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Diaz Wins by Technical Knockout

January 19, 2002|John Klima

Julio Diaz's 10-round super-lightweight bout with Verdell Smith lacked the feel of a convincing return.

Diaz, the promising lightweight boxer from Coachella who suffered his first professional defeat to Angel Manfredy in a controversial 12-round split decision in October, gradually disposed of Smith, a fighter 16 years his elder, with an eighth-round technical knockout Friday night at the Hollywood Palladium.

Diaz, 22, said he was pleased with his performance against Smith, 38, a journeyman who was overwhelmed but not immediately overtaken. "I didn't want to make a statement," Diaz said. "I wanted to take my time and get used to being back in the ring instead of putting him away early."

Diaz (24-1, 18 knockouts) danced through the first round before cornering Smith (40-37-1, 17 knockouts) in the second round with a barrage of body punches. Diaz then pushed Smith into the corner in the fourth and fifth rounds but didn't knock him down until the seventh. In the eighth round, Diaz finished him off with a flurry of body punches.

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John Klima

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