By Michael Norby: Undefeated junior welterweight Victor Cayo scored a huge step up victory on Friday night after he out-pointed former two time lightweight world champion Julio Diaz over ten entertaining rounds at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, USA.
Cayo 23-0 (15) a slippery, cocky and awkward competitor, fought brightly throughout the contest and presented a style that the brave former champion struggled to cope with. The young Dominican, hands by his side, scored regularly with a wide array of punches and, although there were some fiery exchanges between the two, it was clear that he was the cleaner and more effective puncher.
It’s been a tough couple of years for Diaz 36-6 (26), the former 135lb world title holder, and his career at the top of the sport had been hanging from a thread before tonight. He was easily in the driver’s seat in his last fight against Rolando Reyes last April before he got caught in the fifth round and suffered an upset stoppage defeat. Although he fought bravely this evening, after this deflating loss, it’s difficult to envision a passage back to the elite for the 29-year-old.
Cayo, a slender and unorthodox fighter, scored with his left hook early on as Diaz aggressively moved to the inside behind his jab to begin the first round. The Dominican connected with a pair of uppercuts thrown from the outside but the 22-year-old’s awkwardness was bothering the former world champion, who managed to land little of consequence until a sneaky left hook downstairs found its mark late in the round.
Both fighters traded healthy right hands to begin the second but it was Diaz this time that got the better of the action as he landed a big, leaping left hook at the minute mark. Cayo responded with a hastily authored response but Diaz scored with another tasty left hook midway through as the action started to heat up. The Mexican pounced in the closing stages of the round and backed up his opponent with a string of punches but a right hook by Cayo at the bell staggered Diaz.
Cayo’s speed was beginning to tell in the third and he landed combinations upstairs regularly throughout the first half of the frame. Diaz, who had by now recovered from the right hook at the end of the previous round, jumped in and out in the final minute and connected with a string of straight right hands. Both guys switched regularly and effortlessly between southpaw and orthodox styles but it was Cayo, to this point, who looked like the better fighter regardless of stance.
Diaz improved greatly in the fourth and met his opponent punch for punch throughout the frame. He stung Cayo with another perfectly timed leaping left hook midway through and a straight right hand later in the frame again stunned the young unbeaten fighter as the contest entered the middle rounds.
Over the next couple of rounds, Diaz was able to score more often on the inside with short digging punches to the body, supported by clean hooks upstairs. When any semblance of punching room was established, however, Cayo was able to tighten the round with well placed sequences to the head.
Cayo began the seventh with a slew of hard and accurate punches and he throttled up as the round progressed. To his credit, Diaz answered and traded with the younger man consistently in a fierce exchange in the center of the ring. The Mexican forced Cayo to the ropes in the closing seconds of the round and made up some of the deficit with a decent flurry of punches to close the round.
Cayo’s confidence was solid, however, and, as the fight entered the final stages, he was moving well with both hands at his side before unleashing quick combinations as Diaz moved forward. The Dominican’s punches were cleaner and harder and he staggered his man at the end of the eighth with a beautifully thrown left hook at the bell.
The distance between the two both in terms of effectiveness and, surely, on the scorecards, widened in the final two rounds. Diaz fought bravely but Cayo was able to pick him off as the Mexican made his way inside and sailed to the final bell and a deserved victory.
Scores: 97-93; 96-94; 98-92
In heavyweight action, Puerto Rican big man Derric Rossy easily out-boxed and subsequently defeated Costa Rican Carl Drummond by unanimous decision over ten lopsided rounds.
The fight was contested in strategic fashion initially as both guys seemed a little apprehensive in the opening round. They traded jabs and occasionally swapped brief combinations but neither fighter took control of the frame. Rossy 22-2 (12) stepped it up a little a round later and connected with a string of right hands and a classy right uppercut as Drummond 26-2 (20) elected to cover up.
Rossy enjoyed continued success over the next handful of rounds by boxing extremely well from the outside. Drummond was slow and predictable and his opponent, whilst not exactly explosive, scored easily with both hands – pocketing round after round as the Costa Rican labored forward without success.
Rossy was clearly the bigger man but it was his movement, speed and overall boxing game that easily trumped the anemic effort of Drummond throughout the second half of the contest. Despite late spurts of activity by Drummond (including one in the eighth round that threatened to make the fight interesting after the Costa Rican landed a heavy left hook to the body) the 29-year-old Rossy was coasting as the fight entered the stretch.
Another big body shot by Drummond midway through the ninth bothered his opponent but Rossy answered with a right uppercut that straightened Drummond’s legs. From then forward Rossy comfortably boxed his way to the finish line to pick up the victory.
Scores: 99-91; 99-91; 99-91