Former unified lightweight titleholder Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz ended a ring absence of two years and nearly nine months with a sixth-round technical knockout victory over Pipino Cuevas Jr. at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas on Saturday.
The fight, which was promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Leija and Battah Promotions, was televised on Fox Sports Networks, Fox Deportes and Fuel TV.
Diaz (36-4, 18 knockouts), of Houston, is 3-4 over his past seven fights, during which he defeated contender Michael Katsidis, split bouts with current WBA welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, and lost twice to four-division titlewiner Juan Juan Manuel Marquez, being stopped in the ninth round of their first matchup in the Fight of The Year in February of 2009.
A 29-year-old college grad whose last fight was the unanimous decision loss to Marquez in July of 2010, Diaz was 33-0 with 17 knockouts before being dethroned as IBF, WBA and WBO 135-pound beltholder following a unanimous decision loss to Nate Campbell in March of 2008.
Prior to that, Diaz had made seven successful defenses, four of them by stoppage, of the WBA title he won by unanimous decision over Lakva Sim in July of 2004.
That run included knockouts of then-titleholders Acelino Freitas and Julio Diaz in the eighth and ninth round in April and October of 2007, respectively. Diaz added Freitas’ WBO belt and Diaz’s IBF title to his collection.
In other bouts from Saturday’s card in Corpus Christi, Jerry Belmontes (18-1, 5 KOs) won a majority decision over lightweight rival Daniel Diaz (19-5-1, 14 KOs), and welterweight Justin DeLoach (1-0) won a unanimous decision over Martin Gonzalez (1-2).
Photo by Tony Martinez, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]