TO WIN:
“That’s why he kept signaling me to come fight him. That’s what he wanted because he was fighting out of desperation.”
MAGDALENO ON WHAT HE WOULD LIKE TO DO NEXT:
“I have a fight lined up early next year, but whatever if it is, if it’s a title shot or not, I’ll be ready.”
BARRY ON TONIGHT’S PERFORMANCE AGAINST LUCERO:
“I knew Lucero’s a hard tough kid, and I didn’t want to frustrate Diego by putting pressure on him to knock him out. His workrate and quality of punches were at a really high level, and I wanted him to keep doing what he was doing. I was very satisfied with his performance.”
BARRY ON THE INCREASE IN AGGRESSION MAGDALENO HAS DISPLAYED OVER THE PAST YEAR:
“That’s something we have been working on. It took a little while to get him out of the amateur mentality of picking his shots for effective, harder shots. Sometimes you have to take fights out of the judges’ hands, but tonight, I was satisfied with him the way he utilized all his tools. He’s a workhorse, and he showed he could keep it up over 10 rounds. Lucero was a tough kid to stay up the whole fight.”
BARRY ON STEPPING UP THE COMPETITION NEXT YEAR:
“Top Rank is doing a great job promoting him. I do have a say as well in terms of what’s going on, but I think he’s ready for a title shot, and we’ll talk about it for next year. Adrien Broner has a title shot next week, and whenever they line us with up with guys like that out there, we’re ready. Diego’s been winning every second of every round, and I don’t think there’s a 130-pounder around that could beat him. I don’t.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his blog at www.maqdown.com or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.