|Juan Diaz defeats Michael Katsidis
By Vikram Birring at ringside for DoghouseBoxing (Sept 8, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
Michael Katsidis raised his arms as he walked towards his corner after the eleventh round. As he sat, his cornermen told him he was winning his lightweight match against former champion Juan Diaz.
This seemed to be an odd assertion, for though he gave a game effort and landed some startling blows, Diaz had beaten Katsidis to the punch since the opening round.
Katsidis stalked constantly, and landed his share of telling shots, but Diaz always answered with precise, accurate punches, at one point even landing a breathtaking seven-punch combination.
A lesser man would have given in to Katsidis’s powerful body shots and head snapping punches. With each punch, it was as if Katsidis put the power of God in them, as he swung for the heavens every time.
But Diaz had been down this road before. Lakva Sim hit him with everything but the kitchen sink. Acelino Freitas repeatedly reddened his face with his vaunted right cross. Fernando Angulo took out the frustration of being lost in an Ecuadorian jungle for years alone with his fists.
It is not how a man acts when things are good that shows his character. It is how he responds when falling down, when defeated, when things go wrong, when one’s true colors are displayed.
Diaz did what he always does, he dug deep, and every time Katsidis landed, Diaz responded with fists of fury, first to the body, then to the head, to the resounding cheers of his hometown crowd. Diaz was not just answering to a man who stared him down in a Roman Gladiator’s mask before the match began, but to a line of critics who jumped on him after his loss to Nate Campbell in March. He wanted his champion status back, and let the world know with each passing second against Katsidis.
As they touched gloves before the twelfth, both fighters knew that despite thoughts of leads on scorecards and possible victory hanging in the balance, boxing judges can be trusted no more than used car salesmen, and they let their fists fly for the final one hundred eighty seconds of the bout.
Michael Buffer read a shockingly close, but in the end, acceptable scorecard. Diaz won a split decision: 113-115, 116-112, 115-113. He had made the correct move in going for it all in the last round; had he not the match may have ended up a draw.
Questions or comments,
e-mail Vikram at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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