Julio Diaz was never a great fighter, and maybe he was never a very good fighter. He never beat a great fighter who was in his prime, yet Diaz had two stints as the International Boxing Federation's lightweight champion and he was fighting on the main stage for about eight years.
It's a remarkable testament to his courage, tenacity and desire that he was able to win championships and hang around as long as he did.
But he very clearly has reached the end of the line. He lost to unbeaten but hardly super prospect Victor Cayo on Friday in Hollywood, Fla., and clearly seems to have little left.
He's lost three of his last five and is getting hit by flush shots far too often now. Diaz is the type of fighter who will never shy away from contact. It is precisely that type of brave boxer who often has to be shown the door.
Diaz comes from a fighting family and hopefully, someone will do the right thing and encourage him to announce his retirement before he suffers something worse than a loss.
He's only 29, but he looked 39 in the way he fought against Cayo. And he didn't look much better in his previous outing, when he was stopped in the fifth round by journeyman Rolando Reyes.
"The Kidd," as he was known, had a great run and made the most of every ounce of his ability. It's time to say goodbye, though, while he still can.
Before we delve into the mailbag and I respond to your questions and comments, I'd like to remind you to follow me on Twitter. You can send me questions for the mailbag there or just choose to talk some boxing.
I agree with your column about the Timothy Bradley-Nate Campbell fight. It was unfair that Campbell received the loss on his record, but I also feel Campbell might have quit. It might be unfair of me to question him, but when watching him go to his corner, it just seemed to me that he wanted the fight stopped immediately because of the head butt and used it as an opportunity to get out of fighting a losing battle. Only he knows for sure, but I question how much his vision was actually affecting him.
I have to admit I thought the same thing. Watching the fight live on television and hearing his comments in the corner, I thought he knew the fight hadn't gone four full and would be declared a no decision if it was correctly ruled a head butt. My initial instinct was that it was a very wily move. Having said that, I've never known Campbell to be anything but a tough, hard-nosed fighter. Given nothing but suspicion to the contrary, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But I do think Bradley would have won the fight going away had it continued. I know Campbell feels differently, but Bradley looked very good in the first three rounds.
Kevin, I enjoyed reading your article, and while I do feel the fight should be a no contest, I watched it several times and the ref, David Mendoza, stated he did see the head butt. In fact, he said they were "head butting each other all night," but he didn't see the blood until after the next punch. Without the benefits of multiple angles and instant replays, he can only call what he sees. The other side of the story that doesn't seem to be getting much attention is Campbell's quick decision to accept the doctor's stoppage. That was the fastest acceptance that I've seen from a boxer with a cut. No argument, etc., yet moments later when he realized he lost the fight, he was all up in everyone's face.
Social Circle, Ga.
The interesting thing everyone is overlooking here is, as you say, this is a judgment call. It's the referee's discretion to rule whether a cut was caused by a butt or a punch, just like it's a baseball umpire's to call ball or strike or safe or out. In this instance, the referee ruled the cut was caused by a punch. Given that, I'm not sure on what grounds the commission could overturn the result, even though most unbiased parties would agree that it was a head butt and not a punch that caused the cut. Don Denkinger missed a call in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series that could have cost the Cardinals the championship. Even though television replays indicated Denkinger was wrong, the call was not overturned. Mendoza made a judgment call, too. Fairness would be to call it a no decision, but I don't believe the rules allow for that.
I had to comment on your article on the Bradley-Campbell fight. I'm going to be 34 in November and have following boxing for at least 30 years. While I understand your view of the fight, I agree with the ref's decision for one reason, because Nate Campbell acted like a novice fighter when he got off his stool and went to the ref and told the ref he couldn't see. As a fighter, that wasn't his place, nor was it the act of a warrior from a fans' point of view. Nate saw what was on the verge of happening and that was that the fight was about to become a one-sided butt whipping with him on the receiving end.
There is a large contingent of fans who believe Campbell flat quit or who feel attempted to manipulate the system and it backfired. But he didn't go to the referee. The doctor came into his corner and he told the doctor he couldn't see. The doctor told the referee and that ended the fight. Any time a fighter says he can't see, a fight is going to be stopped, no matter what the doctor or referee think of the cut and the fighter's ability to go on. Campbell, as I said earlier, doesn't have a history of quitting, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but there's little doubt that Campbell's reputation took a huge hit on Saturday.
Title or not title?
How can Miguel Cotto's World Boxing Organization welterweight championship be on the line if his fight with Manny Pacquiao is at a catch weight of 145 pounds? I know that the welterweight division is 141-147, but does it not make sense if it's going to be a title fight at welterweight that Miguel comes in at 147? I'm a little confused.
The limit for the sanctioning body, as you note, is 147 pounds. However, the fighters can make a contract between themselves, as they did in this case, to set a weight under that. At 145, both are still welterweights and so the belt could be on the line. It just can't be on the line if they're over the weight. That said, it hasn't been decided if the fight is for the title or not. Right now, it's not, but that could change. Neither fighter is too keen about paying the WBO a six-figure sanction fee.
Comparing boxing and MMA
As a fan of both boxing and MMA, I can't help but compare the two. Here's a question I've been bouncing around: Who is better within their sport, Manny Pacquiao or Georges St. Pierre? Both fighters are arguably the best in their sports, but when I watch them, I'm much more in awe of Manny. His level of athleticism is unmatched in MMA, and I feel that way about a lot of boxers. It seems to me that it's much more special to be the best boxer in the world since it has many more participants, a tremendous amateur structure, and much more money at all levels. Am I off base?
Will, it's an interesting question and you can make a strong argument for both sides. I can't really pick between them. Both have been dominant and are improving rapidly. Manny is coming up from a lighter weight and is beating bigger guys, so maybe that gives him an ever-so-slight edge. But I disagree with your comment on athleticism. Because MMA fighters have to do more things, I think they're inherently more athletic as a group.
I have asked this question to numerous boxing columnists, including yourself, but with no answer forthcoming, I would like to ask it again as my curiosity is still high. Could you tell me repercussions, if any were suffered by the California State Athletic Commission's inspector who oversaw the wrappings of Antonio Margarito's hands and gave it the all clear when he was preparing to fight Shane Mosley on Jan. 24 in Los Angeles? I would like to think that he is not allowed anywhere near a boxing match again. What he did could be construed as criminal negligence, and much more, if Margarito had been allowed to fight with those illegal wraps.
The commission doesn't discuss personnel matters, so it has not commented. However, I'll disagree with your point about criminal negligence. The inspector clearly made a mistake and should have made a point to feel the wraps (as all inspectors should do) before the gloves were put on. But someone surreptitiously slipped the hard object past him. It might be incompetence and he should have been suspended, perhaps, and forced to undergo further training, but I don't think any punishment should have extended beyond that.