By: Hans Themistode
A light bulb flickered on in the mind of Eddie Hearn. In no way, shape or form was the long-time promoter happy when he heard Ryan Garcia was forced to remove himself from his upcoming showdown against Joseph Diaz due to wrist surgery. But, he saw it as an opportunity.
With Devin Haney continuing to call for a big-time fight, Hearn slid a worthwhile contract across the desk of the former 130-pound champion, Joseph Diaz. Originally, Diaz was set to make $1.5 million against Garcia and appeared hesitant to accept a $1 million dollar offer to take on Haney instead.
However, with Hearn offering Diaz slightly more money than what he was expected to make against Garcia, Diaz has quickly signed his name on the dotted line. The two will now officially square off on December 4th, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Diaz, 28, opted to end his time at 130 pounds after an opportunity to win gold five pounds north became available. Initially, Garcia was pegged to take on former multiple division titlist, Javier Fortuna. Nevertheless, those plans were scrapped once Garcia revealed that he would be taking time away from the ring to focus on his mental health.
With only a few weeks to prepare, Diaz jumped at the chance to move up in weight to face Fortuna. Despite coming in as the smaller man, Diaz dominated their showdown, winning a wide unanimous decision.
Following the victory, Diaz wrapped the interim WBC crown around his waist. And with that, he immediately became Haney’s mandatory challenger, something the 22-year-old embraced. However, until recently, Diaz appeared more interested in facing Garcia. That is, until Hearn increased initial his offer.
As for Haney, the Las Vegas, resident couldn’t be happier with the news. In his most recent trip to the ring, Haney thoroughly outboxed multiple-time champion, Jorge Linares. But while Haney’s performance was nearly flawless, he received his fair share of criticism for how things unfolded down the stretch. With Haney dominating, Linares landed a picture-perfect right hand that left Haney on wobbly legs. He would then spend the remainder of their contest refusing to engage before cruising to a unanimous decision victory.
Ultimately, Haney has dissected the film of his performance in an attempt to correct what went wrong. In the end, although Haney was far more defensive in the latter rounds, the 22-year-old believes he can use that experience to his advantage.
“I was born to be great, so these are the moments I get up for,” said Haney. “I learned a lot from my last fight. It made me a more dangerous fighter. You guys can expect a ton of excitement and explosion in this fight!”
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