It was a night where Juan Diaz and Mike Alvarado made their long-awaited returns to the ring. It was also a night where both scored knockout wins.
Diaz and Alvarado notched knockout wins Saturday night at the Arena Theatre in Houston, Tex.
In the main event of the ‘Solo Boxeo Tecate’ broadcast, Diaz, who was fighting in his hometown, had to grind out a ninth round technical knockout win over rugged veteran Fernando Garcia.
With the win, Diaz goes to 41-4, 20 KOs, while Garcia drops to 30-8-2, 18 KOs.
It was Diaz’s first fight in over 18 months. Diaz, who has now won six fights in a row, suffered a ten rotator cuff in his left shoulder during training camp a year in preparation for a May 1 world title belt opportunity.
Garcia was 3-3 in his previous six bouts.
There did not seem to be any ring rust on the part of Diaz, as he threw his customary high-volume of punches from the opening round. While Diaz landed the more-telling blows, Garcia was able to land his share of punches, mainly due to Diaz being open to hit to the head.
Diaz’s punches seemed to wear Garcia down midday through the fight. Garcia took a knee near the end of the fifth round due to an accumulation of punched from Diaz. Garcia attempted to rally in the following rounds, but Diaz’s work to the body slowed him down.
Diaz scored a second knockdown in the ninth round, dropping Garcia with an accumulation of punches. Garcia beat the count and tried to fight back, but referee Laurence Cole saved Garcia from further punishment, stopping the fight at 2:24.
In his first fight in almost 14 months, Mike Alvarado snapped a three-bout losing streak in stopping Saul Corral in the third round.
Alvarado improves to 35-4, 24 KOs, while Corral falls to 19-7, 10 KOs.
The Denver area resident took time away from boxing after the loss to Brandon Rios in January of last year to deal with personal issues. Corral entered the Alvarado fight having won seven bouts in a row against mediocre opposition.
After mostly working from the center of the ring in the opening round, Alvarado pressed the action in the second round. Corral attempted to keep Alvarado by throwing punches in spurts, but had to do so by fighting off his back foot.
Alvarado hurt Corral with a left uppercut over a minute into the third round. Alvarado followed up with a barrage of punches, but it was a right cross that dropped Corral to the canvas. Referee Laurence Cole immediately stopped the bout at 1:25.
In the scheduled four round swing bout, welterweight Arturo Marquez made his pro debut a successful one, stopping Justin Henderson in the second round. Marquez is the son of former world titleholder and Showtime color commentator Raul Marquez.
In non-televised action:
– 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist and unbeaten middleweight Esquiva Falcao (13-0, 10 KOs) stopped Joe McCreedy (15-10-2, 6 KOs) in the fifth round.
– Former amateur standout and unbeaten Jesse Garcia (3-0, 3 KOs) survived a first round knockdown to stop Christopher Turton (1-2) in the second round.
– Lightweight Abel Mendoza (1-0), who was making his pro debut, defeated Juan Munoz (0-2) over four rounds. Scores were 39-37, 39-37, and 40-36 in favor of Mendoza.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing