In a masterclass performance, WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) took Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz Jr. (32-2-1, 15 KOs) to school in outboxing him by an easier than expected 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 23-year-old Haney was too much for the much shorter, bulky-looking 29-year-old Jojo Diaz Jr in winning by these scores:
Boxing 247 scored it for Haney by a 118-110 score. It’s not that Jojo Diaz Jr. didn’t do some good things, but they were far and in between.
Fans at ringside largely booed the results when they were announced, but they shouldn’t have been surprised. Haney dominated the entire 12 rounds and was never in danger of getting knocked out.
The former IBF super featherweight champion Diaz spent virtually 90% of each round plodding forward with his gloves pasted to his head, waiting, waiting, and waiting to let his hands go. Diaz Jr. wasn’t throwing more than a small handful of punches each round, which let Haney hit whenever and wherever he wanted.
In between rounds, Diaz’s older trainer practically begged him to let his hands go, and he would nod each time, letting him know that he would. Instead, Diaz would come out for the round and throw very few shots.
Jojo Diaz did seem to stun Haney in rounds nine and twelve with powerful left hands to the head, but he failed to follow up. We had seen 36-year-old Jorge Linares hurt Haney repeatedly from rounds 10 through 12 last May, and he was letting his hands go.
However, Diaz Jr lacked the talent to do what Linares had done to Haney, and that made the fight mostly one-sided.
In the championship rounds, Diaz Jr. landed some nice left hands that got Haney’s attention, but there weren’t enough of them. Haney would fire back with his own shots, which kept Diaz from continuing to throw.
The bodywork from Haney paid dividends for him in the later rounds because Diaz looked visibility tired and unable to get his shots off. Also, the punches on Diaz’s arms appeared to deaden them, preventing him from throwing shots when he needed to.
If you’d seen Diaz’s fights in the past against Gary Russell Jr, Tevin Farmer, Javier Fortuna and Andrew Cancio, he was nowhere near that good tonight.
In the first four rounds, Diaz Jr. rarely threw anything at all. It was difficult to know if this was a strategy on Diaz’s part or if he was too heavy from the weight that he’d put on after rehydrating.
When Diaz finally did start throwing shots in the fifth, there weren’t enough of them. He looked like he was afraid to open up for fear of being countered.
Diaz did do a good job fighting through the clinches in the first half of the contest. When Haney would tie Diaz up in a clinch, he would nail him repeatedly with punches with his free hands.
But in the second half of the fight, Diaz was too tired to throw when held, and he used the clinches to rest. He looked very old.
Haney was warned in the later rounds by referee Russell Mora about his frequent low blows, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to land low. Some would argue that Mora isn’t the type of referee that takes points off for low blows, as he’s not done that in the past.
In the ninth, it looked like Diaz was going to go for the knockout, as he landed some nice shots that clearly had Haney buzzed. In the tenth round, Diaz looked tired and arm weary as he failed to throw shots, and was backed up by Haney.
After the round ended, Diaz’s trainer told him not to back up, and that they needed him to go forward and throw punches. He nodded but then failed to do so in the 11th.
After the fight, Haney called out undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos, saying he’s ready to fight him in Australia or even “Jupiter” if he has to.