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Joseph Diaz Jr. to return as Hopkins-Smith co-feature


Former U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. will return Dec. 17 against Horacio Garcia as the HBO co-feature to Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr. at the Forum in Inglewood, California, a source told on Monday morning.

It’s another showcase for the featherweight Diaz, who last fought on the Canelo Alvarez-Liam Smith HBO PPV undercard on Sept. 17, stopping rugged Andrew Cancio in the ninth round. The co-feature for Hopkins’ supposed farewell card will mark the third time that Diaz (22-0, 13 knockouts) has fought on HBO in 2016, a blast of exposure that should set the table for an eventual title shot in 2017.

Mexico’s Garcia (30-1-1, 22 KOs) is rising in weight to face Diaz; he fought at 122 pounds this past May in a 10-round split decision win against Erik Ruiz, though the 26-year-old has jumped back and forth between 126 and 122 throughout his career. Diaz announced the Dec. 17 appearance on his Twitter account on Friday while not revealing the opponent. It’s the southpaw’s fourth fight of 2016, which follows a five-fight 2015, six-fight 2014 and a seven-fight 2013 after he competed in the 2012 London Games.


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Ring Magazine Dec 2016

You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of RING magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: Double Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields. The U.K. Issue featuring cover star Carl Frampton is available now.