MIAMI -- The one-time promising prospect is back.
Ebo Elder improved to 18-1 (11 knockouts) after being awarded a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Oscar Diaz in a 10-round
junior-welterweight contest in the main event of ESPN2's Friday Night Fights.
Elder, fighting for just the second time in 2½ years put forth a display of boxing skills that would have suggested his off time had been spent
entirely within the confines of a gym, not as the drummer for a rock-n-roll band, something which has been the case since suffering his only
professional loss to Ubaldo Hernandez in November of 2001. Diaz, fighting out of San Antonio, Texas, put forward a frustrated effort that saw little
success beyond occasional power shots landing. With the loss, Diaz's record stands at 17-1 (10 KOs).
Do you remember Rocky Balboa boxing Clubber Lang's ears off after being trained by Apollo Creed? That is pretty much what this contest looked like for
most of the 30 minutes that elapsed in the Miccosukee Resort in front of an enthusiastic crowd which turned pro Elder very early in the contest.
Though outgunned by his bigger, stronger foe, Elder clearly possessed an advantage in speed and certainly wasn't out-skilled by Diaz.
Action early on saw Elder using the ring to his advantage while scoring fast counters off the heavier-handed Diaz, whose only dominant frame of the
contest would come in Round 2, where Elder was rocked on multiple occasions by telling right hands. In Round 3, school was called into session, Elder
presiding as the teacher as he out-landed Diaz by a margin of two to one.
Elder would flirt with point deductions in Round 4 before suffering a cut over the right eye in the fifth frame while continuing to score with
effective combinations and counters, frequently scoring with left hands that were set up by his right-handed jab. Rounds 8 and 9 were dominant frames
for Elder as the native of Newnan, Ga., stepped in with scoring combinations during inactive periods and returning to his effective lateral strategy
when Diaz pursued.
The writing was on the wall after the ninth as Diaz's trainer Tommy Brooks told his charge: "No two ways about it, you need a knockout." Diaz would
give a spirited effort in round ten but would come up short. An impressive showing by Elder was soon to become an impressive victory.
Scores and Punchstats
Elder landed 218 of 650 attempts, connecting at 34 percent. Diaz was good on 136 of his 643 attempts, connecting at a 21 percent clip. Elder was
awarded the contest on matching scores of 98-92; MaxBoxing had it scored the same.
Holt Makes Quick Work of Reyes in Welterweights
Kendall Holt upped his unbeaten mark to 15-0 (11) after stopping Gilberto Reyes in the opening frame of a scheduled eight-round contest. Holt,
fighting out of Paterson, N.J., scored with a picture-perfect left uppercut inside a Reyes right-handed attempt with 30 seconds remaining, depositing
the Miami native face first on the canvas. Reyes (8-2-1, six knockouts) would attempt to get up despite his uncooperative faculties before being
counted out by referee Jorge Alonso at the 2:23 mark.
Damien Fuller improved to 23-4 (11) after being awarded a unanimous decision victory by matching scores of 40-36 over John Trigg in a four-round
lightweight contest. Fuller, fighting for just the second time after being knocked out by Diego Corrales in three rounds in June of last year, was
merely keeping active against a clearly overmatched Trigg (11-25-5, 3 KOs).
At light heavyweight, Shaun Jones raised his unbeaten mark to 9-0-1 (5) after being awarded a unanimous decision over Dhafir Smith in a six-round
contest. Jones, a two time New York Golden Gloves champion (1996-97), was awarded the contest on matching scores of 59-55. Smith fell to 12-5-2
And at heavyweight, Eliseo Castillo improved to 16-0-1 (13) after stopping Curtis Taylor in the third frame of a scheduled four-round contest.
Castillo floored Taylor, now 10-9 (7) with a single looping right hand, which ended 10 seconds later at the 49-second mark of the third.