Super bantamweight prospect Joseph Diaz Jr improved to 12-0 (8 KO) with a seventh round stoppage of Raul Hidalgo tonight on FOX Sports 1, from the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.
Diaz, 21, dominated the fight, knocking Hidalgo (22-12, 16 KO) down once in the first round, and then three times in the seventh before referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight. Hidalgo was pretty much done on the first seventh round knockdown, a heavy body shot that took whatever fight was left out of him, and he appeared to be searching for a way out from then on. Weeks could have stopped it at the second knockdown, but the end came just after that, anyway, and was quite decisive.
Diaz has been a force thus far in his young pro career, and might be looking for a title shot in as little as 12 months, if not potentially sooner. 122 pounds is a top heavy and strong division right now, but who knows what the landscape could look like in a year?
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Fidel Maldonado Jr (19-2, 16 KO) overcame a tougher than anticipated challenge from a gutsy Nelson Lara (15-6-4, 8 KO) with a final round stoppage in the eighth, when referee Tony Garcia stepped in to stop the fight. Maldonado was in control early, but the fight turned on a dime in the fourth round, when the two suddenly went to war, both landing big shots, and Maldonado seemingly getting wobbled and looking gassed out at the end of the round.
From there, it was a war of attrition, a slugfest between two guys who were landing heavy blows. Lara connected with his right hand almost at will over the fight, but Maldonado proved a bit too strong when it counted. Fighting like the fight was on the line -- and it may have been -- Maldonado clipped Lara with a left hand followed by a right hook that sent the Nicaraguan falling into the ropes. The referee correctly ruled a knockdown, then stopped the fight moments after it restarted, with Maldonado pouring on the pressure.
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Ricardo Alvarez defeated John Michael Johnson by unanimous decision in the eight-round junior welterweight opener on scores of 77-75, 78-74, and 79-73. BLH had it 77-75 for Alvarez. If you're wondering if that's the same John Michael Johnson who won a bantamweight title in 1994, yes, it is. Great, huh? A 46-year-old bantamweight was the opponent for Alvarez, and Ricardo couldn't do much to prove he was the better fighter.
Johnson (31-10, 23 KO) had fought just one four-round fight since 2002 coming into this fight, and by his own admission spent about ten years retired and "eating a lot of tacos," ballooning up to over 220 pounds. He weighed in at 137½ for this fight, with Alvarez (24-3-3, 14 KO) coming in at 145¼, missing weight by quite a bit because, you know, why not? Who cares? It's Texas.