By Derek Bonnett
The lengthy career of former world titlist Gamaliel "Platano" Diaz appears to have reached its end point at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, California, USA. The cagey veteran took on twenty-two year old prospect Robert Manzanarez in a scheduled eight round junior welterweight bout on Friday, February 17.
From the opening bell, it was clear that Diaz, who first defeated Robert Guerrero as a featherweight back in 2005 when "The Ghost" was unbeaten, did not have the balance or mobility left in his legs to compete with the much younger and fresher foe in Manzanarez. Manzanarez, born in Phoenix, Arizona, but now hailing from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, used his height to leverage his punches, but kept a rather slow, tempered pace as he felt out the more experienced Diaz in rounds one and two. Diaz leaned in, showing poor shoulder-knee relationship, and failed to land an significant punches and was easily pushed off balance for a slip in round three. Manzanrez began focusing more attention to the body late in the round and finished matters in round four with a single left hook to the body. Diaz, already broken down long before this bout from recent decision defeats to Petr Petrov, Tevin Farmer, and Emiliano Marsili, fell moments after being hit and never mounted a serious attempt to rise. The official time of the stoppage was 2:23 of round four.
Manzanarez lifted his ledger to 34-1-0 (28) in notching his greatest victory to date. Diaz, now 36, crashed to a well-worn 40-16-3 (19).