Roberto Manzanarez stops Gamaliel Diaz in four
Different country, same result for Roberto Manzanarez.
The 22-year-old Mexican junior welterweight standout made his U.S. debut a successful one, stopping former 130-pound titleholder Gamaliel Diaz in Round 4 of a scheduled eight-rounder on Friday at the Belasco Theatre in Los Angeles.
Manzanarez improves to 34-1, with 28 knockouts, while Diaz falls to 40-16-3, 19 KOs.
Diaz was considered a significant step up in opposition for Manzanarez. The 36-year-old veteran had faced a wide range of fighters, from prospects to contenders to titleholders.
But Manzanarez, who made his pro debut at the age of 15, fought like a savvy veteran, displaying a solid skill-set while mostly out-boxing Diaz early on in the fight. Manzanarez would switch from conventional to southpaw as well.
Manzanarez began to attack the body early on in round four, something trainer Jose Benavidez advised him to do before the start of the round.
The adjustment paid off as a left hand to the body dropped Diaz to one knee. Diaz remained on the canvas, grimacing in pain as referee Raul Caiz Sr. counted him out at 2:23.
“I am very happy with this win,” said Manzanarez after the fight. “I’m glad I stopped him early.”
Manzanarez has won his last 13 bouts since suffering his only defeat as a pro in November of 2012.
“I know I have to go back to into the gym to work on everything. I need to be in better form, physically and mentally. Fighting here (in the U.S.) was a dream come true of mine. I hope I get more opportunities to do so.”
In the co-feature, lightweight Genaro Gamez won a six-round unanimous decision over veteran Alejandro Ochoa.
Gamez, who weighed in at 138 pounds, improves to 4-0, 3 KOs. Ochoa falls to 7-13-2, 1 KO.
While all three judges scored the bout 60-54 in favor of Gamez, Ochoa gave him all he could handle throughout the bout, utilizing his ring savvy to score occasional right hands to the head.
But Gamez, who is trained by Robert Garcia, landed the more effective punches throughout the fight. He attacked the body, especially with left hooks to the body, even stunning Ochoa early in the sixth round. Gamez went in for the kill, but Ochoa used his experience to make it to the final bell.
Highly-touted amateur Luis Feliciano was successful in his pro debut, winning a six round unanimous decision over Angel Rodriguez.
The taller Feliciano mixed an attack from the outside, landing hooks to the body and right hands to the head. Rodriguez (5-8-3, 4 KOs) had his moments, but was not able to keep up a consistent attack against Feliciano throughout the fight.
Scores were 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55 for Feliciano.
In preliminary action:
– Junior lightweight Tenochtitlan Nava won a four round unanimous decision over Thomas Smith (3-4-1, 2 KOs). Scores were 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37 for Nava, who improves to 5-0, with one KO.
– Francisco Javier Martinez survived a second-round knockdown to stop Miguel Barajas (2-2, 1 KO) at 2:44 of round four. Martinez was making his pro debut as a junior lightweight.
– Junior lightweight Jousce Gonzalez (4-0, 4 KOs) dropped Emmanuel Valadez (3-3, 3 KOs) twice en route to a first round knockout victory. Time of the knockout was 2:42.
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 (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing