Thurman stops Diaz in Three on Showtime
- Updated: April 26, 2014
Interim WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs) has emerged as bright and promising prospect due to his heavy power, improving boxing abilities and innate gift of gab. Thurman’s momentum only grew louder on Saturday when he stopped respected veteran Julio Diaz (40-10-1, 29 KOs) in three rounds by breaking his rib with a brutal body shot.
The fight concluded, just as it was heating up, which earned some derision from the sizable crowd at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, but the relative dull ending should not discount Thurman’s performance. The young Florida native has improved mightily since debuting as a pro and he appears to be a growing threat at welterweight. Thurman largely dominated the first two rounds of the fight by keeping Diaz at bay with an excellent left jab/hook combination which has become Thurman’s trademark. Diaz, whose reflexes are clearly not what they once were, had difficulty with this development, but the veteran still kept plugging away.
This resistance started to turn things around in the third round when he appeared to briefly hurt Thurman, but Thurman ultimately kept marching forward and plugged away to the body. It was this decision that appeared to cause the injury to Diaz’s ribs which prompted his corner to call a halt to the bout at the conclusion of the third round.
Molina and Matthysee Wage an Instant Classic
John Molina Jr. (27-4-2, 22 KOs), who came into the ring as a prohibitive underdog, showed a great deal of heart and pride in testing former junior welterweight champion Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse (35-3, 33 KOs), but it was ultimately the machine who would win out. In what some are describing as a potential Fight of the Year candidate, Matthysse outlasted an early Molina surge to quell and dismantle his opponent en route to an 11th round stoppage victory.
Matthysse, who was fighting for the first time since his September defeat at the hands of Danny Garcia, appeared a bit sluggish and rudimentary during the early rounds, as he largely abandoned his jab in favor of wild power punches. This favored Molina, who used movement and quick hands to build up an apparent early lead. This was advanced further when Molina dropped Matthysee in the second and fifth rounds in a development which shocked the crowd at the StubHub Center.
However, Matthysse, who was bleeding heavily from an accidental headbutt, eventually righted the ship and took full advantage of a tiring Molina. Matthysse’s aggression and heavy hands were clearly sapping the energy from Molina and they contributed to a pair of thudding knockdowns in the eight and tenth rounds. Another knockdown in the eleventh round by Matthysee was enough for a ref to a call a halt to this hellacious battle which will easily be talked about come the end of the year.
Figueroa takes controversial split decision from Belmontes
WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs) notched a difficult and contentious split decision victory over his fellow Texan Jerry Belmontes, who displayed a strong showing of himself. The fight was marked by Belmontes using adept footwork to mostly circle Figueroa, who appeared far flatter than the fighter that fans had grown accustomed to; a potential side effect from his hellacious war with Japan’s Nihito Arakawa in July, 2013. Figueroa attempted to make a fight of it, but he was obviously befuddled by Belmontes, who appeared comfortable fighting from angles and who also had no issue countering when Figueroa was able to exert himself.
In fairness, many of the rounds were close and Figueroa was the clear aggressor, but the general sentiment of the fight from press row and on the Twitterverse seemed to favor Belmontes’ boxing over Figueroa’s lackadaisical aggression. Ultimately, the Golden Boy-promoted fighter, Figueroa, prevailed notching a split decision with scorecards of 115-113, 118-110 and 112-116. 3MoreRounds scored the bout 116-112 for Belmontes, with several rounds being close.