Lemieux, Matthysse, Diaz score victories in Vegas on Canelo Chavez Jr. undercard

Who would have guessed that Lucas Matthysse had the fight of the night on the Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. undercard? La Machina is back.

Lucas Matthysse returned to form in an entertaining fight with Marco Reyes, winning in five rounds. Photo: Ed Mulholland, HBO Boxing

LAS VEGAS, May 6, 2017 – In every fight, David Lemieux reminds you how hard he can punch. His victory over Marco “Dorado” Reyes in the co-main event of the Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. undercard was a clinic of power punching.

The former IBF middleweight champion Lemieux (38-3, 34 KOs) wasted no time getting to Reyes (35-5, 26 KOs). When he wasn’t snapping his head back with powerful jabs, he was pounding him to the body. Reyes was cut over the right eye; his corner did an excellent job minimizing the damage, but it was significant.

David Lemieux pounded Marco Reyes for ten tough rounds. Photo: Ed Mulholland, HBO Boxing

Reyes appeared frustrated with his failure to keep Lemieux off him, resorting to holding. Both also engaged in punches after the bell at times, with Robert Byrd taking a point from Reyes after the eighth but not Lemieux.

Reyes may have lost, but he won the crowd with a display of determination and heart Mexican fans prize above all else. As the fight came to a close, they began to chant, “Mexico, Mexico” as Reyes and Lemieux both unloaded what they had left. Judges scored it 99-90 X 2 and 98-91 for Lemieux.

“He is a solid fighter,” said Lemieux. “I give him the respect, he went the full 10 rounds. I could have done better but I hurt my hand after round two.”

Give credit to Reyes for a tougher than expected fight, but Lemieux wasn’t going to be denied. It wasn’t the spectacular follow-up to the Curtis Stevens knockout we were promised. it doesn’t exactly hurt Lemieux but it doesn’t give him the launchpad to a potential fight with Canelo Alvarez should anything go astray with a date with middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.

Former WBC super lightweight champion Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) of Argentina came into his fight like a man with nothing to lose. After losing an ugly fight to Viktor Postol, Matthysse had been out of the ring 18 months. He needed an impressive performance to put himself back in the game. He got it with a TKO win over Emanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor (20-5, 14 KOs).

Matthysse came straight at Taylor from the opening bell, looking strong at the welterweight limit. Matthysse buckled Taylor’s legs at the end of the first round, sat him down halfway through the third round with an excellent straight right to the bridge of the nose, and had him in trouble mixing up body shot and hooks at the end of the fourth round.

In the fifth round, Matthysse landed a powerful left hook to the body, followed up with another left hook and right hook to the head, dropping Taylor. Although Taylor got up, referee Jay Nady took one look and called it a day at 2:21 of the round. Matthysse and his team celebrated in the middle of the ring, relieved as well as happy.

“This victory motivates me, this is exactly what I needed to come back where I left off,” said Matthysse. “I felt great inside the ring and I felt like I dominated the fight at the pace I wanted. I feel great and I’m ready for what’s next.”

Emanuel Taylor struggles to beat the count of referee Jay Nady after being kjnocked down by Lucas Matthysse. Although he got up, Nady stopped the bout at 2:21 of the fifth round. Photo: Ed Mulholland, HBO Boxing

Matthysse, whose right eye had been damaged in his fight with Postol, suffered a cut over the right eyebrow early in the fight, but his corner did an exceptional job containing it and it was not a factor.

Matthysse landed 78 of 288 total punches (27 percent); 53 of 176 punches for Taylor (30 percent). Matthysse landed double the power punches, 59 to 31.

If this version of Lucas Matthysse is for real, he’s got some entertaining rounds left in him for fans. He carried his power up to 147 pounds and while he was active he didn’t throw caution to the wind. Welcome back, La Maquina.

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. wins the battle of unbeaten prospects against Golden Boy stablemate Tino Avila. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Promotions

Undefeated Golden Boy stablemates, NABF featherweight champion Joseph “Jojo” Diaz, Jr. (24-0, 13 KOs) and IBA featherweight champion Manuel “Tino” Avila (22-1, 8 KOs) opened the HBO PPV undercard. Diaz prevailed in a unanimous decision with lopsided cards, 100-90 and 99-91 X 2.

Those of us familiar with the LA Fight Club events have been impressed by Diaz and Avila and expected plenty of action. But neither seemingly wanted to make the first move. Diaz had trouble figuring out Avila. It’s not as if the pair aren’t familiar with each other, both being part of the Golden Boy Boxing stable. It wasn’t until the fourth round the pair traded any meaningful punches, and not until the seventh round Diaz landed some meaningful shots, and again in the final two rounds. But it happened in isolation. Diaz is a volume puncher, not a power puncher, and he needed to be busier. But he’ll take the victory. learn from it, and move on.

“My plan going in was to feel him out and be smart,” said Diaz. “Once I had him figured him out, I knew I could keep digging at him with my jab and do work. In the last few rounds, I kept throwing body shots to hurt him which worked. Next up, I’m looking for a world title shot.”

Avila admitted his timing was off. “I felt like this was a learning experience. I need to learn how to pick up the pace in between rounds. Our styles were off and I felt like it could have been a better fight.”

Diaz landed 127 of 410 punches thrown (31 percent): Avila 75 of 299 (25 percent), a sluggish output for both. Nearly all were power punches, 113 for Diaz and 72 for Avila.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

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