By Jim Dower: Making his first fight in over three years, former IBF/WBA/WBO lightweight champion Juan Diaz (36-4, 18 KO’s) stopped 33-year-old journeyman Pipino Cuevas Jr. (16-10, 14 KO’s) in the 6th round on Saturday night in a scheduled 10 round bout at the American Bank Center, in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA.
The fight was halted after the 29-year-old Diaz landed a flurry of shots to the head of Cuevas Jr. as he was backed up against the ropes in the 6th. Cuevas Jr. didn’t really look all that hurt but he’d taken nonstop punishment from the 1st round and the referee had seen enough of the mismatch and halted the fight.
You’ve got to give Cuevas Jr. a lot of credit for being able to take the punishment because he took a real beating in there and you can make an argument that the fight should have been halted in the 2nd round because he was getting really hammered.
Cuevas Jr. suffered a bloody nose in the 5th and he was mostly just moving, covering up and occasionally throwing some weak shots back at Diaz. He did a good job of trying to avoid a lot of the incoming from Diaz, but it was impossible for him to get out of the way of all of them because Diaz was throwing massive amounts of punches and not showing signs of fatigue.
Diaz looked great for a fighter that hadn’t seen action for three years. He a little bit of fat around the midsection and he was easy to hit, but he still has excellent power. His ability to pressure hasn’t changed and he could be a force in the lightweight division if he can get a little more rust off and ease his way back into contention. Diaz needs to take things slowly because he doesn’t look ready for the likes of Terrence Crawford, Ricky Burns, Miguel Vazquez or Richard Abril.