“This is Bad!” Cortez DQ’s Soto, Best P4P Pacman KO’s Diaz

By Paul Strauss: Fans were rewarded with an extremely exciting night of action at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the night was marred by the decision of referee Joe Cortez d to disqualify Humberto Soto in his match-up with Francisco Lorenzo. The fight undoubtedly was a shut out for Soto, who steadily increased the pressure on Lorenzo. He punished him with a variety of punches. About the only damage Lorenzo was able to accomplish against Soto, was to frustrate him with his style.. Although never warned, Lorenzo’s main weapon increasingly became his head. He was leading with it, almost to the point of spearing. However, it cost him, because Soto was able to rip him with uppercuts, tearing cuts above both eyes. Soto threw in a few straight punches to noticeably bend Lorenzo’s nose as well

In the fourth round, Soto put Lorenzo down twice, and in the confusion of the second knockdown, Cortez felt Soto had landed a punch (glancing left) to the back of Lorenzo’s head after he was down. It was Cortez’s responsibility to make a call, but after calling time, he seemed to want to discuss the situation with everyone at ringside. He muffled his microphone while talking with commissioner Keith Kaiser, who in a post fight interview, said there was agreement by the ringside physicians a concussive blow was struck to the back of Lorenzo’s head. Kaiser stated he asked Cortez if the blow had been intentional, and Cortez said “yes”, which meant technically Soto had to be disqualified.

Their decision might have been technically correct, but as Manny Steward said, “This is bad!” Common sense was missing. Lorenzo was a completely beaten fighter, with no chance of winning. As previously mentioned, he was cut over both eyes, and he also had what appeared to be a badly broken nose. Prior to and in between knock downs, he was dropping almost to his knees, making it difficult to tell whether he was up or down. Soto’s (glancing) blow came through as part of a combination, and didn’t appear hard enough to realistically cause any damage. If as Keith Kaiser claimed, “a concussive blow was landed”, then he must have meant one of the many coming from the front that caused substantial concussion. The decision to take Soto’s title seems extremely unfair, so much so that Manny Steward was on the verge of tears, because he was so upset.

In the main event, the Pacman gave fans what they came to see. He completely dominated the determined and tough David Diaz, whose nickname of “Dangerous” didn’t apply tonight. Announcer Jim Lampley compared Manny Pacquiao to Jack Dempsey, the Manassa Mauler, and The Pure Flame of Fire. (Roger Kahn). Unofficial judge Harold Lederman enthusiastically sputtered that he had never seen anyone who could throw multiple right hands non-stop from all angles the way Manny was demonstrating. Harold was right, as Manny bounced right hand punches off David Diaz’ head from the front, from the side, and from the bottom, with a few crunching straight lefts added for emphasis.

Dangerous Diaz was only a danger to himself, proving that sometimes too much courage can be a bad thing. Lesser men would have crumbled under the onslaught, but he fought on, trying desperately to land some body shots. His corner kept asking him to put his head on Pacman’s chest, and punch to the body. That wasn’t such a good idea either, as Manny would then throw powerful and damaging uppercuts.

Prior to the start of the fight, Manny Steward was comparing David Diaz to a smaller version of Jake Lamotta. Manny explained Lamotta wasn’t pretty, but he just pressed you. Yes, Manny added, “Diaz fights like old time fighters.”

By the third round, the Pacman was already glancing up at the screen to watch the highlights and admire his work. Trainer Freddie Roach had to scold him a bit, and ask him to pay attention to his instructions, which I think were probably pretty simple………keep doing what you’re doing, because you’re beating the hell out of him.

During the fifth round, Diaz’ right eye was bleeding steadily; although, Diaz didn’t seem to be bothered by it. The doctor was ask several times from the sixth round on to check on the cut. Action was allowed to continue. In between the seventh and eighth round Manny Steward said, “It’s only a matter of time before the referee stops this fight.” Almost on cue, the referee
said to Diaz, “Pick it up, or I will stop the fight.”

In retrospect, he probably should have stopped the fight, because in the ninth, Pacquiao unleashed another flurry, landing a right hook, and then his patented short left, which was right on the point of the chin. Down went Diaz. It was the same punch he used to put down Marquez. So much damage had already been administered to Diaz, that this last left was enough to cause a halt to the fight. It was 2:24 Sec of the 9th round. Manny Steward could have made one more comparison to Lamotta after witnessing this slaughter. It resembled Sugar Ray Robinson’s beating of Lamotta called the “St Valentine’s Day Massacre”.

The second fight of the night was over before fans could say, “Hey, that big guy is wide open!”

Actually, it was 57 seconds into Round One. Monte Barrett threw only ten punches, connecting with six. The result was Tye Fields, also known as “Big Sky” acted out the story of Chicken Little saying…..”The (Big) Sky is falling!” I think somebody in the Casino was probably asking for a reading on the Richter scale, after the 265 lb behemoth hit the canvas. Promoter Bob Arum should be eating crow about now concerning his build up of Fields after his last fight that ended in a 1st round KO. Arum said Fields was ready for anyone, including Klitschko. Well, tonight he wasn’t even ready for Monte Barrett. Throwing caution to the wind is not a good idea, no matter how big you are. When Tye started a long left to the body from too far out, Barrett countered with a right cross. Only five punches later and it was “timber”.

The first fight was a corker! It’s too bad the majority of fans were still in the casino losing their money when they could have been watching a great action fight that ended in a draw. The fight started off with heated action, surprising some at ringside who were sure Steven Luevano, the WBO featherweight title holder would box the stronger Mario Santiago. It cost Luevano, when he was knocked down in the 2nd round. Not to be outdone, he quickly returned the favor and decked Santiago. Both fighters quickly recovered from the flash knock downs, and resumed their pummeling of each other. By the 7th round, Luevano seemed very tired. His guard started to drop, and his legs seemed wobbly. He was repeatedly getting caught with hard punches from Santiago. Like David Diaz, he seemed to have more courage than good sense. Just when you thought he was going to fold, he would muster up more energy and let his hands go.

In addition to the second round knock down, Santiago had Luevano hurt three or four more times in the fight. It appeared if he could sustain the pressure, and maybe even step it up a bit, he could stop the champ. However, he didn’t, and in fact he let Luevano steal the action back several times, and impress the judges. Santiago slowed down his punch output for the 11th and 12th, and it probably cost him the title, as the judges ended up scoring the fight a majority draw. It’s a shame the eventual crowd did not get to their sits in time to watch this fight. It didn’t include the Pacman, but it deserved their attention as well.

There will be many highlights shown of tonight’s action. Sadly, there will be low-lights as well involving confused referee Joe Cortez. Harold Lederman and Manny Stewart both felt Cortez didn’t know what to do? They, and the crowd, felt the DQ was a travesty, and the correct thing to do would have been TKO Lorenzo.