Diaz undergoes surgery to relieve swelling on brain

Updated: July 17, 2008, 8:34 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Welterweight Oscar Diaz, who collapsed in his corner after the 10th round of a TKO loss to Delvin Rodriguez on Wednesday night, remained hospitalized in a coma Thursday after undergoing surgery overnight at San Antonio's University Medical Center to relieve swelling on his brain.

Diaz was in a coma and not breathing on his own after the surgery, matchmaker Ron Katz of Star Boxing, which promoted the fight told The Associated Press.

"My understanding is they had to remove on the left side a part of his cranium to get the swelling down," said Katz, citing information he said came from promoter Donna Brooks. Katz said Brooks was at University Hospital in San Antonio with Diaz.

Katz said Diaz's vital signs, including blood pressure and temperature, were good.

"It's touch-and-go, very critical," Katz said. "But the doctor, from what I've gathered from Donna, was optimistic."

Fighting in front of his hometown fans at San Antonio's Municipal Auditorium, Diaz appeared to be trailing badly in the fight. His right eye was swollen almost completely shut in the main event of the ESPN2-televised "Wednesday Night Fights."

Just before the 11th round began, Diaz, who was standing in his corner receiving instructions from trainer Tommy Brooks, buckled and passed out. Medical personnel came to his side immediately and within a few minutes he was on a stretcher and being taken to a waiting ambulance.

"When he left the ring, he was completely stationary and he didn't look good," Star Boxing chief Joe DeGuardia said. "They couldn't get him to respond. They cleared a path right away and took him to the hospital."

It had been a grueling, physical fight between Diaz (26-3, 12 KOs), 25, and Rodriguez (23-2-1, 14 KOs), 28, of Danbury, Conn. That kind of fight was nothing new for Diaz, a brawler who has been in several hard fights, none more difficult than an 11th-round TKO loss to Golden Johnson on Nov. 10, 2006.

Diaz took enormous punishment in that fight before it was stopped. He returned eight months later to face Juan Manuel Buendia, but the fight ended in a first-round no contest because of an accidental head butt.

Diaz then won a unanimous eight-round decision against Roberto Valenzuela in May to set up the fight with Rodriguez for the vacant regional USBA 147-pound title.

Information from ESPN.com boxing writer Dan Rafael and The Associated Press was used in this report.