-- BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Welterweight Felix Diaz delivered a beating to Sammy Vasquez and was nearly robbed on Saturday night at Legacy Arena.
Although Diaz eventually won a unanimous decision -- 96-94, 95-94, 95-94 -- there were some anxious moments after the fight when the scorecards were originally announced as a majority draw, 96-94 in favor of Diaz and two 95-95 scorecards.
But none of the scorecards seemed to reflect the overwhelming dominance of Diaz in the Premier Boxing Champions co-feature with Deontay Wilder's heavyweight world title defense against Chris Arreola on Fox in prime time. ESPN.com scored the fight 99-91 for Diaz, as did many at ringside, including promoter Lou DiBella, who does not have a vested interest in either boxer.
If not for a point deduction from Vasquez for spitting out his mouthpiece in the 10th round, the fight actually would have been a draw.
"When I first heard it was a draw, I felt like I was the winner and I got robbed like in my fight against Lamont Peterson," Diaz said. "I definitely feel like the scores should have been wider on the cards, but I understand. The first couple of rounds I was feeling him out, but after those first couple I feel like I won every round."
Vasquez was classy in defeat.
"I knew in my heart I lost that fight," Vasquez said. "I tried my hardest, but there were things I should have done that I didn't do. We can't look in the past. He's a hell of fighter. He's an Olympic gold medalist for a reason. He had a tough decision loss to Lamont Peterson. To me, he was an undefeated Olympic gold medalist.
"I take nothing away from the man. He's a hell of a fighter. I'm a hell of a fighter. At the end of the day we put on a great show. We'll huddle up and start back at the drawing board. I've got to start knocking those names down again."
Diaz, although a smaller man, had no problem getting inside against fellow southpaw Vasquez and taking it to him. He landed some hard right hands and forced Vasquez to hold often.
"Since Vasquez is taller than me and has longer reach, my plan of attack was to stay inside and fight him at a close distance," Diaz said.
He pasted Vasquez with combinations in the third and fourth rounds. In the fifth round, Diaz was even more dominant, pressing Vasquez against the ropes late in the round and teeing off on him with sustained combinations that had referee Keith Hughes looking at him closely.
By the seventh round, Vasquez's face was bloody as Diaz continued to tag him around the ring with body shots and left hands.
Diaz, (18-1, 8 KOs), a 2008 Dominican Olympic gold medalist, was dominating in the eighth round and clobbering Vasquez (21-1, 15 KOs), 30, of Monessen, Pennsylvania, along the ropes when his mouthpiece came out. Hughes called timeout to replace it, giving him a reprieve. But Diaz, 32, went right back at him and finished the round strong.
Diaz, coming off his first loss, a controversial 10-round decision to former junior welterweight titleholder Peterson in October, opened a cut in the corner of Vasquez's right eye in the 10th round, perhaps on a head butt, but the blood was streaming down his face badly enough for a timeout to be called so the ringside doctor could examine him.
When the fight resumed, there was a fierce exchange in which Diaz knocked out Vasquez's mouthpiece in the final seconds and Hughes docked the fight-deciding point from him.
"I've never been in a situation where I had to wait for them to add up the scores again because, obviously, I was undefeated," Vasquez said. "This is my first loss. Losses you learn from. Losses just mean you have room to grow. We'll take this and come back strong the next time."
The fight came together only two weeks ago. Vasquez, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a member of the U.S. National Guard, was due to face former welterweight world titleholder Luis Collazo, but he pulled out of the bout after suffering a torn calf muscle in training. Diaz, who was training for a lower-profile PBC fight on July 12, was switched to the card to face Vasquez.
"I took this fight on only 15 days notice, and before this I was preparing for a right-handed fighter, so it was a bit of an adjustment," Diaz said. "I only had two weeks to make the changes that I needed to. I'm thankful to my team for getting me ready for this fight.
"Fighting on a Fox and Fox Deportes prime-time card and looking as good as I did makes me very happy. I'm ready for anyone at 140 or 147 pounds."
Lubin shuts out Montero
Blue-chip junior middleweight prospect Erickson Lubin, so much faster and more skilled, dominated Ivan Montero en route to a shutout decision, 80-72 on all three scorecards.
Lubin, a 20-year-old southpaw known as "The Hammer," indeed hammered Montero to the body regularly and went upside his head also in the one-sided fight.
Referee Flynn Gerald warned Lubin for a low blow in the fourth round but that did not deter him from working Montero's body.
Lubin (16-0, 11 KOs), who signed a pro contract on his 18th birthday, closed the seventh round with a series of rapid-fire body and head shots that had Mexico's Montero (20-2, 8 KOs) reeling.
It was a sloppy fight filled with holding and grabbing, but then Washington, who won his second fight in a row, turned out the lights. He caught Austin with multiple head shots, including a powerful right hand that knocked him flat on his back and seemingly out cold. But referee Flynn Gerald counted all the way to 10 for no reason before stopping the fight at 1 minute, 45 seconds. Austin, who suffered a second-round knockout challenging then-world champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2007, lost for the fourth time in his past five fights.