Diaz escapes a late comeback from Rojas and obtains a unanimous decision victory
Despite the opportunity of becoming a champion being off the table, Diaz started this fight on a mission.
In the first two rounds, he was successful using combination punching off his back-foot. In the process, he actually backed the aggressive Rojas up and found a home for the right uppercut up the middle.
The concern of most viewers, considering the comments on Facebook, was whether the favorite could keep up the pace.
Most boxing enthusiasts are aware that Rojas has not touched the canvas since 2012 against Jorge Arce. He is accustomed to taking punishment in exchange for successfully wearing his opponents down.
The Comeback of Rojas
Moving into the middle rounds, the pressure of Rojas began to present a problem. Diaz was no longer bouncing on his toes while moving back, nor delivering combinations at the same pace.
As fatigue started to set in, Rojas was able to find his opportunities on the inside of a stationary target. The body shots were key, and they kept Diaz from mounting a consistent attack.
“Keep your distance!” These words can be heard from the father/trainer of Diaz as the fight moved into the championship rounds.
The fight took on the narrative of Rojas taking the first half of each round. Then, Diaz would flurry his way to attempting to steal the round in the second half.
In essence, in order to preserve energy but win rounds, he adopted the Sugar Ray Leonard strategy.
In the twelfth and critical round, Rojas showed no mercy. Diaz was clearly drained of stamina while his opponent seemed to be a little less than fresh.
The game-plan for Diaz was clear: keep mid-range distance but hold if Rojas gets anywhere near. The problem was, Diaz was a bit too winded to maintain distance.
In the end, the three judges turned in scorecards of 116-112, 117-111 and 115-113 all for JoJo Diaz.
3kingsboxing.com scored the fight 115-113 for the hometown favorite. His control of the earlier rounds helped him fend off the comeback Rojas had presented.
The former NABO champion improves to 26-1 with 14 knockouts. He mentioned after the fight that he would like to fight for the WBA title again.
However, since he failed to make weight for this fight, he will be looking to move up in weight.
Meanwhile, Rojas remains the 126 pounds champion in defeat since his title was not on the line.
By: EJ Williams