Joseph Diaz Jr missed weight on Friday and couldn’t retain his IBF junior lightweight title, but Shavkat Rakhimov didn’t get the judges going his way to take it for himself either, leaving the 130-pound belt vacant after a majority draw on DAZN.
Judges had the fight 114-114, 114-114, and 115-113, the last card for Diaz. Bad Left Hook scored the bout 116-112 and 116-112 on separate cards, both giving the fight to Diaz, for what that’s worth. DAZN’s Chris Mannix had it 114-114.
Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KO) was nearly four pounds overweight on Friday, but it didn’t seem to really affect his performance in the ring, though that’s often the case, especially when fighters don’t try to make weight a second time with any further draining over a couple of hours. (In this case, since Diaz was over two pounds past the limit, the commission doesn’t allow a later attempt to weigh in.)
Diaz did make the IBF’s second-day weight check like normal, for what it’s worth, as did Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12 KO), the 26-year-old Russian getting his first crack at a world title.
The fight was fought at a solid tempo, though maybe with less sustained action than would have been hoped going in. A good fight, but never fully took off, and it was even on the stats, for what that’s worth. Nobody did any major damage, the fight didn’t have much huge drama, but it was well-fought and both proved their quality, albeit Diaz will leave with the asterisk here no matter what.
Diaz landed 233 of 740 (32%) of his total punches compared to CompuBox, and 193 of 468 (41%) of his power shots. Rakhimov landed 213 of 951 (22%) overall and 169 of 536 (32%) power punches, so Diaz was more accruate, while Rakhimov threw more. Diaz seemed to land most of the fight’s harder shots, too, the more telling blows.
Diaz, defiant in the ring and looking to put the best foot he could forward, was also defiant in his post-fight interview with DAZN’s Beto Duran. He said, of course, that he felt he’d done enough to win, but also discussed his reported out of ring issues — he called those “bullshit” from “greedy Don King motherfuckers” — and also didn’t say he was disappointed at not making weight, complaining about the set-up at the Fantasy Springs.
“I’m not disappointed at all. I know who I am. I work hard, man, I’m a hard worker. I’m a disciplined fighter,” Diaz said.
“It just wasn’t my night. I couldn’t make the weight like I used to. They don’t have no sauna here, they had me walking around my room with the fucking heater on. It was completely different to how a professional, world title fight should be. I had to try to adapt to it, but my body just felt weak and I couldn’t do it. My health is more important. I still came out here and fought, and I’m not gonna risk my life trying to make the weight, really deplete myself and get hurt in the ring. There’s no need to fucking please anybody. I’m doing this for myself and my family. That’s the person that I need to look out for, myself and nobody else.”
It has to be said that Rakhimov had the same conditions in the final days that Diaz did, and made weight without issue, as did the other fighters on the card. What you take from Diaz’s statements will be up to you, but my guess is he won’t have endeared himself to fans — I would also guess he does not care about that.
Joseph Diaz lands a BIG left, but it doesn't phase Rakhimov. pic.twitter.com/A2GN6G3KWF— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 14, 2021
Diaz and Rakhimov exchange blows in the 8th pic.twitter.com/Q7YpHa9JAk— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 14, 2021
Brian Castano UD-12 Patrick Teixeira
Castano (17-0-1, 12 KO) was the challenger here, but a heavy favorite, and the reasons why played out in the ring. With due respect to Teixeira (31-2, 22 KO), who is tough as hell and did have the WBO belt, he was one of the weakest titleholders in the sport, winning an interim title against an also-unproven fringe contender in 2019, then being elevated when Jaime Munguia moved up in weight.
Castano simply outclassed Teixeira here, winning on scores of 117-111, 119-109, and 120-108, and Bad Left Hook had it 119-109 on two separate cards, both myself and Wil giving Teixeira the first round and then nothing after.
Castano may now be headed for an undisputed title fight at 154 against WBC, WBA, and IBF titlist Jermell Charlo, because both are PBC fighters, with Castano fighting on the Golden Boy card here because he was a mandatory challenger, and Golden Boy won the purse bid. He’s probably underdog against Charlo, but that’s about as good a fight as you can make at 154 now, too, and not just because of the belts. Castano is a very good fighter, was arguably a bit unlucky to only get a draw with Erislandy Lara in 2019, and also has a strong win over Michel Soro from 2017, where he went on the road to France and won a decision against a good fighter, not at all easy to do.
Teixeira absolutely gave this fight a game effort, and was trying the whole way, but he just wasn’t in Castano’s league overall. Both guys were busy, but Castano was busier and more accurate, and landed a lot more power punches. CompuBox saw Castano landing 373 of 1,136 (33%) of his total punches, and 344 of 927 (37%) of his power shots, with Teixeira at 197 of 972 (20%) overall, and 149 of 588 (25%) on his power punches.
Ronny Rios UD-10 Oscar Negrete
Kind of a disappointing fight for me as a fan, I thought there might be more fire, more exchanges in this one. But this was a good, consistent, well-executed fight from Rios (33-3, 16 KO), who has really come back strong in his career and is now very relevant in the 122-pound division, a guy who could easily fight for a title again.
Negrete (19-3-2, 7 KO) was coming up in weight here, and the 33-year-old Colombian-American had been on a good run of form himself, going a disputed 0-1-2 in three fights with Joshua Franco and then beating Alberto Melian about a year ago.
But Rios controlled this fight front-to-back, winning on scores of 99-91, 100-90, and 100-90. Bad Left Hook also had it 100-90 for Rios, who out-landed Negrete nearly 2-to-1 (290-150) overall, and over 2-to-1 (268-118) in power shots. Rios did some excellent work to the body, landing 125 total body shots compared to 29 from Negrete.
Rios wasn’t all smiles after the fight, though, feeling he could have performed better.
“I want to improve myself,” Rios said. “Today I give myself a C, I’m hard on myself and I could have done a lot better. Negrete is so tough, but I have to go review the tape. No one’s harder on themself than me!”
Asked where he wants to go next, Rios pointed out unified WBA and IBF titleholder Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who is with Matchroom and DAZN, and could be a relatively easy fight to make.
“That’s a fight I want,” Rios said. “If we can make that happen, let’s go ahead, but if not, anyone who has a belt. Whoever is considered the toughest.”
- Shane Mosley Jr TKO-5 Cristian Olivas: This one was stopped after the fifth round, as referee Thomas Taylor had rightly seen enough, and Olivas’ corner were ready stop it, too, as Olivas clearly couldn’t see out of his battered left eye anymore. Olivas (20-8, 17 KO) gave this the best effort he could on short notice, replacing Jason Quigley, but he couldn’t really get much going. He did OK in the first couple rounds, but once Mosley (17-3, 10 KO) warmed up and did some damage, he zeroed in and finished strong. Olivas, 29, is a tough dude, had never been stopped before, and he wasn’t gonna quit or go down easy, but the 30-year-old Mosley just took him apart. Good performance from the second-generation fighter, who — if we’re honest — is never going to be confused with his dad, but is a game, tough, hard-working guy who has fought through adversity and become a better fighter learning on the job as a pro.
Shane Mosley Jr. gives Olivas his first loss by stoppage. pic.twitter.com/5ZG1DISY2Q— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 14, 2021
- Bektemir Melikuziev TKO-3 Morgan Fitch: Easy night’s work for Melikuziev (7-0, 6 KO), who was meant to fight Sergey Kovalev in late January in Russia, before Kovalev failed a PED test. So Melikzuiev, the 24-year-old southpaw super middleweight/light heavyweight from Uzbekistan, took a pretty drastic step down in relevance for his debut fight of 2021, with respect to Fitch (19-5-1, 8 KO), who took this on short notice. This is Fitch’s fifth loss in his last six fights, and once he started feeling Melikuziev’s power, that was about it. Fitch, 37, had taken a knee already in the third, and took one again after a body shot that may well have strayed low, but he wasn’t arguing with referee Jack Reiss about the stoppage, either. This was a blowout, which was expected.