By Fiona Manning
Lightweight superstar Julio “The Kidd” Diaz of Coachella, California snapped up the IBF title and redemption for his hard-working First Family of Boxing in front of an adoring crowd of 2,000 plus fans at the San Diego Sports Arena, May 15.
Diaz and his brothers, Antonio and Joel were in tears as little brother took the title in a dominant display against the reigning and defending champion, Javier “Chatito” Jauregui of Guadalajara, Mexico in scores of 114-114, 118-110 (twice).
The Kidd, looking better than he has for some time, continued his winning streak working off his jab and smooth head and body movement to overpower Juaregi who looked devastated not surprising, since once judge mysteriously had the bout even.
From the opening bell, Diaz showed he’s no kidd in calmly handling the bullish, charging Jauregui, by picking him off with sharp, stinging lefts.
An accidental head butt cut Jauregui’s right eye, but he never stopped coming forward much to his detriment.
Jauregui landed some powerful rights of his own but frequently had to chase Diaz whose game plan was to stick and move, to great success.
There were some unexpected extras to this fight: at the top of the third round, the second ring rope fell and the fight crew worked quickly to fix it, but it took them about 10 minutes, which could have thrown off both fighters’ momentum, but it didn’t.
Jauregui once again stalked Diaz, landing some heavy shots that Diaz shrugged off with his customary foot and hand speed.
By the ninth round, Diaz had a wilted Juaregi wilted, but still game, despite the abuse he started to take in the later rounds.
By the 12th, it was evident that California had a new world champion, something the Diaz family has wanted for so long.
Swamped by the media immediately after the bout, Diaz said, “This is the happiest day of my life. This is what I wanted since I was six years old. It’s been a long, very hard climb.”
Diaz improves to 30-2, 22 KO’s. Jauregui slips to 47-11-2, 34 KO’s.
“I was in great shape but this was Julio’s night and I’d like to get a rematch at some point,” said a disappointed but gracious Jauregui.
Diaz said he’d be happy for a rematch “But right now, I want to hug my wife and kids. Then it’s time to eat!”
In the main supporting event Jhonny Gonzalez (and that really is how he spells his name apparently a birth certificate error his family declined to change) stopped a game but outgunned Alejandro Montiel in the sixth round of their Bantamweight bout to land the vacant NABO title.
The crowd-pleasing Gonzalez who has never had an easy fight in his life, came out launching his trusty left hook from the first bell.
Immediately connecting a solid shot to Montiel’s face, the crowd ooohed collectively and Gonzalez continued to dazzle them, flicking off anything Montiel had to give.
The second round was less active with both fighters seeming to wait, trying to land the big KO punch. Montiel, obviously cautious of the power he had already tasted, tried to land combinations but frequently missed.
In the third, Gonzalez picked up the pace, walking down Montiel and landing a three shot combination to the head. Gonzalez then began the body attack.
Gonzalez, who sensed his opponent was close to the end, landed some fearsome, flush punches to the head and body in the fourth but lost a point for low blows. He dropped Montiel with a snapping right which seemed to take the wind right out of Montiel’s sails especially when he was floored a second time.
The fifth was a tough one for Montiel who withstood a barrage of combinations that would have killed an elephant. A brutal left hook to Montiel’s drove him to his knees.
There are heavyweights who would have quit by now but the iron-willed Monitel finished the round and came back for more torture in the sixth.
The end came at 21 seconds of the round as a barrage of unanswered punches by Gonzalez prompted ref Mendoza to mercifully stop the fight.
Gonzalez, whose KO streak improves to nine in a row, increases his ledger to 23-4, 21 KO’s. Montiel slips to 49-7-0, 28 KO’s.