After a period of abstaining from putting money down on sports, I sort of relapsed the other night when I saw the odds for a welter weight main event between Delvin Rodriguez and Oscar Diaz. Rodriguez was favored, and seeing as how Diaz made his way into the fight by essentially refusing to lose, I went ahead and put a small amount of money on him that would essentially double should he win. That being said, it was almost a good fight.

The fight was for the USBA welter weight title, on Wednesday Night Fights on ESPN2. Rodriguez is a long bastard, with extreme reach. For the first six rounds it was cat and mouse, which saw Diaz taking quite a bit of abuse at the long range sharp shooting right hand of Rodriguez. The only chance Diaz had was to get close to the body, which Delvin knew, as he would tie up everytime Oscar showed signs of being able to counter.

Around the ninth round Diaz was cut and swelling around the right eye, which must not have bothered his corner since neither fighter had much of a left hand. Between the ninth and tenth rounds however, the extent of the beating Diaz took was shown in horrible fashion. Being (apparently) unable to respond to the referree's questions, Diaz stood from his stool and spun ninety degrees. His legs shook like a new born calf taking his first steps, and the fight was over. The drama continued as the crowd who had chanted so loving "Diaz, Diaz!" during the fight, silently watched their hometown boy restrained and taken off via stretcher to the hospital. I found later that Diaz underwent brain surgery to reduce massive swelling in his brain.

Apparently the left side of his cranium was removed to relieve the pressure of a subdural hematoma. I was amazed that he had even tried to continue fighting, after suffering that kind of a beating. I hope Diaz pulls through with as little permanent damage as possible. I'm also taking this as a sign that I should keep away from bookies for a while.

update: 08/08/08 - Oscar remains in critical condition and in a medically induced coma. Residents of San Antonio are encouraged to give blood and pray in support of Oscar and his recovery process.

update: 02/23/09 - Oscar has been released from the hospital and will undergo rehab for his injuries. Apparently he is incapable of speaking and walking, but is awake and able to recognize faces. I think back to that night seven months ago, reflect on all my experiences since, and shake my head as I think about Oscar sitting in a bed, unable to communicate. I can't begin to imagine what he and his loved ones are going through.

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