By David P. Greisman, Francisco Salazar & Peter Lim
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas - Featherweight Joseph Diaz (16-0, 10 KOs) got a good workout, boxing, punching and occasionally slugging to a 10-round unanimous decision over Giovanni Delgado (15-3, 9 KOs).
Joseph Diaz took control of the action from the outset, stalking Delgado around the ring while firing crisp combinations. Delgado returned fire with gusto but Diaz, who was simply a notch or two above in class, dodged, countered and continued to land fast and hard. First on the draw with his jabs, Diaz methodically tattooed Delgado with combinations of southpaw right hooks and straight lefts. Delgado kept Diaz honest by landing an occasional hard hook to the body or right to the head but they were too few and far between to warrant any kind of shift in momentum.
Midway through the fight Diaz began deploying a circle and ambush strategy proved less effective than his aggressive ways. Allowed to press the action, Delgado suddenly began to land more frequently and trade on even terms with Diaz. Spurred by his success, Delgado aggressively took the fight to the 2012 US Olympian forcing him to dig deep in his defensive skills. Still, Diaz’s punches remained the crisper and more pinpoint of the two.
Diaz returned to his offensive mode in the ninth and it quickly paid dividends. He quickly regained control, landing the first and last punch of each exchange. Protecting himself in a tortoise-shell defense, he viciously ripped into Delgado with both fists while blocking most of the incoming fire.
The scores were 100-90 (twice) and 99-91, all for Diaz.
Slick and speedy, Keandre Gibson (13-0, 5 KOs) dropped Jorge Romero in the second round en route to an eight-round shutout decision. It was a glorified sparring session for Gibson who landed jabs, check hooks and lead rights at will but never really seemed intent on stopping his overmatched opponent. To Romero’s credit, he never stopped trying but was simply no match for Gibson.
Seven-foot Chinese heavyweight Taishan (4-0, 2 KOs) eked out a four-round majority decision over Jamal Woods (6-19-3, 6 KOs). Taishan got a wakeup call in the first round as Woods rocked him with wide left hooks and overhand rights and left hooks. In the second round Taishan crowded Woods and bludgeoned him with wide clubbing shots but Woods was able to cover well and avoid a direct hit.
Taishen began to impose his size on Woods in the third and clubbed the smaller man against the ropes with amateurish arm punches. Finally using his reach, Taishan began to connect with jabs and straight rights in the fourth. Woods finished strong by rocking Taishan with haymaker rights and left hooks but it wasn’t enough to steal the round.
“I feel really thrilled to be representing the millions people
The scores of 38-38, 39-37 and 40-46 were met with boos from the crowd.
Joshua Clottey (39-4, 22 KOs) pounded out a workman-like unanimous decision over Jorge Silva (20-9-2, 16 KOs) on the undercard of Canelo-Kirkland at Minute Maid Park in Houston. After two evenly-contested opening rounds, Clottey’s big-fight experience began to show as he took control with cleaner, harder shots to the head and body. By the seventh round, Clottey seemed to be clobbering Silva with virtual impunity.
Silva tried courageously to rally back in the final two frames but he simply could not match the firepower of the sturdier and more seasoned Ghanaian. Clottey adeptly covered up and took the incoming blows on his arms and gloves before countering with accurate shots.
Scores were 100-90 (twice) and 98-92.
Junior welterweight Ryan Martin (13-0, 8 KOs) stopped Ivan Zavala in the first round of a scheduled six round bout. Martin landed a left hook to the chin, dropping Zavala to the canvas. Zavala (7-10-2, 3 KOs) struggled to get up, but the fight was wisely stopped at 1:04.
- Curtis Meeks took a majority decision over Ramsey Luna in an eight-round lightweight/junior welterweight bout. The scores were a 76-76 draw, overruled by two judges who had Meeks ahead 77-75 and 78-74. Meeks, 31, of Austin, Texas, is now 10-1-2 with 3 KOs. Luna, 23, of Corpus Christi, Texas, is now 12-3 with 5 KOs.
- Featherweight prospect Cresencio Ramos made quick work of Cody Walker, knocking him down twice in the first and then pummeling him in the corner until the referee stepped in with 37 seconds left in the round. The first knockdown came off a southpaw left hand, while the second knockdown was the result of a body shot. Ramos, 20, of San Antonio, is now 3-0 with 2 KOs. Walker, 25, of Shreveport, Louisiana, is now 1-5 with no knockouts.
- Alfonso Lopez scored a technical knockout over Lester Gonzalez in the second round of a six-round light heavyweight bout. With his back to the ropes, Lopez floored Gonzalez with a left hand counter shot toward the end of the round. Gonzalez rose by the count of eight but remained wobbly, forcing the referee to end the bout.
Lopez, a 32-year-old from Cut and Shoot, Texas, who lost to Kelly Pavlik in 2011, is now 25-3 with 20 KOs (per BoxRec) or 24-3 with 19 KOs (per the official bout sheet). Gonzalez, 37, of San Diego, California, is now 12-16-4 with 6 KOs (per BoxRec) or 12-17-4 with 6 KOs (per the official bout sheet).
In a battle of unbeaten junior lightweights, Joseph Rodriguez won a six round majority decision over Luis Guevara (3-1-1, 2 KOs). Both fighters fought in spurts, but it was Rodriguez (9-0, 2 KOs) that landed the telling blows throughout the fight. One judge scored the bout 57-57, while the other two judges scored the bout in favor of Rodriguez, 60-54 and 59-55.
Former world super flyweight title holder Rodrigo Guerrero stopped Arturo Badillo after the seventh round of a scheduled 10 round bout. Now campaigning as a junior featherweight, Guerrero (23-5-1, 16 KOs) controlled the action from the third round on. Badillo had his moments early in the fight, but was on the defensive as Guerrero rained punches down from all angles. Guerrero hurt Badillo (20-7, 18 KOs) with a left hook to the body in the sixth round and continued to batter him in the seventh round. Prior to the eighth round, Badillo's corner told referee Lee Rogers that Badillo was unable to continue, prompting Rogers to waive the fight over.
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, Armando Pina stopped Zacharia in the second round. As the bout progressed, Pina (6-0, 6 KOs) landed more punches at will onto Kelley, who looked exhausted midway through the second round. Pina ended matters when he trapped Zacharia (4-11, 4 KOs) against the ropes, battering him with punches before the fight was stopped at 2:45.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing