HBO results: Crawford dominates Diaz; Beltran sleeps Maicelo

Photo credit: Top Rank Inc.

 

After 10 pulverizing rounds, Terence “Bud” Crawford forced Felix Diaz’s corner to wave off the bout before the start of the 11th, earning a technical knockout victory and successfully defending his unified WBC and WBO junior welterweight titles for the second time. The fight was the main event of an “HBO World Championship Boxing” telecast held at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night.

 

Once a young man who didn’t qualify for the United States Olympic team, Crawford, 29, picked Diaz apart for the extent of the rounds completed and started to overwhelmingly do this in the fourth round. Diaz, a 2008 Olympic gold medal winner for the Dominican Republic, couldn’t get around the pumping jab of Crawford, who began and ended the fight in the southpaw stance. Diaz, a southpaw himself, did his best to get the fight on the inside, where his shorter arms would become an advantage but, by the second round, a mouse under his left eye appeared thanks to Bud’s follow-up left hands.

 

“I came out southpaw ’cause I do what I want in there,” proclaimed Crawford to HBO’s Max Kellerman in the post-fight interview. There were two moments in which his actions in the ring without punching made that true. In the sixth, there was a pause in the action, once Diaz decided to sit behind his guard against the ropes. Crawford motioned Diaz to come forward and fight. Diaz proceeded to charge forward and eventually land his best shot of the fight in the seventh. In that round, Crawford showed his tongue to Diaz, during another pause in the action, to show he wasn’t fazed and, when Diaz motioned him to come forward, Bud shook his head no.

 

WBC/WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford (left) vs. Felix Diaz. Photo credit: Top Rank Inc.

 

It’s not to say Diaz, 19-2 (9), didn’t have his moments. His right hand crept along Crawford’s chin sporadically throughout the fight and sometimes landed clean enough to make one think Crawford could feel it. Crawford showed no signs of wariness, however, and after a brutal ninth round, in which Diaz was battered to the head and hurt to the body by its end, the conscious observer could only wonder how much more Diaz could or should take. Trainer Joel Diaz could be seen giving Diaz one more round to prove he’s still in the fight and, after more of the same for three minutes, the towel was waved before Felix had a chance to sit on the stool.

 

Crawford, 31-0 (22), gave a masterful display of skill, speed and power. No other junior welterweight around could conceivably give him trouble, at the moment, and him calling out Manny Pacquiao’s name afterward was an indication of that. While he conveniently called out one welterweight – Keith Thurman (the unified WBA/WBC champion of the division, who just had elbow surgery) – there was one potential opponent sitting ringside who was clued in during the broadcast. Julius Indongo, who holds the other two unified titles at 140 pounds, smiled once he knew the camera was on him, and the Namibian has much to smile about as he’s riding an out-of-nowhere presence for the past seven months.

 

In the HBO co-feature, Ray Beltran delivered a picture-perfect second round knockout of Jonathan Maicelo that completely erased a fight that was going against him in every way.

 

Lightweight contender Ray Beltran (right) vs. Jonathan Maicelo. Photo credit: Top Rank Inc.

 

A minute in, Beltran was cut on his left eye and knocked down by a clear headbutt from a surging Maicelo in the opening round. Referee David Fields wrongfully ruled it a knockdown, with help of the timekeeper ringside and, to top it off, a right hand of Beltran’s shook Maicelo to his knees in the final seconds of the stanza but it wasn’t credited.

 

Maicelo, 25-3 (12), a Peruvian fighting out of nearby Jersey City, New Jersey, had plenty of fans cheering him on as he began to pepper Beltran with inspired lefts and rights to start the second. Beltran hid behind his guard for much of the fourth minute but he proceeded to land a left hook that would put Maicelo to sleep.

 

Just after his body folded and his head bounced off the canvas a couple times, the quivering legs of Maicelo’s unconscious body were the only signs of life as Fields immediately waved off the fight at the 1:25 mark. Meanwhile, Beltran, 35, joyously climbed the turnbuckle after administering Maicelo’s slumber.

 

The HBO telecast was hesitant to even show the knockdown immediately as Maicelo laid there unconscious but breathing. EMTs at ringside quickly brought out a neck brace and gurney to wheel him out but, perhaps a bit delirious upon his wakening, Maicelo tried to get up on his own power several times with the neck brace on. The medics even struggled to strap him in safely before finally getting him out of the ring and Maicelo eventually realized he woke from a very bad dream.

 

Beltran, 33-7-1 (21), delivers a “Knockout of the Year” candidate in an opportune time. This lightweight contest, scheduled for 12 rounds, was an IBF elimination bout, and the American immigrant from Los Mochis, Mexico puts himself first in line to face its titleholder, Robert Easter Jr.

 

 

You can reach Michael Baca II at mikebaca2@gmail.com and follow him at twitter.com/mikebaca2.

 

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