Diego Pacheco expects Marcelo Coceres to be his ‘toughest foe yet’ in homecoming bout
Diego Pacheco gets a ‘home game’ after traveling abroad for recent fights.
He hopes to make the most of the opportunity and send a message to the rest of the super middleweights.
Pacheco will face Marcelo Coceres Saturday night at the YouTube Theatre in Inglewood, California, not far from his hometown of South Central Los Angeles. The 10-round bout will headline a four-bout telecast that will stream live on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
The 22-year-old Pacheco (19-0, 16 knockouts) has transitioned from prospect to contender over the last year. He is currently rated at No. 10 by The Ring.
In his last bout on July 7, which took place in Monterrey, Mexico, Pacheco scored an impressive knockout victory over once-beaten Manuel Gallegos. In his previous fight on March 11, Pacheco traveled to London, England, dropping fringe contender Jack Cullen twice en route to a knockout victory in round four.
Pacheco, who weighted 167.8 pounds at Friday’s weigh-in, will face an opponent in Coceres, who has faced some of the best fighters at 168 pounds, including Billy Joe Saunders, Edgar Berlanga, Erik Bazinyan, and Meiirim Nursultanov. The fight against Saunders in November 2019 was for Saunders’ WBO world title belt.
Even though Coceres (weighing in at 167 on Friday) has fallen short in those fights, Pacheco is not overlooking him and believes Coceres will bring his best out of him on Saturday night.
“I feel Coceres is the toughest opponent on my resume yet,” said Pacheco at Thursday’s press conference. “He’s a great fighter, he’s been in a lot of good fights, but I feel I am a way better fighter. I think my skills and hard work will outshine him and I am super confident in the work I have put in, the training camp we had, the sparring, everything. This is the biggest fight of my life, and I can’t wait to put on a show in front of my home fans.”
Pacheco has fought under the Matchroom Boxing banner since 2019. Pacheco has ascended up the super middleweight ladder, passing each test, thus far.
In recent fights, Pacheco has displayed more power and aggression, stopping his last eight opponents. From who he has defeated to who he has sparred against, Pacheco believes he is ready to take that next step forward in his career.
“I’ve sparred with all the best guys at 160, 168, and 175 and they know what it is,” said Pacheco, who is promoted by Eddie Hearn. “I’m here, I am a special breed, I really feel that I have a God-given talent and with my hard work, I feel that I am unstoppable.
“You guys have seen my fights. I’m getting better and stronger, and I am looking forward to keep doing those things against better opposition. Coceres is a great test for me on Saturday, and I just can’t wait to show everyone what I am about against someone as good as him.”
Pacheco has relished fighting abroad and continuing to build his brand. Pacheco has fought a total of seven times in Mexico and fought once in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.
Fighting less than a 15-minute drive from the neighborhood he grew up in, Pacheco is relishing the moment of fighting before family and friends.
“I had two great fights this year in the UK and Mexico, now I get to do it here in my hometown. It’s super exciting. We’re looking to do a lot of big things in 2024, but right now we’re focused on Coceres and Saturday night.
“It’s going to be a great night, tune in on DAZN. Diego Pacheco’s time is here.”
Pacheco hopes to put an exclamation point on 2023 and have another breakthrough year in 2024.
“I’m extremely grateful for this moment, it’s my moment and it’s going to be a great night on Saturday. I had a great training camp, it’s been a great year and I am looking forward to ending the year on a high note.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]