On April 26th, 2014, Keith Thurman (23-0, 21 KO) overwhelmed a past-his-best Julio Diaz, winning by 3rd round Retirement. Though the 25-year-old was the hot favorite to win, his quick beat down of Diaz, 34, still caught the attention of the California crowd.
From the opening bell it was one-way traffic, with Thurman throwing with vicious intent, showcasing his explosive speed, power and footwork. The man had clearly evolved into a lethal Welterweight contender – a coiled cobra ready to attack.
Veteran Diaz (40-10-1, 29 KO) may have been able to expose Amir Khan’s defenses previously, but Thurman’s head movement and speed of foot simply proved too much. Diaz had never planned to go head-hunting or to box from a distance, and so halfway through the opening round he began to press with his only option: countering.
His shots didn’t land, but it was still admirable to see Diaz fighting spiritedly, with no plan to simply survive each round en route to picking up his check. The man had at least come to fight.
In round 2 Thurman threw a lightning uppercut that connected with astonishing accuracy. Though Diaz was rocked, he marched forward, rolling with Thurman’s punches while trying to counter with his own. Diaz’s courage was commendable, but was never going to be enough to halt Thurman. For Diaz’s valor, he received a chopping left hook to the temple; he continued fighting, but then, being the veteran he is, decided to take a knee.
A sensible move, you might say. But Thurman now knew he had his man in trouble.
In round 3, Diaz seemed to be more comfortable with the fight’s tempo, and let his hands go during a heated exchange center ring. Diaz wasn’t able to land with enough telling blows to discourage his youthful foe, however. During the round, Diaz suffered a cut to his right eye, courtesy of a chopping right hand, and also took a huge body shot.
The cut could be soothed with Vaseline and dealt with – but the body shot could not. And it was in between rounds that Diaz’s corner subsequently pulled their man from the fight. Thurman vs Diaz was over. The crowd, who would have preferred a much more brutal ending – the epic Matthysse vs Molina undercard likely still in mind – responded with boos. (Thurman vs Diaz Highlights)
But this was arguably unjust. Diaz was no quitter, and was wincing as the result of a likely broken rib or two (given the area the debilitating punch had landed). Diaz hadn’t exactly been tickled.
It would now be preferable to see Keith Thurman move up in opposition. No one can doubt he is the real deal – he’s quite the beast at 147 pounds. But how about seeing him challenge another prime beast next, like Shawn Porter? Or if that’s too soon or risky, perhaps another top 10 Welterweight like Robert Guerrero? Now that wouldn’t be a bad scalp to obtain at all.
As long as it’s not another blown up Lightweight/Junior Welterweight (no pop at Julio Diaz intended), then the boxing fandom will be satisfied. If Thurman is the world beater he claims to be, there’s no reason his next fight shouldn’t be against a fully-fledged top 10 Welter.
As for Julio Diaz, what’s left for him? By the looks of it, he’s seen his better years in the fight game, and will likely retire as he revealed post fight. No one would enjoy seeing this former two-time world champion served up as the sacrificial lamb to another young, hungry fighter, surely. And so perhaps retirement would be for the best.
The night’s undercard featured a relentless back-and-forth war in Lucas Matthysse vs John Molina. Matthysse may have won via an 11th round TKO, but he had to rise from the trenches to secure the victory. In addition to unloading full-blooded bombs throughout, both fighters were dropped twice. Scorecards came in at 95-91, 94-92, 97-90 at the time of stoppage. Boxing Base had the fight at 95-93 for Matthysse.
Omar Figueroa also came out on top, becoming the new WBC Lightweight Champion after beating Jerry Belmontes via Split Decision. The bout was scored 116-112, 118-110, 113-115.
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