5/19/2018-Nat’l Harbor, Md.- If the sight impaired people called Lomachenko-Linares a FOTY candidate, what did they think of last night’s thriller between Gary Russell Jr. (28-1-17K),WBC featherweight boss and El Monte’s JoJo Diaz Jr. (26-0-14K? IMO opinion last night’s war was a no brainer.
Going into this match, I figured the extremely talented but inactive champion would out speed and stop the top contender in eight rounds. I was deemed “crazy” by my fight friends. “Boxing Don, you’re WAY off on this one”. To me, their best hope was for Diaz to catch Russell slipping due to inactivity. Russell’s like Haley’s comet
Early on, it looked like Russell’s hand and foot speed was gonna’ send JoJo home early. Flashing uncanny and accurate sets at Diaz, Gary was definitely on point. Diaz seemed blinded by the lightening fast fusillade of punches sent his way. He looked like that proverbial ‘deer in the head lights’ for the first three rounds. Russell didn’t seem to be hurting the youngster but he had no issues ‘finding’ him. It seemed whenever he got close, Diaz had to kinda’ figure out what to do next, giving Russell time to either tie him up or scoot away. (Who “ scoots”?) Now, I know the time zone in Crab City is different from Taco Town, and suddenly in round four, Diaz got his ‘the party’s already started, JoJo’ call, THEN it became a fight, for real. Pre fight, Diaz proclaimed to be the bigger man and would “walk down Russell”. He’s walking, all right, but eating shots, as well. JoJo started locating Gary’s rib cage and was digging deep, slowing Gary’s roll. I started wondering when this shit was gonna’ start registering because I KNOW Russell was feeling those digs. For the next few rounds Diaz thought he’d found the secret to success.
JoJo was digging hard for the next few rounds and occasionally landed upstairs as well. Man, this shit was getting’ GOOD. Gary wasn’t being given time to rest as Diaz was like a robot, plowing forward in search of more ribs. IN THE SEVENTH, WITH Gary still firing away, it looked like Diaz realized he’s done the best he could do and was slowing down his output, a bad thing against a guy with Gary’s skills. Whenever Russell would send his missiles Diaz’s way, he found little resistance as Diaz was on ‘pause’ too long. His crew realized the time off didn’t impact the way Gary would be performing this late after all those body shots and time off ( a year). In the twelfth, the affect started to show as Russell was holding a lot. When his hands were free, JoJo was nailing Gary, driving him around the ring, hurting the champ but the bell rang to end matters. The decision was unanimous but Diaz learned a lot and so did Russell. This was an excellent fight. It seemed as if Diaz Sr. didn’t find much urgency down the stretch, being too calm for me. Instead of lighting a fire under his son, he just gave him a pillow warmer. This seemed to be a time the maternal relationship failed. I don’t care WHAT people say, ‘your son is your son, NOT just another fighter’
Rematch, why, Gary’s not getting any younger and Diaz is too risky to be dealing with again. He has more room for improvement than Russell. He’ll see a lotta’ ‘what ifs’ when watching the tape. Plus, Gary said “I hurt my hand in the third round” so there goes another year delay. He claims he wants the winner of Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares hookup and if Mares wins the rematch, there will be need for a tie breaker, so we’re talking seeing Gary about 2020. Plus, there’s all those rib shots absorbed by the champ. Man, as badly as Lomachenko beat Russell in their fight, I’d LOVE to see a rematch but I can’t see Gary at ’35. Seeing Russell’s arsenal on display for twelve rounds will piss people off, KNOWING they won’t see this type of action from him for YEARS. It’s distracting watching that Hip-Hop ref trying to get around the ring. He always seems to be outta’ position and gets a little annoying, always bothering the fighters. Diaz often looked agitated when he was stopped from fighting his inside game.
In the second bout, airing from Toronto Ca., WBC light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson (29-1-24K) kept his strap in a twelve round majority draw against top contender, big talking Badou Jack (21-1-13K). Why do they act as if a ‘majority draw is any different from any other kind? A draw’s a draw, to me. I hate ANY kinda’ draw. If I pay my money and watch a 12 round fight, I wanna’ damn RESULT. My take is, if nobody won, nobody fought. I’m strange, like that.
In any event, Jack was whining his ass off about always getting the short end of the stick. He now has FOUR draws on his slate. I have a suggestion, don’t wait ‘til the seventh round to start fighting. These guys didn’t do Jack shit (or Jack the Ripper) for the first six rounds. Jack should realize those draws COULD’VE been losses. So with the the action at a virtual standstill and Al Berstein (who’s looking more and more like Grandpa on The Monsters) pleading for action, things got heated in the seventh round. The champ, who calls himself Superman wasn’t living up to his moniker. What damage done, came from body shots as lots were landed in the second half of the match. Jack knows the power carried in that left hand of the champ wasn’t gonna’ take two many chances but if that’s the case, don’t whine about draws. Jack even suggested the people scoring the fight must hate promoter Floyd Mayweather. Jack is a Mayweather fighter. So if Jack’s right, what’s he gonna’ do going forward, fight ‘unattached’ like they do in the ams?