It was a case of too much punching power for WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete with his 12th round knockout victory over fellow Top Rank promoted Christopher Diaz in their headliner at the Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Florida.
It was a brave effort from Diaz, who kept coming back each time he was dropped in the fight in getting put down once in the fourth, twice in the eighth, and a final time in the 12th.
Although Diaz was clearly outgunned by Navarrete, he wasn’t going to quit and made the WBO champion earn the victory the hard way.
Navarrete (33-1, 28 KOs) unloaded on an already beat-up Diaz (26-3, 16 KOs) in the 12th round with a flurry of big power shots that put him down.
The referee probably should have stopped the fight at that point because Diaz looked like he was done. Thankfully, Diaz’s corner had the contest stopped rather than letting Navarrete finish off their fighter.
Navarrete dropped Diaz with uppercuts in the fourth and eighth rounds. That punch proved to be his best weapon in the contest because Diaz couldn’t stop that shot no matter how hard he tried.
For boxing fans that follow the sport, it wasn’t surprising that Navarrete won the fight, as Diaz came into the clash with a 3-2 record in his last five fights. He wasn’t exactly the ideal opponent to pick if you’re looking for someone that can give the champion a run for his money.
Obviously, that wasn’t what this fight was about Diaz and Navarrete are both with Top Rank, so the promoters were keeping both guys happy while giving ESPN a decent but not great fight.
If they wanted to match Navarrete with someone that could potentially beat him, the fight to make would have been against WBC champ Gary Russell Jr, Rey Vargas, Leo Santa Cruz, Oscar Valdez, or Shakur Stevenson.
It would have been easy for Top Rank to match Navarrete with Stevenson or Valdez because they’re both promoted by them. But it’s understandable why they didn’t make those fights. They would be hurting one of their revenue streams by letting Navarrete fight one of them.
It’s unclear where Navarrete goes from here, though, because he doesn’t have anyone to fight unless Top Rank can set up fights with Russell, Rey Vargas, or Santa Cruz.
The fans aren’t going to want to see Navarrete fight the same guys he’s fought in the past, and that includes Christopher Diaz.
It might be a good idea for Navarrete to move up to super-featherweight where he’ll have a huge pool of great opposition for him to fight.
These are some of the excellent fights that away Navarrete at 130:
- Shakur Stevenson
- Oscar Valdez
- Miguel Berchelt
- Leo Santa Cruz
- Gervonta Davis
- Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz
- Shavkat Rakhimov
- Chris Colbert
- Jeremiah Nakathila
- Roger Gutierrez
In the main support for the Navarrete vs. Diaz fight, super middleweight Edgar Berlanga (17-0, 16 KOs) beat Demond Nicholson (23-4, 20 KOs) by an eight-round unanimous decision.
The scores: 79-68, 79-69, and 79-69.