Hank Lundy vs Mauricio Herrera, Joseph JoJo Diaz vs Rene Alvarado & Michael Perez vs Luis Sanchez
BY KID HERSH
HBO Latino tripleheader card from LA! First up was Rene Alvarado (22-4, 15ko's) vs Joseph Diaz Jr. (16-0, 10ko's). The blue chip prospect Diaz is now stepping up both in opponent and viewership here, since he has mostly been showcased on GBP FS1 cards in the past. I think he has massive potential after following him for a couple years now. The first round was a feeler until midway through Diaz burst out with a couple of power shots, coming from both the left and right hand. Alvarado is always game and stood his ground but got caught with a left hook that sent him to the canvas. He rose and Diaz showed serious composure in wisely not going for the kill - showing that they devised a very intelligent game plan for Alvarado, who is extremely durable and always in top shape, and likely to take most any fighter the distance and still be a threat late in fights. Alvarado came out in the second round and caught Diaz off guard by going right at him and throwing nonstop. Diaz is used to his opponents respecting his size and power but Alvarado is just a tough dude that has been around and can take what Diaz dishes out. Diaz wisely started moving and picking shots to the body. Alvarado continued his relentless pursuit in the third round and Diaz was still adjusting to it as he got caught along the ropes occasionally. He was blocking and slipping a lot of Alvarados shots and landing good counters but you can tell that this is a learning experience for the undefeated 22 year old. Alvarado's torrid pace settled down just a bit in the fourth round and Diaz upped his to appear to take control back over. Alvarado cannot keep up this pace forever and I think he was testing Diaz in hopes he would wear down, but Diaz has been wisely saving himself and still looks pretty fresh. In the fifth round there was more grueling inside fighting and Diaz clearly has taken control of the fight back by the end of the fifth as he was putting in great body work and loading up on powerful and accurate body shots that were now backing up Alvarado for the first time in the fight. The battle ensued into the sixth round where Alvarado showed that he is not going anywhere tonight and as usual came in tip top shape. Diaz on the other hand physically looks good but you can tell by his face and breathing that the fight is a first for him - I am really curious to see how he holds up going forward! Alvarado had a surge in the seventh and eighth rounds, showing his world class conditioning by outworking Diaz, who is playing more defense now and concerned with covering up to block the constant gloves flying at him. He is not looking beat up by any means but he is being tested here and so far his conditioning is passing as well as his chin. In the ninth round both fighters were a bit worn down, with the pace of fight slowed down (still probably above average output!). They laid out on the line what they had left in the tanks in the tenth and final round and then the decision came in unanimous for Diaz, who deserved the nod and really had a tough fight here that will only help him going forward with his career. He proved quite a bit and this is exactly the type of fight that brings along a prospect perfectly to the next step in becoming a star (not instantly, but great progression).
Next up was Michael Perez (22-1-2, 10ko's) vs Luis Sanchez (17-3-1, 5ko's). In the first round Perez showed that he could use his size advantage combined with his skills advantage to easily take control of the fight right away. He was jabbing effectively and hitting Sanchez with accurate shots, even hurting him at the end of the round with a powerful body shot that crumpled his legs a bit and backed him up. Sanchez did manage to land a hook to the chin of Perez early in the second round that had everything he could muster behind it, snapping Perez's head back. Unfortunately for Sanchez, who was probably banking on that to save him in this fight since the size and skill difference is so large, did not get the damage done that was needed as Perez took the shot well and went right back to easily out boxing his man. The third round was pretty quiet with Perez out boxing his man, but he did suffer a cut that caused blood to flow on his forehead from an accidental clash of heads. Perez continued the boxing lesson in the fourth round and then in the fifth round switching to hammering home the majority of his punches to Sanchez's soft body - noticeably wearing him down by the end of the round. Perez then came out swinging with a purpose in the sixth round and ended the fight a minute in with a left hand that was only a jab but Perez went down hard and couldn't continue.
Main event time with Hank Lundy (25-4-1, 12ko's) vs Mauricio Herrera (21-5, 7ko's). Both fighters were jockeying for top position as ring general in the first round, with the big thing of note coming near the very end of the round when there was an accidental clash of heads that caused a really bad cut above Herrera's right eye in a terrible spot where it was streaming straight into the eye. In the second round early on Herrera was cocking off, dropping his arms as Lundy teed off on him - something I have never seen before from the usually all-business Herrera. He showed even more frustrating near the end of the round when there was another accidental clash of heads that caused a second cut to stream blood across his face. In the third round Lundy was heavily loading up on his shots, getting very wild with his looping swings that looked very amateur. Herrera on the other hand was not throwing a whole (compared to his normal output) likely because of the blood streaming into his eyes. His defense was still plenty good enough to avoid Lundy's wild punches though. The doctor took a look at Herrera's cuts again before the fourth round and then Herrera had himself a solid round, likely because his defense was so good that the cuts above his eyes stayed shut so that he could jab Lundy and slip his punches. His success continued into the fifth round until two minutes in Herrera's right eye cut not only opened up but was very deep now, with it separating and hanging over his eye. Veteran referee Jack Reiss took one look at it, said "holy shit" and brought him over to see the doctor where the fight was stopped. Herrera would win via TD on two cards, with the third card tied. Surprised he didn't get the small stick that he usually draws!