June 25th ESPN2 from the Playboy Mansion

Brian Halquist Productions

and Sycuan Ringside

The main event actually began taking shape the day before, at the weigh in, when Julio Diaz came in one pound and three ounces - the equivalent of about two cups of cooked cauliflower - over the contract weight of 138 pounds. Normally, losing a pound is a walk in the park - literally - taking five minutes and walking through the park in the southern California heat would cause enough sweat (water weight) to find its way out of the body. Diaz however had no intention of taking that course, as he grabbed a bottle of water and began drinking almost as soon as he stepped off the scales. He may not have had the weight to lose either as he stripped down to nothing to be able to make 139.2. Instead of losing the weight, the Diaz team gave up a third of their purse money. Torrres weighed in two pounds under at 136.

David Torres (in the silver trunks) had been looking to step up in competition after winning twenty consecutive fights. Julio Diaz was looking to get back on track after losing by way of a TKO to Juan Diaz last October. In the opening round Torres stepped forward and looked to gain control of the fight. He walked Diaz around the ring, keeping the fight in front of him as he threw more punches. If Torres made a mistake in the opening round it was that he lunged toward Diaz a bit too often, thus not remaining firmly balanced. Nonetheless, Torres worked his way through the first round as he had in his previous fights. He carried a slight edge in to the second.

In the second round Diaz found the range and began to throw punches to Torres' body. Torres was tough enough to absorb many of the blows, though they did slow him down a bit. As Diaz found some offensive power, he also tightened up his defense, and in so doing, he made it more difficult for Torres to land any power shots. As the round neared its end, Diaz caught Torres just above the left eye and opened a small cut.

While Torres's corner was able to stop the bleeding in the cut, a bit of damage had been done. Torres slowed his attack, perhaps a bit wary of the cut. Diaz continued to pressure Torres, and as he stepped towards him, near the middle of the round, Diaz threw a left which sent Torres staggering back and in to the ropes. The referee jumped between the men and began the count. Diaz looked to end the fight there, and though Torres struggled, he survived the round.

In the fourth round Diaz exploited his speed advantage. He kept sticking his right hand at Torres' left eye causing the swelling to mount. Though Torres had recovered a bit between rounds, no amount of endswell pressure was going to reduce the massive knot growing around his left eye. He struggled to keep it open enough to see, Diaz did everything possible to close it.

Torres entered the fifth round with a sense of urgency, but not quite enough offensive power or movement to back Diaz down. Diaz continued to pound away, Torres continued to absorb the punishment. Just over a minute in to the round the referee, concerned about Torres' eye, and the mounting punishment, called timeout and walked Torres to the corner for a visit with the ringside physician. The doctor wiped away some blood, poked at the swelling, asked the obligatory questions about being able to see, and decided that the fight should be stopped. Diaz would be back on track with a TKO win at 1:25 of the fifth round.

Torres misses with a left as Diaz looks to land the right to the body




Diaz slips the left uppercut through Torres defense

Buchanan was effective when working inside



Norman's jab carried some sting

There was certainly an element of the strange at the outset of the semi main event as one of the fighters carried the nickname 'The Assassin,' while the other's moniker was 'Sugar Poo.' However, after the intial strangeness melted away, the nicknames seemd to make sense. Brian 'The Assassin' Norman controlled the fight in the opening two rounds. He was far more accurate, and quite a bit busier in terms of throwing punches than was Henry 'Sugar Poo' Buchanan. Buchanan was warned in the opening round about throwing low blows, though it was difficult to see just how low, or where those blows were thrown. Buchanan was warned about low blows again in the second round, but he shrugged off the warning and went back to work.

The third round saw a shift in momentum. Though Norman was able to catch Buchanan early in the round, and stagger him a bit, Buchanan answered with a left hook behind which he intended to establish his ground. Buchanan landed a big shot just before the bell to end the third round, and the crowd sensed a swing. Buchanan picked the action in the fourth round, this time behind the right hand. He backed Norman in to the corner and landed with both hands. As the round drew to an end it was Norman that landed the big shot, though it was not enough to win the round. In the fifth round Buchanan seemed ready to kick his game in to cruise control. He was landing most of his punches, his confidence swelled - perhaps too much - as he began to drop his hands to admire his work. At the end of the fifth round Buchanan threw another shot that went low, and when Norman reacted, backing off and covering up, Buchanan jumped on him looking to end the fight.

Norman stepped up in rounds six, seven and eight, and he may have won those rounds by fighting inside, but that tactic might also have led to his demise. First of all, Buchanan proved that he could take whatever Norman threw at him. Second, Buchanan began to realize that his most effective weapon was going to come from the right, either in the form of a hook or an uppercut, and all he had to do was wait for an opportunity.

Opportunity arrived in the ninth round. Norman answered the bell looking to continue to inch up the scale of momentum and regain the control he established early. Buchanan stepped to his side and threw a right uppercut that landed flush and solid and dropped Norman. The referee took little time to consider the effect of the punch and waved the fight to an end. Buchanan would score the TKO at 1:02 of the ninth round.

Andrew Zerger (right) entered the fight with Jason Peterson looking for his first win. Zerger might have been able to do just that, as he was able to land some big shots, as in the one at right to Peterson's head, but what he could not do was match Peterson's speed. Peterson's hand speed was most evident in the first and second rounds when he would throw two or three punches to Zerger's one. Peterson's weapon of choice appeared to be the uppercut, and he was able to sneak it through Zerger's defense, but that also left Peterson open to punches thrown over the top, something Zerger tried to exploit. Peterson made the necessary adjustments, and in the closing rounds he fought taller, taking advantge of his height and reach, thus forcing Zerger to try to chop him down with body punches. That too proved difficult as Peterson used his quickness to step away from trouble. After four rounds, all judges agreed on the score, 40-36, for the unanimous decision winner, Jason Peterson.

Alehandro Bogarin (left) and Joel Mills knocked each other around for four rounds in a very close fight. Through most of the fight Mills was able to throw the more accurate punches, and he probably had a slight edge in the number of punches thrown as well. However, Bogarin had the edge in landing hard, powerful shots. Bogarin was content early in the fight to let Mills bring the action to him, and from there Bogarin would counter, or wait for an opening. Mills spent most of the fight coming forward, and most of the time he was jabbing as he did so.

Picking a winner seemed to depend on the side of the ring from which one watched the fight. One judge scored the bout 39-37 for Mills. Another judge also scored the fight 39-37, but in favor of Bogarin. The third judge gave all four rounds to the winner by split decision, Alehandro Bogarin.

Santos Soto (right) had a relatively small, but very vocal group of supporters ringside as he made his pro debut facing Raymundo Ortega in a four round junior middleweight bout. Soto controlled the early moments of the first round because he was more accurate with his jab, but the tough Ortega settled down and found a few openings in the middle of the round, allowing him to momentarily take the upper hand. In the second round Soto threw a left that opened a cut over Ortega's right eye. Once Ortega became concerend about the cut, Soto went to work on the body. While Ortega protected the right eye, Soto found an opening for his right, and it crashed into Ortega's body quite often. Soto moved the fight in close in the third round, and while there he landed a number of punches to Ortega's chin and head. Ortega stood strong, and while his legs never buckled, he felt the sting. Soto closed out the fight in much the same way, working up and down Ortega's body and smothering him with punches. Ortega too was able to unload a few accurate rights, but Soto withstood the punishment. After four rounds all three judges had scored the fight 40-36, an unanimous decision win for Santos Soto.

Melissa McMorrow (in the red) made her pro debut against Mayela Perez, a veteran of ten bouts. McMorrow aggressively answered the opening bell, walking Perez down, throwing a jab to keep her off balance. In the opening round Perez had to be content to throw counter punches, and those short lived opportunities were not going to allow her to score many points. Perez turned the tables in the second round, as she was the one applying the pressure and forcing McMorrow to backpedal. McMorrow had to be content to try to work inside. The third and fourth rounds belonged to McMorrow. In the third she pinned Perez in the corner and landed a number of body shots. Perez recovered by staying in the middle of the ring as the round ended. In the fourth, McMorrow looked more like the ten fight veteran than a woman making her pro debut. She pressured Perez, moving her around the ring and catching her with the jab and the right to the body. McMorrow would score the unanimous decision win as two judges saw the fight 39-37 and the third saw it 40-36.

The Playboy Bunnies welcomed visitors and carried the ring cards when the fights began. Before the fights, Mert stopped by to exchange pleasant conversation with four lovely women.

More event photos here