By Jake Donovan
Super bantamweight prospect Joseph 'Jo Jo' Diaz remains unbeaten as Roberto Castaneda was forced to quit in his corner after four rounds in their headlining bout Thursday evening at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
Both fighters welcomed the challenge going in. Diaz was in need of a step up in class to confirm his credentials as a promising young talent. Castaneda needed a notable fight to help rinse out the bad taste left behind from his controversial loss to Jose Lopez in August, a bout that prompted a still-ongoing investigation of the Puerto Rico boxing commission.
In the end, everything played out as expected on paper. Diaz continues to flourish as a pro as he approaches his 22nd birthday later this month. The 2012 U.S. Olympian has enjoyed a nice run in his past three fights, with Thursday's bout his most complete showing to date.
If there was downside, it's that the young southpaw didn't get a chance to truly close the show. Castaneda was rocked several times over the course of the night, with Diaz picking up the action as early as round two. The threat of a knockout began to surface in the fourth round, with Diaz in complete control on the offensive front.
Whether or not Castaneda stood any chance of turning things around became moot once he was declared unable to come out for round five. The corner reported a broken hand as the reason for his inability to continue, thus leaving Diaz to settle for a technical knockout.
The official time was 3:00 of round four.
Diaz improves to 13-0 (9KOs). The win was his fifth of 2014, with his past three contests all airing live on Fox Sports 1's 'Golden Boy Live' series.
Castaneda falls to 21-8-1 (15KOs), having now lost seven of his last eight, and with all eight career losses coming within his last 11 fights. The best shot at a career turnaround for the 23-year old Mexicali boxer was in his August war with Lopez, a bout that featured seven official knockdowns and the suggestion of ringside corruption.
While that investigation continues in the Puerto Rico courts, Castaneda's career appears to have hit a wall.
As for Diaz, the future looks bright. There stands an outside chance that he squeezes in one more fight in 2014 - Golden Boy Promotions has at least three more shows on the books for December, with possibly of more Golden Boy Live cards added to the schedule before the end of the year.
Otherwise, look for 2015 to serve as a breakout campaign for Diaz, as his handlers begin the transition from prospect to contender.
Jesus Delgado (3-0-1, 1KO) scored a four-round shutout over Rick Quevedo (1-2, 0KOs) in a super featherweight swing bout. Scores were 40-36 across the board for Delgado, who turned pro earlier this year. Three of his four pro bouts have taken place at Fantasy Springs Casino.
Julian Ramirez scored his second straight stoppage, forcing Pedro Melo to quit on his stool after four rounds.
An accidental headbutt left Melo (9-7-2, 2KOs) with a cut over his left eye, though seemingly not too severe to prompt a stoppage. The visiting Tijuana boxer appeared to be running on fumes by round's end, which was the likely reason his corner elected to not let him go out for round five.
The official time was 3:00 of round four.
Ramirez advances to 13-0 (8KOs). The 21-year old Los Angelino is the nephew of the late Genaro Hernandez.
Super bantamweight prospect Diego “The Golden Kid” De La Hoya (8-0, 6 KOs) stopped Ali Gonzalez (6-4, 1 KO) inside of five rounds.
de la Hoya - whose cousin is Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya - continues to grow before the fans eyes on 'Golden Boy Live.' His pro debut took place last September and has been a fixture on the series ever since.
In his most recent showing, the 20-year old prospect looked at home, picking apart Gonzalez in scoring two knockdowns en route to the stoppage. The first came in round two, when Gonzalez was knocked off balance, causing his glove to touch the canvas.
de la Hoya picked up the pace in round five, putting away Gonzalez for good. The official time was 1:40 of round five.
The win is de la Hoya's sixth of 2014, improving overall to 8-0 (6KOs).
Chinese heavyweight Taishan Dong (2-0, 2 KOs), standing at nearly 7' tall, crushed Tommy Washington (3-7, 2 KOs) in the opening bout of the telecast.
Washington outweighed Dong by five pounds despite standing a full foot shorter. The difference in physique was as pronounced as the difference in class. Dong barely broke a sweat in the fight, putting in an easy night's work as a right hand put Washington away at 2:35 of round one.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America . Twitter: @JakeNDaBox