Joseph Diaz Jr. takes on Victor Terrazas on ESPN tonight, his last ‘showcase’ before title shot
Both Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. and Victor Terrazas made weight for their 10-round featherweight bout tonight at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
The Diaz-Terrazas fight will headline a ‘Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN’ show that airs on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (11:30 p.m. ET/ 8:30 p.m. PT).
At Wednesday’s weigh-in, Diaz weighed in at 126 pounds, while Terrazas tipped the scale at 125.8 pounds.
Diaz (25-0, 13 knockouts), who grew up in South El Monte just outside of Los Angeles, has not fought since September 16, when he won a one-sided decision over fringe contender Rafael Rivera.
The 25-year-old southpaw has built a solid resume since turning pro in December of 2012 after a stellar amateur career. The 2012 U.S. Olympian has won his last three bouts by decision.
Ranked No. 7 by THE RING, Diaz is the mandatory challenger for the WBC and WBO featherweight titles. A deal is reportedly being negotiated between Diaz and Gary Russell Jr., who owns the WBC featherweight title, contingent on Diaz coming out victorious tonight.
Despite the reported negotiation, Diaz is not overlooking Terrazas, who briefly held the WBC junior featherweight title.
“He’s a great fighter,” said Diaz, who is managed by Ralph Heredia. “Victor Terrazas is an experienced fighter. He has over 40 fights and I know experience will be a key factor for him.”
“(Thursday night) is a big fight. This is a stay-busy fight for me. This is a showcase fight. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for him. (Terrazas) wants to steal my opportunity to fight for a world title.
Terrazas (38-4-2, 21 KOs), who resides in the boxing hotbed of Guadalajara, lost the WBC junior featherweight title in August of 2013, when he was knocked out in the third round by Leo Santa Cruz. The 35-year-old veteran, who is 1-1-1 since the Santa Cruz fight, fought to a fourth-round technical draw against Andoni Gago on Dec. 15.
Diaz may be the favored fighter, but he still wants to put on an impressive performance at the expense of Terrazas.
“He’s an aggressive fighter. I’m going to be aggressive this fight.”
“I feel great. My training and preparation was very good. I’m physically ready and excited to showcase my skills on February 22. I’m ready to perform to my best. I’m going to remain focused on my goal of fighting for a world title.”
In the opening bout of the ESPN2/ ESPN Deportes telecast, junior welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz (8-0, 8 KOs), who is trained by Joel Diaz, will face Jesus Alvarez (15-3, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Also on the card, hard-hitting lightweight prospect Christian Gonzalez (18-1, 15 KOs) faces Rey Perez (21-9, 6 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at FSalazarBoxing and on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing