Featherweight prospect Joseph Diaz Jr made his debut tonight on HBO, scoring a solid step-up win over a determined Jayson Velez, winning on unanimous decision scores of 100-91, 99-91, and 98-92. BLH had it 97-93 for Diaz.
Diaz, 23, was a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, and turned pro in December of that year. He looked like a legitimate prospect for his first 19 pro fights, but this was where he had a chance to show his skills to a wider audience, and against a better class of opponent in Velez, a former world title challenger.
Diaz (20-0, 11 KO) was sharper and faster from the opening bell, and began to impose his will somewhat in the second round, especially, dominating the next few rounds with a good left hand up top and a consistent right hook to the body. His speed advantage was very clear, and the biggest thing he had going for him in the matchup, allowing him to outland Velez significantly while actually throwing less total punches, according to CompuBox.
Diaz landed 245 of 658 (37%) punches, with Velez at 161 of 685 (24%). Diaz landed 51% (220 of 429) of his power punches.
Velez (23-2-1, 16 KO) did make a small rally in the middle rounds, as Diaz began to fade just a bit, showing some signs of fatigue and working with a couple of small cuts. But Diaz closed the fight nicely in the 10th, too, landing a series of hard shots, upping his work rate again, and making sure he put a stamp on the fight. All in all, the HBO debut couldn't have gone much better for Diaz.
Velez, 28, has now lost two straight.