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Lem’s latest: Julio Diaz plans to break down, finish Keith Thurman’

Fighters Network

Julio Diaz-Flores


Two-time lightweight titlewinner Julio Diaz said his fight with Keith Thurman will end in a knockout, one way or the other.

"I'm not looking for a decision," said Diaz during an interview with "I think that with a puncher like Keith Thurman, and with the way that I punch and the combinations that I have, this fight will not go to a decision. Either way that it goes, I'm pretty sure that it won't go to a decision, so I'm not even thinking about a decision."

The 34-year-old Diaz (40-9-1, 29 KOs) and the 25-year-old Thurman (22-0, 20 KOs) will do battle in the main event of a Showtime-televised tripleheader on April 26 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Thurman-Diaz will be supported by THE RING's number one-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse opposite rugged lightweight puncher John Molina and WBC lightweight titleholder Omar Figueroa Jr. against former amateur nemesis Jerry Belmontes.

In his last fight, Thurman scored knockdowns in the fifth and final rounds of a ninth-round technical stoppage victory over Jesus Soto Karass in December. In his previous bout, last July, Thurman scored a 10th-round knockout of previously unbeaten Argentine Diego Chaves, whom he dropped once each in the ninth and final rounds.

Diaz is 0-2-1 in his past three fights, a draw and a unanimous decision loss against unbeaten current IBF beltholder Shawn Porter and a close decision setback to former titleholder Amir Khan.

In succession, Diaz drew with Porter in December 2012, floored Khan in the fourth round in April of last year and was outpointed in December by Porter, whose next bout was a unanimous decision that dethroned Devon Alexander in December.

Diaz felt he deserved the decision against Khan and in the first bout against Porter, the latter of which played heavily on his mind in their rematch, which Diaz admits he lost fairly.

"As you saw with Shawn Porter, I was just looking for one punch the second time," said Diaz, who has trained recently alongside WBO 147-pound beltholder Tim Bradley, who has a rematch with Manny Pacquiao on April 12.

"I have to keep my head this time against Thurman. In this case, we're going to work round-by-round and sort of break down Keith Thurman and then try to get him where I want him to be and to be able to finish off the fight."

Diaz won the IBF's 135-pound belt on separate occasions by majority decision over Javier Jauregui in May 2004 and by unanimous decision over Ricky Quiles in May 2006.

Diaz lost the belt he won from Jauregui in his following bout by 10th-round stoppage against Jose Luis Castillo in March 2005.

During his second reign, Diaz made one defense of the title, stopping Jesus Chavez in the third round in February 2007 before being dethroned by Juan Diaz in a ninth-round knockout loss in October 2007.

Diaz is hopeful that his veteran experience, as well as his motivation from coming up short against Porter and Khan, will be the difference in what is shaping up as a firefight against Thurman.

"Shawn Porter is very slick and very fast and very crafty, so that was a whole different fight. Amir Khan, he's very, very fast and moves a lot and is very fast with his feet and fast with his hands, so that was about timing. Keith Thurman is a very dangerous fighter and he swings with every punch with bad intentions," said Diaz.

"He has very respectable power, so I've got to be very cautious with him and not make any mistakes. Even as I'm throwing my punches, I have to be cautious in return. Keith can throw from every angle. I have a lot of respect for Keith Thurman and I'm going into the ring with that respect but I'm coming to win."



Brooklyn-born Luis Collazo has arrived at Fort Jackson Military Base in South Carolina in advance of his May 3 welterweight clash with Amir Khan at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"I love coming down here. It's a great place to focus before a big fight. The atmosphere in Fort Jackson is great," said Collazo, who turns 33 next month. "It's simply an amazing place to train. The troops inspire me. They are disciplined and loyal and they push themselves to the limit. I admire them. I always gain inspiration from being around them."

A southpaw former titleholder, Collazo (35-5, 18 knockouts) will face Khan (28-3, 19 KOs) on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s defense of his RING, WBC and WBA 147-pound championship on Showtime Pay Per View.

Collazo has trained at Fort Jackson for the majority of his fights since 2008, most recently, before his unanimous decision victory over Alan Sanchez in September that preceeded his second-round stoppage of Victor Ortiz in January.

"It's nice to get away from some of the distractions at home and to just be here staying focused with my team," said Collazo, who trained in Brooklyn in advance of Ortiz. "Khan is a good fighter; he's fought some good guys but he better be ready for me. I'm going to bring something he hasn't seen before."



Middleweight Paul Mendez will fight  Santiago Perez on April 5 at Cashe Creek Casino and Resort in Brooks, Calif., 30 minutes North of Sacramento.

The 25-year-old resident of Delano, Calif., Mendez (15-2-2, 8 KOs) is 9-0-2 with five knockouts in his past 11 fights, including 2-0-1 with two stoppage wins in his past three.

Hall of Fame promoter Don Chargin, 85, is sponsoring the event, which already is sold out.

"We've got him where we're going to start raising the level of competition after this fight," said Chargin of Mendez, who is of African American and Mexican descent.

"The people who have him, Kathy and Max Garcia of Garcia Boxing, they do everything for him. They go after publicity and they do everything to promote their fighter. When we step up the competition a little bit, he fights better. He's a good kid."

The 31-year-old Perez (12-3-2, 3 KOs) has lost two of his past five bouts, and has not fought since May 2011, when he stopped Floyd Weaver in the second round.



Photo/Ray Flores