By Paul Gallegos at ringside
(Paul & Ron Gallegos' huge photo gallery of last night's event will go up later today.)
It only took Sixty-six seconds for Julio “The Kidd” Diaz (31-3, 23 KOs) to put himself back in the lightweight mix on last night's ESPN2 Tuesday Night Fights. Diaz scored a first round destruction of Marco Angel Perez (21-7, 14 KOs) at the Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, California.
Diaz probably worked harder in the dressing room putting on his trunks rather than the work he did in the ring.
After being caught with a glancing right hand in the opening moments of the contest, Diaz rolled with the punch and adjusted well.
“This is what we planned to do,” said Diaz. “In fact, we were really anticipating just this type of stoppage. We couldn’t have planned it any better.”
The first overhand right may have glanced off the side of Diaz’s face, but he wouldn’t be caught again on this night.
As Perez attempted to throw the same punch, Diaz ducked and moved easily out of range. Diaz countered with a soft set up jab and then unloaded a right uppercut that caused Perez to do an aerobic style deep knee bend and taste the fabric of the canvass.
“I wanted to show to everybody that this is where I belong,” said a very calm Diaz after the fight. “Just because I lost in my previous fight doesn’t make me any worse of a fighter.”
Referee Tony Crebs reached the count of ten and called a halt to the action as Perez gamely tried to regain his equilibrium.
“This is how I wanted the fight to end,” said Diaz. “I wanted to make a statement tonight and more importantly I wanted to hold my head up again. After the loss, (to Jose Luis Castillo) I felt bad.
I needed this kind of a win to gain my confidence again.”
Last March in Las Vegas, Diaz, the former IBF Lightweight Champion of the world, gave up his title in order to face one of the division’s toughest men, Jose Luis Castillo. Diaz showed plenty of heart, but was eventually stopped in ten rounds by the stronger Castillo.
“That wasn’t the kind of fight I should have fought,” said Diaz. “I was always anxious to give a good show and I made a lot of mistakes in that fight which have actually benefited me. I learned so much in that loss that I am now a better fighter. I shouldn’t have chased Castillo. I should have acted like the veteran which I am and picked my spots. I need to settle down, but I was really anxious and it was my first really big show in Vegas. Coming off a ten-month layoff, I just wanted to get out there, but I got beat.”
So where does this leave Diaz? “Obviously, I am good to go tomorrow, but it is up to my promoters as to who I fight next,” said Diaz. “I would love to get another title shot against any of the top guys, but I really wanted to stay busy and never have another layoff like I had before.”
In the co-main event, prospect Delvin Rodriguez hit the canvas early via a crisp left hook in the first round against Christopher “Shaka” Henry of Barbados, but recovered to give the crowd two wild rounds of action in their scheduled 10-round fight in the welterweight division.
Rodriguez was about half a stagger from being stopped as referee Pat Russell had a long look at Rodriguez before allowing the action to continue. Somewhere the seconds between Russell allowing the action continue and Henry charging, Rodriguez shook the cobwebs and decked Henry with a left hook of his own. Henry would feel the canvas two more times in the round before the bell sounded.
The minute respite in between rounds allowed Rodriguez to regain composure as he went to war andd dropped Henry two more time for a total of five times in the fight. The final knockdown prompted referee Russell to call the fight at :44 of the second.
“He hit me with a good shot, but I knew that I had to go to war after it,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez of Danbury, CO improved to 15-1 with 8 KOs, while Henry fell to 19-11, with 14 KOs.
In other action, Denver’s Larry Gonzalez (8-0, 2 KOs) took three rounds to start, but eventually won a unanimous decision over journeyman Carlos Cisneros of Los Angeles, CA in their six-round lightweight affair. Cisneros added another loss to his list as he now stands at 6-11-1 with 4 KOs.
Finally, in the super middle weight division, Curtis Jones and Moses Motovu pounded on each other for four rounds and came up with a draw. Jones of New York had the first slight blemish of his young career at 1-0-1 while Motovu had the draw bug bite him once again as his record now stands at 2-5-3.