April 23, 2004

Juan Diaz vs Martin O’Malley

By Fiona Manning

Juan “El Torito” Diaz made short work of his talented, tough but overwhelmed opponent Martin O’Malley in the main event at Pechanga Resort and Casino on Sunday.

Demolishing the durable O’Malley in just two rounds – The Little Bull capped off a dramatic card which included a rarely seen double knockdown.

Despite a desperately early hour by boxing standards (11am) a capacity crowd showed up for the first of the new season Main Events-NBC sports shows.

Diaz, who is studying law, achieved in the biggest test of his caeeer, something that even former lightweight champion Leonard Dorin was unable to do. The compact powerhouse Diaz proved that the world title shot he’s anxious for is closer than he thinks.

After dropping O’Malley within the opening seconds of the second bout, Diaz went in for the kill and as O’Malley crumples to the ropes, ref Raul Caiz stepped in, protecting him from himself.

The game O’Malley protested that he was okay but it was an excellent stoppage. The crowd-pleasing Diaz, who gets better and better each fight, is simply dazzling.

Bring on Lazcano and Cast-illo!

Diaz improves to 24-0, 12 KOs, O’Malley slips to 21-3-1, 14 KOs.

The 2,500 strong crowd watched a genuine grudge match immediately preceding this main event - scarily so. The crowd got ugly, booing loudly, swarming two-time former Olympian Nurhan “Sun King” Suleymoniglu from Kazakhstan now a resident of Houston, TX.

Suleyman who has a silver medal and over 200 amateur fights to his credit, was overmatched on his walk to the ring for his eight round welterweight bout with wildly popular Glendale CA-based Armenian Archack “Attack” Ter-Meliksetian.

In the ring where it counts, he was in control from the opening bell. When he stopped the crowd favorite at 2.41 of the sixth, you had to wonder: what happens now? Do we bolt for the exits?

Maybe shock overtook the crowd when Suleymoniglu, who punished Ter-Meliksetian for the entire bout, spoiled the undefeated record of the man he felt disrespected him from the outset.

As introductions were made, the booing that accompanied Suleymoniglu from the dressing room, got worse. It was a little frightening, how intense these fans got.

No love lost would be an understatement for how this fight unfolded between these two undefeated arch-enemies.

It looked like they wanted to rip their gloves off and go for the jugular in the first, but settled down in the second. Ter-Meliksetian, looking like a younger, skinnier member of the Klitshcko family, was fighting through an apparent gym injury to the rib.

He was busy in the first and part of the second but Suley-moniglu weathered the early storm via excellent head and waist movement to take the third and fourth rounds.

The fifth saw Ter-Meliksetian’s corner screaming for uppercuts on the crouching Suleymoniglu. It was apparent that Ter-Meliksetian just didn’t have the physical capability to do more than he was doing. In the sixth, he couldn’t take anymore and sank to the corner of a neutral post, referee Dr. Louis Moret waving the fight over.

Suleymoniglu improves to 14-0, 6 KOs. Ter-Meliksetian drops to 8-1, 7 KOs.

“He was very unprofessional,” said an emotional Sulemoniglu after the fight. “I have fought the best in the world. I have represented Turkey in two Olympic Games. He must respect my professional abilities. But he was disrespectful. He was rude. I am glad I won. I trained hard for this fight. I disrespect no man. But he disrespected me.”

Second bout for the day was a 10 round junior middleweight war between California state champion Jauquin “Killer” Gallardo from San Leandro, CA and Arturo Morua from Guadalajara, MX.

Gallardo was an unpopular wide winner who had to chase Morua around to make things happen for most of the fight.

Although Gallardo was more aggressive, Morua was landing some very good shots – and with it, winning the heart of the crowd. What was going on with Gallardo’s right hand for this fight? He hardly threw it at all.

For two rounds, the action was pretty even until the end of the second, Gallardo nailed Morua at the ropes but swinging wildly, Morua kept Gal-lardo off him to survive the round.

Gallardo held back to much in the third and fourth and he is not an effective counter-puncher. Trainer Jimmy Montoya was screaming for him to use “Right hand! Left Hand! Both hands!” He should have added, “Any hand!”

In the fifth, Montoya, sensed that Gallardo’s hesitation stemmed from the fact that when he took the fight to Morua, Morua would punish him with combinations. He started yelling for the jab and telling his man to land and step back. It worked.

The sixth saw Morua getting head-butted at the back of his head. A gash opened up, running a river down his back. Ref David Denkin paused the action for the ringside physician to look at it, but he was swiftly sent back to the frontline.

Gallardo had Morua hurt but held back when he should have kept up the pressure for much of the next two rounds. Hardly using his right (was he injured?) Gallardo’s entire corner was on his case to let his hands go.

By the 10th, these fighters were in a grueling war. Gallardo pulled out the stops but still no right hand to take a unanimous nod: 97-93 and 98-92 (twice).

Gallardo improves to16-2-1, 5 KOs, Morua slips to 18-5-1, 13 KOs.

First fight up, was a cracking four round junior middleweight bout featuring a rarity in boxing, a double knockdown.

Alexis Camacho from Monterrey, MX and Geraldo Justo Ramirez from Sacramento CA, made their pro debuts in front of a highly appreciative crowd. Camacho came off three knockdowns in the first to drop Ramirez in the second and to continue to dominate the bout.

Caiz stopped things again so that a dripping cut in the corner of Ramirez’s right eye could be examined. The crowd booed the pause in action and Ramirez’s face looked like a relief map of Switzerland. A tough way to bust his boxing cherry.

Judge Lou Filippo saw the fight a draw but Camacho won on a majority decision 38-36 (twice).

Return to the Frontpage