By Jake Donovan
Unbeaten Carlos Diaz was a late replacement to accept assignment versus Miguel Beltran Jr., but had no problem solving the style of the former 130 lb. title challenger. The unbeaten prospect made a huge splash, scoring a shocking 6th round knockout Saturday evening in Tijuana, Mexico.
Beltran Jr. has fought just once since coming up short in his Sept. '12 vacant title fight loss to Roman 'Rocky' Martinez. The bout gained plenty of attention, serving in supporting capacity to Sergio Martinez' off-the-canvas points win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a hugely successful event in Las Vegas.
A 14-month period of inactivity followed before Beltran Jr. returned to the ring last November. It appeared as if the Mexican banger was ready to make another run in the 130 lb. division.
His latest challenger had other ideas.
Ironically, Diaz wasn't even the first choice of opponent. The card was billed as a Mexico vs. Puerto Rico-themed event, perhaps to steal some thunder from a similar promotion across the dial on Televisa, where Adrian Hernandez was spotted flattening Puerto Rico's Janiel Rivera in three rounds.
Zanfer Box had a program filled with matchups between Mexico and Puerto Rico, including the main event and co-feature. Beltran Jr. was suppposed to face former lightweight title challenger Jose 'Chelo' Gonzalez in the UniMas-televised main event, while Raul Hirales was slated to take on Jonathan Oquendo in the evening's chief support, to air on TV Azteca.
Both bouts reportedly fell through earlier in the week, with the opponents suddenly changed without explanation. The unofficial word is that Zanfer never actually struck a deal with Puerto Rico Best Boxing Promotions (PRBBP), the promotional outfit who represents Gonzalez and Oquendo.
In came late subs Diaz and Fernando Vargas, the latter suffering an eighth round stoppage at the hands of Hirales.
Diaz saw his risk reap far greater rewards, looking every bit like an unbeaten prospect on the rise. The 19-year old jumped out to an early lead, never allowing Beltran Jr. to settle into a groove although the tide briefly turned in round three.
The sequence was the closest the fight came to being competitive. Diaz reached a point in the fight where it was evident Beltran Jr's time as a super featherweight contender was coming to an end. That moment was confirmed early in round six, when an uppercut left him flat on his back as the referee was forced to stop the contest.
The official time was 0:59 of round six.
Diaz, who just turned 19 last Christmas Eve, cruises to 13-0 (10KO), picking up by far the biggest win of his young career. Beltran Jr. suffers his second loss in the span of three fights, falling to 28-3 (18KO).
In the co-feature, Raul Hirales managed to put behind him the grim details of the in-ring death of Francisco Leal from last October, returning to stop Fernando Vargas in eight rounds.
The supporting bout headlined a separate telecast, which aired live on TV Azteca. A full recap of that portion of the show can be found here.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox