We all hate the proliferation of “interim” titles from the WBA. They are, of course, a way for the WBA to line their pockets with additional sanctioning fees. Despite our issues with the “interim” titles they do, occasionally, give us some good match ups. One such match up occurred last year when Knockout CP Freshmart (now 10-0, 5) defeated Carlos Buitrago to claim the WBA “interim” Minimumweight title. We get another mouth watering title bout at the start of July as Knockout makes the second defense of his title and takes on fellow unbeaten Alexis Diaz (16-0, 10).
Back in the old days, when titles weren't handed out by the WBA like candy, this would have been an excellent eliminator style bout to face the “real” champion. With so many belts out there however we see the two men throwing leather for a belt even one as fake and “plastic” as this. Despite the the fake belt...the bout it's self is brilliant and the sort of thing we, as fans, love to see. Well matched and with both men seeking a big win.
Anyway on to the fighters. Knockout CP Freshmart is probably the holder of the best name in the sport, and he's also a really solid boxer-puncher. He turned pro following a very successful Muay Thai career. It was due to that background that Knockout's team put him straight into 10 round bouts, and on his debut he claimed the WBC Youth title.
Following 7 defenses of the WBC youth strap Knockout took on Buitrago in an excellent match up for the interim title. Sadly for Knockout the bout showed a lot of his flaws, despite the fact he got the win. For much of the bout Knockout looked predictable and came forward in relative straight lines whilst being tagged by Buitrago's sharp rangy shots. In the end Knockout, who did look strong and aggressive, got the decision partly due to where the fight was as opposed to legitimately “winning” it. Despite the less than sensational performance Knockout answered plenty of questions and proved he was tough, strong, aggressive and had the tank for 12 rounds fought at a good pace. It was clear that he wasn't the most illusive, or a monster puncher, but he was always gong to be coming forward and always looking to make things a fight.
Whilst “Knockout” isn't exactly the most apt name for the Thai, who is now at a 50% stoppage rate and has stopped just 2 of his last 6, the named has served 2 purposes. Firstly it's summed up his style which sees him fighting for the knockout, even if he doesn't tend to get it all that regularly now a days. Secondly it has got him real attention in the west, a remarkable for a Minimumweight from Thailand.
Aged 28 this is set to be the biggest fight so far for Diaz, a very promising fighter from Venezuela who has a been a professional for around 4 years and has never previously fought outside of Latin America. In fact just 5 of his 16 bouts have been outside of his homeland, with 4 of those 5 taking place in neighbouring Colombia. Although now a Minimumweight Diaz began his career at Flyweight and has been as high as 114¾lbs, before setting down at a much lower weight.
Although a relative unknown outside of the Latin American scene Diaz has been carving out a successful career and already holds notable wins over the likes of Ronald Ramos, Jorle Estrada and Luis De la Rosa. Those wins have won his praise with many who follow the lower weights and have seen him in action, likewise he has impressed with his power, skills and style.
Footage of Diaz isn't that easy to find though what does exist makes him look like a power, hard hitting, aggressive and quick fighter. He does look a bit crude at times but he look so strong and powerful that he could be a serious threat for most fighters in the division, he also appears to be big at the weight and very rangy.
Having seen what footage of Diaz was available he looks like a real threat to Knockout. It looks like Diaz hits harder, is faster and equally as strong. Knockout is possibly a bit stronger and more refined but not by a lot. What we're expecting is for the two men to really let their hands go and for Diaz to have an excellent start. If Knockout can see out the early storm then we'll see what Diaz is really made of, though it does seem like he will be a handful through out the bout.
One thing going in Knockout's favour, big time, is the fact the fight it in Thailand in hellish conditions for visiting fighters. Thailand is the country we often suggest is the most difficult country to get a win in and we suspect we'll see that here with Diaz coming up short on the cards despite a stirring effort. There is, of course, a chance he won't travel well though we expect he'll really put on a show and lose a controversial decision.
(Image courtesy of thairec.com)
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.