Former WBC lightweight champion David Diaz will face off against two time world champion Jesus Chavez in the ten round main event at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion on Saturday, September 26th, it was announced today by Dominic Pesoli, President of 8 Count Productions. “We’re thrilled to be present this terrific bout between these two Chicago champions,” said Pesoli. “David is incredibly popular here in Chicago , his win over Morales was fought in front of 10,000 local fight fans. Jesus has fought all over the world but never in Chicago where he was raised. He’s always wanted to come back and fight here and has expressed to me how much this means to him.”
“This event truly encompasses the terrific support the Chicagoland fight fans have shown towards 8 Count Productions for the last twelve years. Diaz vs. Chavez is a throwback to fights in Chicago featuring great local fighters that would pack the Chicago Stadium in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.”
Said the Chicago born and raised Diaz, “This fight means a great deal to me, the opportunity to come home and fight in front of the terrific Chicago fight fans. They’ve always been very supportive of me. Jesus has been a world class fighter for many years and the fans are going to see an outstanding Chicago style fight on September 26th.”
Currently promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Incorporated, Diaz, 34-2-1 (17KO’s), was undefeated for over three years before facing boxing’s finest, Manny Pacquiao, on June 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although badly cut early in the bout, Diaz fought courageously throughout the fight before being stopped in the ninth round.
Diaz, a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team, won the WBC Interim Lightweight Title with a crushing tenth round stoppage of Jose Armando Santa Cruz on August 12, 2006 in Las Vegas . Shortly afterwards, the current titlist Joel Casamayor refused to face Diaz, resulting in Diaz being named the WBC Lightweight Champion.
The 33 year old Diaz, a graduate of Northwest Side’s Schurz High School, defended his belt against boxing legend Erik Morales on August 4, 2007 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont in front of a huge crowd of Chicagoland fight fans, winning a twelve round unanimous decision.
Prior to facing Pacquiao, Diaz won a ten round non-title decision over Ramon Montano in Las Vegas on March 15, 2008.
Chavez, born in Chihuahua, Mexico, raised in Chicago and currently based in Austin, Texas, brings a record of 44-5-0 (30KO’s) into the battle with Diaz. He first became world champion with a twelve round decision over Sirimongkol Singwancha on August 15, 2003 for the WBC Super Featherweight Title.
He won the IBF Lightweight Title with an eleventh round TKO of Leavander Johnson on September 17, 2005. Johnson passed away shortly after the bout.
Chavez lost the IBF Lightweight Title when his bout against Julio Diaz on February 3, 2007 was stopped due to a leg injury he suffered in the third round.
He returned to action in 2008, beating Daniel Jimenez on April 4th via ten round decision and knocking out Andres Ledesma in the ninth round on September 6th.
Most recently Chavez battled Australian brawler Michael Katsidis over seven rounds before being stopped on April 4, 2009.
The co-main event will feature Chicago fan favorites Jose Andres Hernandez and Juan Carlos “EL PEZ” Martinez in a ten round junior lightweight bout.
Hernandez, 22-4-0 (14KO’s), last fought on May 5, 2007, taking on world title contender Rocky Juarez in Las Vegas . Although dropped in round one, Hernandez aggressively battled Juarez throughout the course of the fight, losing a hard fought twelve round decision.
The bout was the co-main event on the record setting Pay Per View event which was headlined by Oscar De La Hoya taking on Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand.
Prior to his bout against Juarez, Hernandez scored a devastating eighth round stoppage of Jason Litzau on December 16, 2006 in Miami, Florida , a bout broadcast on HBO.
A native of San Luis Potosi , Mexico , now living in Chicago , 16-11-1 (7KO’s), Martinez won the WBF All Americas Title with a ten round unanimous decision over Jaime Sandoval on May 29th at the UIC Pavilion. The bout was a rematch of an earlier win over Sandoval two years earlier.
Martinez followed up his title win with a six round bout at Madison Square Garden on June 13th against Rafael Guzman on the undercard of Miguel Cotto/Joshua Clottey Welterweight World Title bout.
Although controlling the action throughout the fight, Martinez lost the six round bout by split decision, an announcement that had the large crowd booing and left most ringside observers shaking their heads.
Also on the undercard, Chicago based undefeated junior welterweight prospect Ivan Popoca, 11-0-1 (7KO’s) will face heavy handed Puerto Rican veteran Mike Gonzalez, 10-6-1 (9KO’s).
The all action Popoca, 11-0-1 (7KO’s), took the best win of two and half year career on June 26th, taking an eight round decision over Hector Alatorre at WINDY CITY FIGHT NIGHT 4, his ninth win in a row.
A native of Bayamon , Puerto Rico, now residing in Milwaukee , Wisconsin , Gonzalez has fought numerous highly regarded prospects including Jorge Luis Teron, Joel Torres, Edgar Santana and Sharif Bogere.
Also announced is newcomer Diamond Baier, 1-0-1, who will appear in a four round junior lightweight bout.
More information will be announced shortly. Tickets, priced at $151, $101, $76, $51 and $31, will go on sale Monday, August 10th at 10am through Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com), the UIC Pavilion Box Office (312-413-5740) and the 8 Count Productions Office (312-226-5800).
Doors on the evening of the event will open at 7pm with the first bell at 8pm. The UIC Pavilion is located at 525 S. Racine , just one block south of the Eisenhower Expressway. For further information, please visit their website at www.uicpavilion.com