For several years now Bobby Hitz Promotions has been throwing boxing events at Hammond Indiana’s Horse Shoe Casino. The ring is raised in the center of their easy access, intimate theatre, dubbed The Venue. ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights was lured by a stellar card which featured home town progeny former WBC World Lightweight
Champion David Diaz (36-3-1) verse the highly touted NABF reigning Lightweight Champion Hank Lundy (20-1-1).
Diaz stepped into to the ranks of Chicago boxing royalty when he
defeated hall of famer, Erik Morales by unanimous decision in 2007. Diaz has been an over-achiever his entire career, with his all-action, volume-punching, pressure-cooking—crowd-pleasing style. That; matched with his unusual upwelling of courage are the materials heroes are made of.
Lundy seemed to be the opposite, bloated with raw-boxing-talent,
Lundy was on track to a title shot when in he ran into John Molina last year. Ahead on the score cards deep into the fight the brash Lundy dropped his hands at his waist and began to bob, weave, and taunt his opponent. Lundy got caught, floored and three rounds later Molina stopped him along the ropes.
Diaz was looking for resurgence in his career at the age of 35 while Lundy hoped to reshape his persona amongst boxing fans.
In the first both fighters unleashed combinations from the initial bell. Lundy seemed to get best of the exchanges, with the crisper straighter punches.
In the second Diaz surged in and ripped body shots that definitively
won him the round.
In the third Lundy kept Diaz at bay as he scored cleanly with both
hands at times switching from his southpaw stance to a traditional while never missing a beat.
Lundy continued his composed boxing, at times dropping his guard
and throttling combinations through Diaz’s defenses. Then Lundy got a little sloppy. He ripped a left upper-cut from long distance. Diaz simultaneously unleashed a right hook that impacted Lundy’s temple.
Lundy’s legs stiffened as Diaz clubbed him against the ropes.
Discombobulated from the initial blow Lundy tottered off the ropes,
crossed the ring, did a pirouette and collapsed to the canvas as Diaz pursued venting his frustrations with a visceral roar.
The momentum-shift was abrupt and dynamic; the hometown crowd swirled into pandemonium in the packed Horseshoe Casino. Propelled by their cheers Diaz leapt on Lundy looking to end it.
Lundy managed to evade a few blows though his legs betrayed him as
he reeled across the ring.
Diaz pursued and as Lundy hit the far ropes Diaz bombarded him
Diaz went for broke as the Nation looked on.
Lundy chose to make a stand along the ropes and began to do more
than just survive—ripping a few clean shots.
Though Diaz’s relentless furry ambled on. A bloody trench-war ensued and I was sure somewhere above, Diaz’s late friend the fallen-fighter Francisco Rodriguez was looking down with a grin, or maybe floating somewhere amidst the whirling-thunder of the audience.
In the midst of his onslaught Diaz was cut deeply above the eye. His legendary cut-man and trainer Jim Strickland went to work at the
break though with the deep-incision, a stoppage looked imminent.
Diaz rose from the stool with desperation streaming from his brow.
Lundy coyly used Diaz’s urgency to pot-shot him with clean, straight,
The cut deepen through the middle of the round. The ring physician
was called in to check the wound. “He’s got a great cut-man,” I urged
the doctor as he stepped up to the apron. After the inspection Diaz was allowed continue.
Incited by the near stoppage Diaz poured it on, letting it all hang loose, hoping for another mistake by Lundy; though Lundy evaded most of the attack.
By the end of the fifth Diaz’s hopes descended down his cheek and
streaked across his belly in dark-red-ribbons.
Strickland and team Diaz did all they could in the corner. Yet when Diaz rose from the stool his desperate-aggression finally opened enough of a gap for Lundy.
Lundy speared a straight left cross that struck Diaz’s jaw, ripped through and deadened the former champion.
Diaz collapsed to the canvas and referee Gerald Scott mercifully waved it off.
Lundy uncharacteristically came to Diaz’s side in a show of genuine-concern.
In the aftermath Lundy has been reborn. Humbled once by Molina,
now re-humbled in tasting the canvas with Diaz; Lundy immerged a rugged, ring-savvy pro; a fighter who’s gotten off the canvas to stop a former World Champion.
Diaz’s hopes for another world title shot have been halted, though his mountainous-will has not. He feels he has two years left, and he’s shown that he has at least that. I just don’t know if it’s worth the trouble, worth the cost, only he does.
David Diaz has once again thrilled Chicago and the Nation and he does not seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon. Stay tuned.