Body Blows: Freitas/Diaz

It was youth versus experience last weekend as Acelino Freitas postponed his retirement to defend his WBO Lightweight Title against 23-year-old Juan Diaz and his WBA Lightweight Title in a unification bout. Freitas announced his retirement last year but changed his mind one week later. While Freitas was considering retirement, Diaz was studying for finals. Juan Diaz is a senior at the University of Houston and is set to graduate next month. It’s fair to say that Acelino Freitas will be his toughest test to date.

Acelino Freitas vs. Juan Diaz

This was a fun fight. Freitas has held world titles in two weight classes and is known for his combination of power and boxing ability. He’s also known for quitting against Diego Corrales, his only loss, but Freitas would rather everyone forget about that. Freitas needed to use his counter-punching ability to thwart the constant motor from Juan Diaz. Diaz isn’t the strongest puncher but the punches take their toll when thrown in bunches.

Juan Diaz ended up setting the pace, which was non-stop, but Freitas didn’t take advantage of the holes Diaz left in his defense. Freitas seemed to be waiting for Diaz to stop punching before he started his offense but Diaz never gave him that chance. Freitas was caught on the ropes quite often during the fight and Diaz took advantage.

The early pace seemed to tire Freitas who was dazed by a shot from Diaz in the fifth. He weathered the storm but never fully recovered. There were glimpses of a Freitas comeback but he never capitalized on his big punches, most likely due to being worn out. He needed follow-up shots to his power connects but they weren’t there for Freitas. Diaz not only showed great stamina but also great recovery as Freitas landed some big shots to the young Mexican. In the end, Freitas’ corner could see their fighter had nothing left and was just taking unnecessary punishment and stopped the fight before the ninth round could get underway.

Diaz is the youngest current world champion and also laid down one of the finer post-fight quotes when he said, “My corner kept telling me to use my jab because it was effective, but my inner Mexican kept coming out.”

His inner Mexican helped him defeat on of the greatest Brazilian boxers of all-time. It’s a bit of a sad ending for Freitas as both of his losses have come via quitting. I understand not wanting to risk permanent physical damage when you know you can’t win but having the stigma of a quitter isn’t good in boxing. This may force Freitas back into retirement. Maybe even two weeks this time. Diaz, on the other hand, has a bright future but let’s hope he stays in school and gets his degree. Nobody likes a quitter.

Other Results From The Week

– Jason Litzau acts like a prick in the ring but always produces compelling fights. Litzau rolled through Aldo Valtierra on ESPN Wednesday Night Fights to earn a unanimous decision. Litzau is back on the winning track after stumbling in his last fight with Jose Hernandez.

– British cruiserweight David Haye made quick work of Tomasz Bonin, winning by TKO in the first round.

– Darling Jiminez knocked out Mike Anchondo in the third round.

– William Joppy picked up a win over Virgil McClendon win McClendon retired after the first round.

– Sergio Martinez won the WBC Light Middleweight Eliminator over Saul Roman with a bonafide KO in the 4th round.

– Ivan Calderon made his last WBO Minimumweight Title defense a successful one as he got a narrow win over Ronald Barrera. Calderon is moving up to light flyweight.

– Ricardo Torres successfully defended his WBO Light Welterweight Title with an easy unanimous decision victory over Arturo Morua

– Felix Sturm took the WBA Middleweight Title back from Javier Castillejo with a close unanimous decision. I don’t think the boxing world is clamoring for Sturm-Castillejo III but neither guy has anything better to do.

– Stipe Drews got his receipt on Silvio Branco to win the WBA Light Heavyweight Title by unanimous decision. Branco beat Drews in 2003.