Monday, May 29, 2023  |



Juan Diaz continues comeback with eighth-round TKO of Vazquez

Fighters Network

TUCSON, Ariz. – “Baby Bull” is still the nickname. But Juan Diaz has outgrown the baby. A more precise, more deliberate Diaz is the story of his comeback.

It continued Saturday night with a thorough performance from Diaz, who utilized a variety of punches from different angles in an eighth-round TKO of Cesar Vazquez in a lightweight bout at Casino Del Sol.

“Now, I throw 60, 70 punches a round,” said Diaz (42-4, 21 KOs), who hopes for a shot at a fourth world title. “Before I was throwing 80 punches a round. That’s the difference.

“Now I’m seeing punches like it’s happening in slow motion. I’m thinking and adjusting.”

In the end, it was enough to simply overwhelm Vazquez (27-4, 16 KOs), a Mexican lightweight whose corner called it quits at 2:09 of the eighth in a UniMas-televised bout.

Diaz, who is 7-0 since launching his comeback, hopes it was enough to put him in line for a shot at a major 135-pound crown.

“I don’t want another tune-up,” said Diaz, who has a promotional contract with Top Rank. “By the end of the year, October or November or December, I’d like to get a shot.”

Diaz called out Anthony Crolla, the WBA titleholder. He also mentioned Terry Flanagan, who holds the WBO version of the lightweight title. Both are from the U.K.

“I’ll go to England, anywhere, to fight them,” said Diaz, who began to dominate the bout with a succession of body shots and uppercuts midway through the first round.

At 32, Diaz has his own transportation company, JD Trucking. He said he wants to win a title and defend it a few times.

“A couple more years and then I’ll drive off into the sunset,” said Diaz, who for one night looked as if he could keep on truckin’ for a while.

The undercard included a big surpise. On the first full day of the Rio Olympics, 2012 gold medalist Egor Mekhontsev was lucky to get a majority draw against Alexander Johnson of Oxon Hill, Maryland.

A right staggered Mekhonstsev (11-0-1, 7 KOs) in the third.

The Russian light heavyweight survived the next five rounds, but his unbeaten record sustained a blemish. One judge favored him, 78-74. It was 76-76 on the other two scorecards.

The Top Rank-promoted card opened with an impressive performance from another Russian. Alexander Besputin, a junior middleweight trained by Robert Garcia, didn’t need much time.

Two minutes and eight seconds after first bell, Besputin (4-0, 4 KOs) landed a left hand for a first-round knockout of Kevin Womack (7-12-3, 2 KOs) of Baltimore.

The quick stoppage left Besputin manager Egis Klimas lots of time to watch Andre Ward’s victory over Alexander Brand in a tune-up for the Ward-Sergey Kovalev clash in November. Klimas also manages Kovalev.