Joseph Diaz Jr inflicted a first defeat since 2008 on WBA featherweight world champion Jesus Rojas, but he failed to come away with the title.
The clash became a non-title fight at the weigh-in after Diaz was 0.6 lbs over the limit on the scales, allowing Rojas to keep the belt regardless of the outcome in Los Angeles.
However, the Puerto Rican champion still suffered the indignity of defeat by a unanimous decision after the judges awarded Diaz the bout with scores of 116-112, 115-113, 117-111.
Joseph Diaz Jr 🇺🇸 (27-1, 14 KOs) wins by twelve round UD over WBA "regular" featherweight world champion Jesus Rojas 🇵🇷(26-2-2, 19 KOs) who suffers his first career defeat in nearly 10 years.
The judges scores were 116-112, 115-113, 117-111. pic.twitter.com/cOLYrFbjdn
— Behind The Gloves (@BehindTheGloves) August 12, 2018
Diaz – who was competing on the back of his first professional defeat against WBC world champion Gary Russell Jr – pinned Rojas against the ropes with a succession of combinations in the second round.
But Rojas shook it off and was the dominant fighter in the middle of the fight as he outworked the American.
The momentum of the bout shifted towards the end of the eighth round when Diaz connected with a series of heavy shots. He was able to pick off Rojas in the closing stages of the fight with counter punches, as the champion’s heavy work-rate failed to pay off.