Juan Diaz bullies, stops Fernando Garcia; Mike Alvarado comeback KO

Former lightweight king Juan ‘Baby Bull’ Diaz made it six victories in a row as the Texan continued his path to an inevitable world title shot at the Arena Theatre in Houston.

The 32 year-old had no problems going to war with tough Mexican Fernando Garcia but always had that extra power to come off better in the pair’s exchanges. Scrapping in a phone box for long periods, Diaz and Garcia entertained the crowd for eight rounds until the former champion wore down his younger opponent.

Referee Laurence Cole heightened his attention to the physical state of Garcia towards the end of the ninth round as Diaz trapped ‘Cuervito’ on the ropes until he could no longer remain on his feet. Although Garcia looked weary as he stood, Cole tried to give him the benefit of the doubt until further headshots from Diaz ended the argument.

A 41st career victory sets Diaz up for a chance to regain his status at 135 pounds for the first time in almost a decade.

The likes of Anthony Crolla, Terry Flanagan and Rances Barthelemy will now be on the hitlist of Diaz who will be a danger for any of the top names despite looking a bit fleshier than usual since his return.

In the co-feature, ex-world title holder Mike Alvarado made a successful comeback from three straight defeats to take out Saul Corral in the third round.

The veteran welterweight, 35, sent an overhand right crashing to the side of Corral’s head in the middle of the session and the official didn’t even bother to begin a count.

Alvarado pushes his record to 35-4 with the win and may now look to avenge one of his losses to Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez or Ruslan Provodnikov, potentially after another warm-up fight in the coming months.

At middleweight, talented Brazilian Esquiva Falcao halted US-based Irishman Joe McCreedy in the fifth round to make it thirteen straight bouts with his arm raised.