The San Diego Union-Tribune
Saturday, Apr. 17, 2004
Pechanga plays host to NBC fights
By Jerry Magee
April 16, 2004
TEMECULA – Boxing seldom is offered between breakfast and lunch, but it will
be at the Pechanga Resort and Casino tomorrow on a card that initiates a
second season of telecasts of the sport by NBC and Telemundo.
First bout is at about 11 a.m., with the main event, a scheduled 10-round
lightweight bout between unbeaten Juan Diaz of Houston (23-0, 11 KOs) and
Martin O’Malley of Edmonds, Wash. (21-2-1, 14 KOs) to begin at about 12:30
NBC Sports and Telemundo, a Spanish-language network, cooperated in
presenting three Saturday cards a year ago – NBC’s first venture into
televising boxing in 11 years. This year the series has been expanded to
five programs, with the others scheduled in Houston, Atlantic City, N.J.,
Tucson and Yakima, Wash.
“We’re known as storytellers, and we’re going to continue the stories we
began last year,” said Ken Schanzer, president of NBC Sports.
The main event and a scheduled eight-round welterweight match between Archak
Ter-Meliksetian of Armenia (8-0, 7 KOs) and Nurhan Suleymanoglu of Turkey
(13-0, 5 KOs) are on NBC. Only Telemundo is displaying a scheduled 10-round
welterweight bout between Jauquin Gallardo of San Leandro (15-2-1, 5 KOs)
and Arturo Morua of Guadalajara, Mexico (18-4-1, 13 KOs).
Diaz, ranked No. 4 as a lightweight by the WBC, also fought at Pechanga in
May 2003, coming away with a close but unanimous decision over tough Eleazar
Contreras of Bakersfield in a bout that was nominated as a “Fight of the
Year.” Diaz was dropped in the sixth round before rallying to win on the
judges’ cards, 95-94, 95-94 and 97-92. Diaz is 20.
O’Malley, 28, swept his first 17 bouts as a professional before being
stopped in the ninth round in July 2001 by Leonard Dorin, later a
lightweight champion. Two years later, O’Malley fought for the vacant NABA
lightweight title and was outpointed by Luis Villalta.
Ter-Meliksetian, 25, raised in Porto Alegre, Brazil, had an amateur record
of 98-8 with 76 KOs while winning four Brazilian national titles. As a pro,
he has stopped six opponents in the first round.
Suleymanoglu, 32, is a native of Kazakhstan who captured a silver medal for
Turkey in the 1996 Olympics. He has been boxing professionally since April