Omar Narvaez dominates Diego Pichardo to decision win
CASEROS, Argentina — Almost ten months after Omar Narvaez’s devastating loss to Naoya Inoue in Japan in which the Japanese star put an end to a remarkable 27 consecutive defenses of two titles in separate weight divisions, Narvaez made an inspired comeback on Saturday at the Centro Deportivo Municipal of Caseros with a one-sided decision win over Diego Pichardo over 10 rounds in the 115-pound division.
Showing no signs of wear and tear only a few days after turning 40 years old, Narvaez (44-2-2, 23 knockouts) put on an impeccable performance against a relentless fighter that brought much more heat than what his deceptive record indicated. Pichardo (16-7-1, 3 knockouts) started out by winning the first round on one official card (a sentiment echoed by THE RING) with a spirited performance, switching occasionally to an orthodox stance to effectively baffle Narvaez and set him up for solid combinations.
By the third round, however, a noticeable injury under Pichardo’s right eye progressively turned a competitive and entertaining matchup into a mere target practice for the former champion, who scored at will from all angles while showing glimpses of his best counterpunching moves when he choose to become the aggressor in retreat in this battle of southpaws.
Pichardo, who was coming off a 4-0 winning streak that included a win over two-time title challenger Roberto Sosa, earned a lot of respect in this defeat by making a valiant effort in spite of an injury that kept his right eye almost swollen shut and forced him to wince in pain with every jab that landed on it. Still, Pichardo pressed on and managed to make a few rounds closer than others, but still falling short in every episode.
The ringside doctor was summoned to a neutral corner midway through the eight round to check on Pichardo, who was granted the opportunity to continue and made the most of it with a gutsy start in the 10th and final round, coming out swinging almost blindly and receiving a barrage of accurate and powerful counterpunches in return.
The final scorecards of 100-90 (twice) and 99-91 (in consonance with THE RING) awarded a well-deserved victory to Narvaez, who later promised to continue searching for a rematch against Inoue in the near future.
“I can’t imagine like away from boxing,” said Narvaez after the bout. “This sport is not only about talent, it’s also about sacrifice, and I still have a lot of that to give.”
Whether he manages to lure Inoue, one of boxing’s fastest-rising stars, into the ring again remains a mystery. But Narvaez believes he has earned his chance to redeem his worst night in boxing in a rematch of a fight in which he feels he was just “unlucky.”
“It wasn’t difficult,” said Narvaez, when asked about the way in which he handled the heartbreak of being stopped in such a demolishing fashion by Inoue. “I was lucky to go 39 years of my life without being stopped in a fight, but it happened. And now I want my chance to prove myself once again,” said the fighter, who vowed to remain in the 115-pound division for the rest or his career.