By John J. Raspanti at ringside
Heavy-handed Joel Diaz Jr. wanted to impress. Ryan Bourland was itching for revenge.
On a night that also included a tribute to recently-deceased promoter and matchmaker Don Chargin, both objectives were met last Saturday night at a sold out Cache Creek Resort and Arena in Brooks, Ca.
Chargin, nicknamed “War-A-Week,” who promoted for a record 69 years, including Saturday’s card, died last week at 90. Minutes before the Diaz vs. Huerta commenced, an emotionally charged video tribute was shown, highlighting the life and career of Chargin.
Diaz, fighting for the first time in 17 months, was primed to show off his new boxing skills since hooking up with trainer Max Garcia. He wanted rounds, but his power was explosive.
That power reared itself at the two minute and 38 second mark of the opening stanza. Diaz, fighting out of Glendale, Ca, uncorked a wicked left hook that landed flush on Huerta’s jaw. The blow sent the veteran from Mexico City collapsing to the canvas.
Huerta beat the count, but on shaky legs. He backed into the ropes as Diaz (24-1, 20 KOs) advanced. Two more hooks jolted Huerta (28-16, 15 Kos) from his senses, forcing referee Dan Snell to wave off the slaughter.
The time was 2:46 seconds.
In the co-feature, Bourland, who’s never in a boring fight, and Hernandez, a gusty guy from Los Angeles, met for the second time. Their first bout went down in the same ring seven months ago. Hernandez won that fight by majority decision. Bourland asked for and received a rematch. Their first match was good. Their second was better.
Bourland, from nearby Vacaville, came out fast in the opening round, but a Hernandez right hand buckled his knees. Bourland rallied in round two, putting his punches together.
Hernandez scored on the inside, while Bourland continually let go his hands go. The action was brisk, every round close. Hernandez had a good ninth round, while Bourland brought his hometown crowd to their feet with a 10th round rally.
Bourland (16-2, 5 KOs) flipped the script by winning the sequel by majority decision. Two judges called the winner by identical 97-93 tallies.
The third judged the fight a draw.
Hernandez (19-5, 9 Kos) told me a few hours after the fight that he wanted to fight Bourland again. I’m sure the fighter nicknamed “Rhino” will agree.
Cruiserweight Blake McKernan of Sacramento won his 10th fight without a loss by unanimous decision over Alfred Contreras of Mexico. McKernan landed the harder blows throughout the six-round affair. Scores were 58-56 (twice) and 59-55.
Young Ivan Vergara improved to 6-0 by winning a four round unanimous decision over cagey Mexican veteran Pablo Cupol. Vergara, also of Vacaville, ate a few right hands, but landed a number of crisp combinations. The scores were 40-36, and 39-37 (twice).
Junior middleweight Rudy Macedo (8-0, 7 KOs) of Uruguay scored the knock out of the night in his match with Cuban Yasmani Pedrosa. Macedo easily won the first round with speed. The second was about power. Thirty seconds into the heat, a perfect right uppercut deposited Pedrosa (2-5, 1 KO) on his face –where he couldn’t beat the count.
The opening bout of the evening saw Jorge Chavez (3-0, 2 KOs) of Vacaville stop Albert Leyva (1-2, 1 KO) of Beverly Hills in the second round.