Diego Pacheco won a unanimous decision over Shawn McCalman in a 10-round super middleweight clash Saturday at the Fontainebleau in Las Vegas.

Judges turned in scorecards of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 in favor of Pacheco. The fight served as the co-main to the Richardson Hitchins-Gustavo Lemos main event of a DAZN-streamed card.

Pacheco (21-0, 17 KOs), a 23-year-old born in Los Angeles, came into the fight having stopped his last nine opponents. McCalman (15-1, 7 KOs) was intent on ending that streak, and had the tactics to match.

McCalman set out to minimize the midrange fighting that would suit Pacheco’s power punching. He utilized his 82-inch reach to keep Pacheco at distance with the jab early, then roughed his opponent up on the inside when the gap closed. Early on, McCalman, 30, appeared to have effectively nullified Pacheco’s offense.

McCalman landed a hard left hand in Round 2 that emphatically snapped Pacheco’s head back, even suggesting that he could hurt his powerful opponent.

Crucially, Pacheco showed a willingness to adjust, accepting that he wouldn’t be able to land a right-hand sledgehammer from midrange and pivoting to throwing shorter punches on the inside. 

At his best, McCalman completely shut down Pacheco’s power – with the punch-snuffing wiles and machinations that would have brought a smile to Andre Ward’s face. At his worst, the previously undefeated Denver-born fighter clinched too often and attacked too rarely, failing to give judges enough reason to give him rounds.

Slowly, Pacheco managed to begin landing enough big shots that McCalman abandoned his jab and clinched with increasing frequency.

Pacheco’s inside fighting, while rarely apparent early, shone in the late rounds. His willingness to scrap at close range with McCalman changed the fight, because for each clinch, McCalman had to face Pacheco’s combination punching at close range.

While McCalman was never in serious danger of being stopped or even dropped, Pacheco’s right hands landed more and more cleanly leading up to the fight’s end.

It was never easy, but Pacheco likely swept the second half of the fight after a difficult opening stretch. Speaking to DAZN’s Chris Mannix in the ring after the fight, Pacheco said he wanted a top-10 ranked opponent next, though he did not specify a name.