ESPN2 results: Joseph Diaz Jr. knocks out Victor Terrazas, calls out Gary Russell Jr.
Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. quickly got Victor Terrazas out of his way once landing a knockout body shot in the third round and made his path toward a featherweight world title shot clearer than ever. Televised on ESPN2 on Thursday night, the fight was the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card held at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
Diaz, 26-0 (14), started and ended Terrazas’ night with a left hand to the body. Fighting out of his southpaw stance, Diaz, South El Monte, California, probably knew beforehand that he had the big advantage in youth and speed but he proved it in the opening moments by working off the right jab, while keeping his feet moving. Diaz used his speed and positioning to dig into his power left and the first clean one to Terrazas’ gut had him wincing and knocked down. The shot sent him to his knees, and after barely beating referee Edward Hernandez Sr.’s 10-count, he got up only to be peppered again for another knockdown moments later. The second one was a left to the chin but Terrazas, 38-5-2 (25), came back in the second with some body shots in return. However the shifty lefty was never in any danger and had the ability to land any shot he pleased. In the third, he found a way to lean into another precise left to the body and Terrazas curdled upright on his knees again, not able to get up again.
In the post-fight interview, Diaz had a message for the WBC featherweight titleholder Gary Russell Jr.
“Gary, let’s make the fight happen,” Diaz said. “Enough playing games, enough running, let’s sign the contract. I’m ready; I know you’re ready. Let’s give the fight fans what they want to see. Let’s give them a good fight.”
Diaz, 25, currently sits as the No. 1 contender in the WBC rankings, and holds a mandatory shot at the title.
In the swing bout, Rey Perez earned a wide unanimous decision win over Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez after eight rounds of lightweight action.
Perez, 22-9 (6), a 27-year-old gym fighter out of Los Angeles, didn’t have a tough time finding his right hand against a fighter who didn’t have the wherewithal to move his head. Gonzalez, 18-2 (15), got caught early and often and the shots landed on him affected much of the return fire he was trying to land. The Buena Park, California, native came out urgently in the second but a counter left hook stunned him to the ropes and into a beating to end the round. The two stood toe-to-toe through the middle rounds in some sluggish yet competitive action with very few jabs involved. Over the extent of the middle rounds, Gonzalez was cut twice on his left eyebrow and complained of headbutts in the late rounds. Perez had the quicker hands all night and minded his defense. Gonzalez, who had gained some steam in 2016 with explosive knockout wins until his knockout loss to Romero Duno last year, ended the fight getting battered around, as if he never learned from that eye-opening night.
In the opening bout of the ESPN2 card, Vergil Ortiz Jr. kept his record perfect after forcing a third round stoppage of Jesus Alvarez. The junior welterweight contest was scheduled for eight.
“Honestly I think this is probably my worst fight ever,” the 19-year-old prospect candidly said in the post-fight interview. “I give myself like a D, maybe.”
Undefeated super lightweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. (left) lands a left hand en route to a third round technical knockout victory over Jesus Alvarez (right) on February 22, 2018 from Fantasy Spring Resort Casino in Indio, California. Photo credit: Derrick Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Ortiz, 9-0 (9), grades himself on a wildly curved scale because the Dallas, Texas native looked nothing like a near-failure. Armed with a busy and poignant jab, Ortiz knocked Alvarez down in the opening round with a right hand to the chin. Alvarez, Sinaloa, Mexico, was flattened to his backside from a right he didn’t see and considering he hadn’t thrown a punch for about 30 seconds leading up to the knockdown, it seemed all but over. Alvarez, 15-4 (11), got up and fought back to finish the round, showing enough grit in the second to make Ortiz press his punches. The jab had gone away for a bit, in that second round, as he sought a knockout he thought he should’ve gotten in the first. Ortiz did find a new way to hurt Alvarez by the end, however, once exploiting the body with hard left hooks. Alvarez had just been stunned on the ropes in the third when Ortiz trapped him there and wailed lefts and rights. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. decided to step in once Alvarez was shelled up but Ortiz still wasn’t content.
“Because I know that that would not cut it in a world title fight,” Ortiz said, holding his first regional belt. “What I performed today was not how I should look.”