Photo by Hogan Photos
On Saturday, May 6, 2017, Joseph Diaz Jr. (24-0, 13 KOs) scored a ten-round unanimous decision victory against Manuel Avila (22-1, 8 KOs) to retain his NABF Featherweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The fight opened the HBO pay-per-view broadcast that was headlined by the Mexican showdown between Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
Diaz, 24, won by fight by being quicker and smarter both on in the inside and the outside, though the earlier rounds were tentative for both fighters as Avila, 25, pushed forward and forced Diaz to be careful.
“My plan going in was to feel him out and be smart,” said Diaz, who began the fight by working his straight left hand and counter right hook from the outside. The native of South El Monte, California was more methodical and did not throw as many punches as one is used to seeing him throw.
Avila tried to push forward, but the size and reach advantage of the Vallejo, California proved unhelpful as his punches were wilder and too slow for the more elusive Diaz.
“Once I had him figured him out, I knew I could keep digging at him with my jab and do work,” said Diaz.
Indeed, by Rounds 8 and 9, Diaz had finally found his rhythm and began landing combinations more consistently. Diaz even seemed on the verge of dropping Avila, hurting him with hard shots while Avila reeled back to the ropes.
Though he did not get the finish, Diaz
“Next up, I’m looking for a world title shot,” said Diaz, and there is some speculation that perhaps the title shot could be against Oscar Valdez. That fight would be very lucrative in California.
“My timing wasn’t there; I felt like this was a learning experience,” said Avila.
“I need to learn how to pick up the pace in between rounds. Our styles were off and I felt like it could have been a better fight,” said Avila.
What did you think of Diaz’s performance? Let us know in the comments section below.
Gabe Rivas has written for Round By Round Boxing since July of 2013. He studies Literature and Philosophy, tutors English, and teaches Boxing. Follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @GabeRivas03.