By: Sean Crose
“Experience will be a key factor in my victory, but my power, speed and boxing ability are important too and I think that they are being underestimated.” So says Joseph Diaz Jr, who will be squaring off against Devin Haney on Saturday for Haney’s WBC lightweight title. “I’m a 2012 Olympian,” he adds. “I’ve been a World champion, I’ve boxed great fighters and I’ve paid my dues to get here. I’m here for a reason and from my hard work, and that’s going to be the difference.” The fight will be aired live on Showtime from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
This, of course, is a huge opportunity for the fighter known as “Jo Jo.” Haney is considered one of the best – if not the best – in the red hot lightweight division. What’s more, Haney is viewed as having the potential to be a true star of the sport. Diaz, however, feels he’ll be ready to deal with whatever Haney brings to the ring this weekend. “Devin is an elusive and smart defensive fighter,” he admits, “but I don’t feel he has the experience that I have. He has good range, and he uses his jab to keep on the outside, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before, I’ve seen multiple styles in the ring and whatever he brings, I’ll adapt.”
Diaz also makes it rather clear he feels Haney gets the confidence he needs through others rather than from within. “I feel that he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t have confidence in himself and he needs people around him to boost, build and gain his confidence,” Diaz says of the defending champion. “Me – I am self-confident, self-motivated, I know what I am doing and what I am capable of, and I am going to get him out of there.”
Self confidence can take an individual a long way, but it can’t alone earn someone a world title. Skills have to be involved, in this case the kind of skills that can top Haney, one of the slickest boxers in the game. He may not be a knockout machine, but the 26-0 Haney knows how to win and win impressively. Still, at 32-1-1, Diaz has been around the block plenty of times. He’s relying in large part on his ring experience for good reason. Also worth noting is the fact Diaz has only lost once, and that was seven fights ago. By this weekend the world will know if Haney has added another loss to Diaz’ resume…or if Diaz will have picked himself up a world title belt.
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