Joseph Diaz Jr. outpoints tougher-than-expected Jesus Cuadro
It was not the knockout he promised before the fight, but Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz, Jr. did enough to get the victory. Diaz, The Ring’s No. 6-rated junior lightweight, defeated Jesus Cuadro by majority decision Saturday night at the Auditorio del Estado in Mexicali, Mexico.
One judge scored the bout 114-114, while the other two judges scored the bout 116-112 and 115-113 for Diaz, who improves to 30-1, 15 knockouts.
The fight against Cuadro, which was streamed live on his Golden Boy Promotion’s Facebook Watch series, was a stay-busy one for Diaz, who wants to fight IBF junior lightweight titleholder Tevin Farmer in December. Both fighters have traded barbs and insults over the last several weeks on social media.
Diaz wanted to make a statement at the expense of the southpaw Cuadro, who had a slight height advantage and had never been stopped before.
From the opening bell, Cuadro attempted to utilize his awkward style to confuse Diaz, mixing his attack to the head and body. Diaz was at his best initiating exchanges, landing the more-telling punches.
The pace of the fight slowed during the second half of the fight, which favored Cuadro as he fought in spurts, connecting the occasional left hand to the head. Diaz was the fresher of the two fighters, but chose to outbox Cuadro rather than going for the knockout.
After the fight, Diaz admitted he suffered an injury early in the fight.
“It wasn’t a difficult fight,” said Diaz after the fight. “I hurt my left hand during the first round. I fought conservatively as I have a fight lined up in December. This is my first time fighting in Mexicali and I wanted to give the people a good show.
“This was a good little test tonight. Tevin Farmer, I’m calling you out.”
Cuadro, who is originally from Venezuela and now resides in Tijuana, Mexico, dropped to 18-6, 14 KOs.
In the co-feature, fringe junior featherweight contender Leonardo Baez overcame a knockdown to defeat Edixon Perez by unanimous decision.
With the victory, Baez improves to 17-2, 9 KOs.
Baez was coming off a decision victory over former amateur standout and unbeaten Alberto Melian on July 18. Baez recently signed a promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions.
The fight did not start well for Baez, whose hometown is Mexicali. With about a minute left in the opening round, Baez was dropped by a right hand to the head.
After the opening round, Baez was in control, throwing and landing the shorter and more-effective punches throughout the fight. Perez had to deal with a severe cut over his right eye that occurred midway through the fight, producing blood that oozed out of the cut.
Scores were 96-92, 96-92, and 97-93 for Baez, who has now won his last five bouts, all of which have occurred within a span of a year.
“He was a very strong opponent, but we prepared well,” said Baez after the fight. “I felt I landed the stronger and cleaner punches, which is why I got the victory. I couldn’t breath when I boxed, but I was able to continue due to my toughness.”
Perez, who resides in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, drops to 19-4, 15 KOs.
In a clash of welterweights who reside in Mexicali, Angel Beltran won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Dilan Loza (15-3, 9 KOs). All three judges scored the bout 77-75 in favor of Beltran, who improves to 7-0, 4 KOs.
Flyweight Jan Salvatierra defeated Juan Borja (0-2) by unanimous decision over four rounds. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Salvatierra.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring 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 FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing