By Miguel Maravilla at ringside
WBC lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) of Las Vegas scored a twelve round unanimous decision over Joseph “JoJo” Diaz (32-2-1, 15 KOs) of South El Monte, California, on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. Haney’s speed and reach won the early rounds. JoJo came on in round four and had some good moments after that, but Haney was mostly in control. Scores were 117-111, 117-111, 116-112.
Haney came out flashy, displaying the hand speed as Diaz had slow start pawing and working the jab in the opening round. In the second, Haney kept letting his hands go with Diaz working his way in leading with the jab and getting inside getting rough. Diaz began to attack downstairs in round three, Haney continued to show hand speed outworking Diaz but the challenger appeared to be gaining ground inside. It got rough in the fourth as Diaz attempted to connect to the body shoved Haney to the ground, moments later Diaz connected with a solid straight left that got the champ’s attention.
Referee Russell Mora issued his second warning to Haney for a low blow, Diaz connected on the inside but Haney continued to display the hand speed. At the halfway point in the sixth, Diaz stood close as Haney jabbed and fought off his backfoot. Haney connected with a snapping uppercut early in the seventh round but Diaz connected with some hard lefts. Fighting strategically in the eighth, Haney and Diaz worked the jab as Diaz stalked attempting to work his way in.
Once again referee Russell Mora warned Haney for low blows a third time, Diaz attacked to begin the ninth round, Diaz took it Haney during the exchanges inside. Diaz took his foot off the gas pedal in the tenth as Haney pressed and landed solidly. The championship rounds saw Diaz pressing as Haney boxed and appeared to be more active. The twelfth and final round, a hard left by Diaz got Haney’s attention. Diaz appeared to be tired as Haney pressed.