The CyberBoxingZone News
Diaz Dazzles Ward for Win
|JD Vena from Ringside
|MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT RESERVATION- In the co-featured
event on the Prince Naseem Hamed & Augie Sanchez featherweight
battle, Antonio Diaz, of Coachella, CA, out-hustled a streaking
"Irish" Micky Ward, of Lowell, MA, over ten
action-filled rounds in a clash of top jr. welterweight
contenders. Though Diaz (rated 1st by the CBZ) and Ward
(rated 5th by the CBZ) hold lightly regarded world titles, the two
were hoping that a win would solidify their reputations as the
most fearsome challengers to the likes of Kostya Tszyu, Zab Judah
and Sharmba Mitchell.
The win for Diaz all but assured a match with
Tszyu, which is well deserved before beating Ward last night in
front of many Ward's supporters. In a rare match-up, Ward
and Diaz engaged in a fight that probably would not have needed to
take place in order to obtain a shot against one of the three
alphabet champions. Their fight, in many ways was a throw
back to the days when contenders fought contenders to earn title
shots. Both had already beaten many top-notch opponents over
the past few years to earn such consideration.
Last night, Diaz was more than Ward, a high
standard to say the least. Since his decision loss to Zab
Judah, the current IBF champion, Ward had won two crucial career
victories over Reggie Green (rated 8th by the CBZ) and Shea Neary
(rated 9th by the CBZ). These victories would not have been
possible without Ward's devastating power and his newfound
self-belief. Trailing in both fights, Ward won each fight by
dramatic knockout, which is why his contest with Diaz, a more
fundamentally sound fighter, was so intriguing. Diaz, 141,
happened to show just as much courage in besting Ward, 140, last
In a cautious 1st round, Ward out-jabbed Diaz,
who like Ward, is a notoriously slow starter.
"I was a little lazy," said Ward.
"Then, I tried to fight inside and just couldn't do it."
Diaz was able to win many of those inside
battles because of his high work rate. When the two were in
the trenches, Diaz seemed to throw his punches first and then
wisely move out of harm's way before Ward could unleash with his
vaunted body assault. On some occasions, Ward was successful
in landing those crippling blows but not before absorbing some of
Diaz' body blows and uppercuts. Diaz, fought a much better
fight than in his last fight, a close, 12 round decision win over
unheralded Omar Weis. It was his fight against Weis where
some felt that Ward would be too much for Diaz.
"Coming into this fight, I knew I was
facing a tough Micky Ward," said Diaz. "I knew
what his strengths and his best punches were. When I fought
Omar Weis, he was the third opponent they had changed for that
date. I had no idea who I was fighting. Weis had never
fought out of Argentina and I got a little overconfident.
Tonight, I knew what I was in for, a tough fight with Micky Ward."
The fight got tougher for Diaz during the last
two rounds when Ward's determination coupled with his ferocity
drove him to outwork Diaz, though judges did not award Ward for
his efforts. Despite his marvelous efforts as the effective
aggressor, Micky earned only one of those rounds on the judges'
scorecards. Diaz would win by final tallies of 96-93 twice
by Tom Kazmarek and Melvina Lathan and 95-94 (the CBZ's score) by
Glen Feldman. One point was deducted from Diaz by referee
Steve Smoger in the 7th round after Diaz landed his third low blow
Ward, who's record slipped to 35-10 with 26
knockouts, was taken to nearby Backus Hospital to be stitched
where his left eye connected to his nose. Diaz also received
a deep cut over his left eye and had many nice things to say about
his rugged opponent last night. Both cuts were the result of
thrashing punches thrown by both combatants.
"Micky has so far been one my toughest
fights," said the victor. "I hit him with
everything and he took it and gave it right back. I think
that Kostya Tszyu will be an easier fight because he'll be right
there for me."
The win brought Diaz' record to an impressive
33-2, with 24 KO's and 2 no-contests. Ward is now another
impressive name on Diaz' respectable resume but, if none of the
champions are willing to offer Diaz a title shot, don't expect him
to just sit back and wait.
"If you want to become a true champion,
then you'll fight who ever is put in front of you," said
Diaz. "I'll fight who ever it takes to become champion,
I just want the opportunity."
For true contenders like Antonio Diaz and
"Irish" Micky Ward, that's all you can expect.
Earlier in the evening, Quaker City, CT
prospect, Liz Mueller, 133, improved her record to 5-0 with 2
knockouts when she decisioned her toughest opponent, Jane Couch,
134, of Lancashire, England. Mueller used her aggressive
style to befuddle the experienced Couch who had lost for only the
third time in 16 fights.
Veteran, Agapito Sanchez, 125, of La Victoria,
Dominican Republic won hard fought 10 round unanimous decision
over Juan Carlos Ramirez, 128, of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Sanchez is now 32-7-1, with 19 KO's while Ramirez fell to 21-3
with 9 KO's.
In last night's swing bout, Massachusetts
Heavyweight Champion, Dan Conway, 236, of South Boston lost a
4-round unanimous decision to Warsaw, Poland native, Albert
Sosnowski. The mechanical, Sosnowski, 218, was able to fend
off Conway's amateurish (to put it nicely) swings and land a fair
number of his own to issue Conway's 4th loss in 16 contests.
Sosnowski improved to 17-0 with 9 KO's.
Promoter - Prince Promotions
Network - HBO
Judges - Clark Sammartino, William Hutt, Luis Pabon, Tom Kazmarek,
Glenn Feldman and Melvina Lathan.
Referees - Steve "Double S" Smoger and Michael Ortega
Ringside Physician - Michael Schwartz, M.D.
Timekeeper - Lou Dell