Joseph Diaz Jr. looks to make a statement on HBO PPV
Joseph Diaz Jr. likes seizing the opportunity when it presents itself. That approach has gotten Diaz to where he is today.
While Diaz has passed every test thus far in his young career, there are more lucrative opportunities that await him. For those to emerge, he has to get by a fighter who wants to make the most of his opportunity.
The unbeaten featherweight contender will face Andrew Cancio Saturday night in a 10-round bout at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The bout will be part of the four-fight HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast headlined by the WBO junior middleweight title bout between Liam Smith and Canelo Alvarez, which begins at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.
Diaz (21-0, 12 knockouts) is coming off a second round knockout victory over Victor Proa on July 30. Even prior to the Proa fight, there was talk of Diaz fighting on Saturday’s card.
An early knockout of Proa was necessary for Diaz to secure a spot on the pay-per-view broadcast and it minimized the risk of him getting cut at anytime during a lengthier outing. However, Diaz did want to send a message to other top featherweights.
“I wanted to stop Victor Proa, whether it was in the early or the late rounds,” Diaz told RingTV in a recent interview. “I wanted to make a statement. I wanted to show everyone that I had the power, the skills and the speed to be a champion at 126 pounds. The featherweight division is a stacked division but I feel I could compete with all these champions and elite contenders.”
One fighter under the radar in the division is Cancio, who was originally scheduled to fight on the Sept. 30 Golden Boy Promotions card in Indio, California. When Diaz was looking for an opponent for Saturday, the call was made to Cancio, who accepted right away.
“(Cancio) is a strong opponent,” said Diaz, who is managed by Ralph Heredia. “I’m not taking him lightly.” Diaz is the favorite to defeat Cancio, who has won three of his last four bouts.
After headlining fight cards in smaller Southern California venues, Diaz is entering the big time of boxing. This will be his first time as a pro fighting on a pay-per-view broadcast. And it is fitting that Diaz would be fighting in Arlington, as he is a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
“I knew the opportunity would come where I could showcase (my talents) to everyone in the world, said Diaz, a 2012 U.S. Olympian. “Come September 17, I get the opportunity to showcase my talents to a large crowd. I could gain a lot of fans for that. I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity. I know if I put on a great performance, it’s going to give me greater opportunities and put me on bigger stages. I’m not going to take this opportunity for granted.”
Should he defeat Cancio, there is talk of Diaz fighting again in December. Diaz hopes that bout could be for a world title but that option would realistically be better suited for 2017.
He faces a strong challenge from Cancio on Saturday but that goes to show Diaz is willing to take risks to create opportunities for the future.
“I’m willing to fight anyone.
“I’m going to make sure I make a statement (on Saturday night).”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
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