Holt flattens David Diaz, Oscar Diaz edges Gonzales
At Ringside Alex Pierpaoli (February 11, 2005) 
Kendall Holt lands on Diaz
Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli
The twenty odd feet of canvas in Foxwoods Fox Theater has seen its share of blood-and-guts combat, lackluster mismatches and even the occasional, bizarrely abbreviated professional fight. But last Friday night the crowd gathered in Ledyard, CT was treated to a little bit of everything.

The best action fights of the night were appropriately saved for last, and for Showtime’s airwaves on their Sho-Box telecast which gives up and coming fighters a chance to shine on the pay network. All four junior welterweight fighters in the co-featured main event used the live-televised opportunity to show fans their best; and in this instance rematches of either bout, or both, would be just fine with the thrilled fans on site.

The first bout to air on Sho-Box pitted Chicago’s Oscar Diaz against San Antonio’s Al “Speedy” Gonzales. Speedy Gonzales more than lived up to his nickname with rapid fire bursts of cracking punches to the head and body of the pressuring Oscar Diaz and the crowd didn’t have to wait for the action to heat up. Standing in center ring both men ripped power punches into each other with murderous intent and neither relented. By the end of the first Gonzalez had landed crisp combinations including a sizzling triple left hook but Diaz’ crowding pressure got the better of the round.

When Gonzales was able to keep the fight off the ropes he was in charge, landing cleaner punches against Diaz. When Diaz was able to press the fight into the ropes, he could keep Gonzales pinned there with pressure and with borderline tactics like using his forearm to drive Gonzales back, and hitting him low on the hips to reduce his movement. An accidental head butt opened a gash over the left eye of Gonzales in the fourth, which made him fight on with renewed vigor.

As the rounds ground on the action stayed heated with both fighters giving as well as they got. Gonzales’ corner worked hard to keep the eye under control between rounds while they shouted and urged Speedy to pour it on during them. In the other corner Tommy Brooks and Lou Duva kept Diaz pressuring and pressuring and both fighters exchanged championship quality blows which had the crowd roaring throughout.

When it’s over the decision is unanimous in favor of Diaz, though this writer felt Gonzales was clearly the victor. With the win Diaz’ record improves to 19-1 (11) while Al Speedy Gonzales falls to 16-2-1 (7).

In Show-Box’s other feature Kendall Holt and David Diaz waged an equally thrilling war in the familiar mold of boxer-versus-puncher, with Holt as boxer and Diaz as the puncher.

After being dropped briefly in the first by a snappy left-right from the southpaw Holt, David Diaz seemed to get stronger as the rounds rolled past. While Holt used movement and his longer arms to score on the outside, Diaz kept working hard to close the distance, walking Holt down and scoring on the inside with chopping hooks and ripping uppercuts.

In the seventh Diaz corners Holt and puts him on the canvas just before the bell but in the ensuing round both men are at it again trading blows. With his back to the ropes, Kendall Holt began ripping power shots at David Diaz, landing with terrifying accuracy. When several hooks go temporarily unanswered and Diaz tips back with his mouth open ref. Charles Dwyer steps forward to stop the action. Just as the fight was stopped it seemed clear that Diaz was not as hurt as first appeared and was throwing punches as Dwyer pulled Holt out of range and halted the bout at 2:26 of round eight.

With no disrespect intended towards Kendall Holt it was a slightly premature stoppage that gave him his spectacular win and a rematch should certainly be considered as worthwhile. Kendall Holt is now 18-1 (12) while David Diaz loses his first pro fight and falls to 26-1 (14).

In other action, junior middleweight Jason LeHoullier remained unbeaten after a 6 round unanimous decision win over Daniel Neal in the night’s first bout. LeHoullier improves to 15-0(7) while Neal drops to 8-7-1(2).

Mike Torres easily defeated the uninspired Rashaan Blackburn, who seemed more content to grin at Torres behind his gloves rather than throw any punches. With Torres swinging away and hurting Blackburn with every landed punch, referee Dan Schiavone had seen enough and stopped the bout at 1:43 of the third. Torres is now 4-0 (2), while Blackburn falls to 7-33-2(3).

Heavyweights Dan Whetsel, 4-3-1 (2), and Greg McWhirter, 2-3 (2), entertained the crowd with a wild and aggressive fight that lacked for any artistry. Whetsel landed several big uppercuts to send McWhirter down in the fifth when the fight was stopped at the 15 second mark.

Maxell Taylor, 10-1 (3), of Baltimore, stopped Philadelphia’s Sergio Melendez, 5-2 (3), at 2:09 of Round number 1.

Isaac Hlatshwayo, 20-0 (9) of South Africa, was just starting to land long straight punches on his opponent, Marty Robbins, 19-24-1(15), when the two cracked heads accidentally. Robbins got the worst of the butt and the fight was stopped between rounds due to a cut high on Robbins forehead that bled profusely. The bout was declared a no contest.
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