Keith Thurman Stops Julio Diaz After Three, Matthysse Survives War with Molina

By Mike Sloan Apr 26, 2014
Keith Thurman (right) got to Julio Diaz’s body early. | Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images Sport

Rising star Keith Thurman kept his unbeaten record in tact by stopping grizzled veteran Julio Diaz after three rounds at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Thurman showed his punching prowess early and often in their Showtime Championship Boxing-televised main event, rocking the former two-time world champion repeatedly until the end finally came.

Thurman rocked Diaz with vicious straight lefts and thudding hooks to the body, but the tough Californian kept fighting back every step of the way. Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs) scored a knockdown in the second after landing a counter left hook to the temple. Diaz was also cut above the right eye after an exchange -- possibly from a clash of heads -- and was staggered several times throughout the contest. However, even after taking some serious punishment, Diaz (40-10-1, 29 KOs) fired back and rocked Thurman midway through the third. It wasn’t enough firepower, though, as Thurman returned the favor by digging a debilitating right hook to the ribs.

Unfortunately for everyone watching, the fight was over just as it was really starting to heat up. Diaz’ corner halted the bout between rounds three and four, citing a rib injury to their fighter, allowing Thurman to retain the “interim” version of the WBA welterweight title. After the bout, it was insinuated that Thurman could possibly tackle fellow undefeated 147-pound bomber Shawn Porter.

The fight that stole the show -- and quite possibly the entire year for the Sweet Science -- was the absolute war between former 140-pound titlist Lucas Matthysse and John Molina. Matthysse, who was trying to bounce back from what many consider to be the first genuine loss of his career to Danny Garcia last year, was in serious peril several times early in their encounter.

Matthysse was rocked on numerous occasions from loopy counter right hands and was felled twice; once in the second and again late in the fifth. Though the Argentinean forced Molina into a slugfest in every single round, it appeared as though his plan was going to backfire. Matthysse, known for his vaunted punching power, was not budging Molina at all, even though he was landing dozens upon dozens of clean, hard shots. On the flip side, it seemed as though every time Molina landed a crisp punch, Matthysse’s legs wobbled.

Both warriors were cut in the scuffle and as the rounds wore on, the fight became bloodier and more barbaric by the minute. They tore into each inside the proverbial phone booth, but “La Maquina” slowly turned the fight in his favor as Molina began to tire. From there, Matthysse (35-3, 33 KOs) poured on the offense, which slowly sapped the fight out of Molina. Matthysse dropped Molina (27-4, 22 KOs) once in the eighth, again in the tenth and then dramatically finished him off 22 seconds into the 11th, finally ending easily the best fight of 2014 thus far.

The Undercard

WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs) retained his title with a 12-round split decision win over Jerry Belmontes (19-4, 5 KOs). Scores were 118-110 and 116-112 for Figueroa and 115-113 for Belmontes; 2012 Olympian Yamaguchi Falcao scored a unanimous four round decision over Fernando Najera (40-36 thrice); 2012 Olympian Joseph Diaz scored a unanimous six round decision (60-54 all) over Luis Maldonado; Jermall Charlo scored a TKO at the end of the fourth of Hector Munoz; 2012 Olympian Terrell Gausha won an eight-round unanimous nod over Charles Whitaker via tallies of 80-71 on all cards; Frankie Gomez knocked out Orlando Vasquez at 1:54 of the second frame; Bryant Perella took Roberto Crespo out at 2:30 of the first; and Sharif Bogere scored a sixth round TKO (:50) over Arturo Urena.

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