Photo Credit: Hogan’s Photos
Joseph “JoJo” Diaz received a solid test but ultimately prevailed over last-minute replacement Rafael Rivera in the co-feature of the Canelo-Golovkin pay-per-view card.
The southpaw Diaz was the stalker and able to feint Rivera into straight lefts at mid-range. His offense became to wear down Rivera in the fourth, where Diaz stunned him with a right hook upstairs. But Rivera, undefeated himself, showed good power with his right hands that kept Diaz from overwhelming him.
Ultimately, Rivera’s lack of a consistent jab put him at a severe disadvantage. His offense came from dangerous lunges and waiting on Diaz for countering opportunities. Because of Diaz’s superior technical skill, those opportunities were minimal. The ninth round was particularly brutal as Diaz unleashed 35 power shots (many being uppercuts and hooks inside).
Final scorecards were 119-109 twice and 120-108. The win was a title eliminator for Gary Russell Jr.’s WBC featherweight title.