Juan Diaz: Consistency Personified

07.15.06 – By Tim Foley: With an air of uncertainty surrounding the two fighters who engaged in an acceptable main event, one thing became clear this evening. Juan Diaz is the becoming the most consistent and exciting fighter in the sport.

I’ve long been a fan of Juan’s as I have had the privilege of watching his development here in Houston since his debut. His evolution as a fighter and a man has come full circle since his embarrassing razor thin decision against Eleazar Contreras three years ago. He was a boy who literally was crying from disappointment on national television. Now, he is a man who is on the verge of becoming the best lightweight in the world..

His transformation began with his explosive 2nd round knockout against a then-rising prospect, Martin O’Malley. This nationally televised event designed to showcase Main Events’ rising young stars demonstrated his readiness to challenge for a title.

After defeating tough former champion, Lakva Sim over 12 dominant rounds in Houston in 2004, he has now defended his WBA lightweight championship four consecutive times with each contest being more dominant than the previous.

His most recent performance this evening against Randy Suico proved that he is ready to face the elite lightweights in the division. Throughout the evening, he peppered Suico with hard combinations to the body and head. He has long been a body punching machine, but has recently demonstrated the fluidity and effectiveness that has made him an elite fighter. His track record speaks for itself as he has fought rugged fighters with strong chins over the last two years since his title-winning effort against Sim.

Throughout the fight this evening, he consistently landed over 50% of his punches, with many being clean and effective shots to the liver and chin of Suico. With the exception of the 7th round, which he took off, he completely dictated every minute of every round culminating in a 9th round stoppage that was warranted due to the volume of punches landed.

As the fight wore on, it began to resemble the tragic Jesus Chavez-Leavander Johnson fight that ended in the untimely death of Leavander Johnson. Diaz was punching hard, but not hard enough to knock Suico down. Fortunately, Joe Cortez recognized the fact that Suico was not in the fight and chose to stop the fight after a flurry of shots that rocked Suico in the 9th.

This fighting style is nothing new to fans of Diaz who have watched him steal the show on numerous occasions. His consistent domination of second-tier fighters has warranted him the opportunity to possibly receive a unification bout against Acelino Freitas, the current WBO lightweight champion. Hopefully he can become a headliner with his fan-friendly style that has allowed him to build a name for himself within the inner circles of boxing media and fans.

As Jim Lampley so keenly recognized in the telecast, “if he could punch, he would be headlining pay-per-view events.” He has it all: the style, the heart, the chin, the charisma…everything. Everything but the one-punch eraser. But he certainly compensates by fighting consistent, fan-friendly fights in every contest. A unification appears on the horizon with a new star rising to the top of the lightweight division.

Article posted on 15.07.2006

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