Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |


Diego Pacheco halts Jack Cullen in four rounds

Diego Pacheco and Jack Cullen weigh in ahead of their WBO International Super Middleweight Title fight. Photo by Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Diego Pacheco entered his main event matchup with Jack Cullen as a prospect on the cusp of contender status. The just-turned 22-year-old super middleweight was a Prospect of the Year contender after scoring four KOs in 2022; and he’s already in the WBO’s top 10 (No. 9).

Pacheco (18-0, 15 KOs) will likely move up the sanctioning body’s rankings by picking up their vacant “international” title with a patient-but-brutal fourth-round stoppage of Cullen (21-4-1, 9 KOs) on Saturday at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

Who knows? Pacheco’s systematic breakdown of the 29-year-old British fringe contender might be enough to prompt the Ring Ratings Panel to vote him into the publication’s super middleweight top 10, displacing the more-experienced likes of Ali Akmedov (No. 10), Zach Parker (No. 9) or Vladimir Shishkin (No. 8). If not, he’s definitely put himself in position to be the next man in.

The Californian felt no pressure in stepping up to the main event of the Matchroom Boxing show when original headliner Callum Smith had to withdraw from his fight with Pawel Stepien due to training injury. Pacheco took his time to “feel out” his battle-tested opponent in the opening round and Cullen took advantage of the slow pace by outjabbing the younger man.

However, Pacheco took command of the bout during the final minute of Round 2 when he landed a one-two combination that stunned Cullen, who gamely fought back in the final seconds before the bell. Cullen, who is almost as tall and rangy as the 6-foot-4 Los Angeles native, took the fight to the up-and-comer in Round 3, but Pacheco calmly picked his heavier shots to Lancashire man’s head and rib cage.

A right hand stunned Cullen again at the start of Round 4 and a left to the hip put the Englishman down. Cullen bravely beat the count but a one-two combo staggered him back into the ropes where Pacheco landed a pair of flush right hands that prompted referee Steve Gray to stop the fight 47 seconds into the round.

“It’s my job to deliver and I think I did that tonight,” Pacheco said during his post-fight interview on DAZN, which streamed the bout live. “It doesn’t matter where I fight, my job is to put on a great performance.”

Pacheco was asked about popular New York Puerto Rican super middleweight Edgar Berlanga, who recently signed with Matchroom Boxing.

“I feel ready for anyone in the division,” Pacheco said. “(Berlanga) is a fight that’s definitely going to happen down the line.”


Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s or Doug’s IG Live most Sundays.