By Sean Crose
“Me and my father watched a couple of you tube videos,” Joseph Diaz Jr says of his October 23’d opponent, Ruben Tamayo. “It’s going to be kind of interesting seeing a lefty going against a lefty.” The 17-0 Diaz’ career is in high gear at the moment. Not only is the super bantamweight promoted by Golden Boy, his bout against Tamayo (25-6-4) will be broadcast live by Estrella TV from California’s Fantasy Springs Casino.
“Golden Boy’s treating me very well,” he says. “Oscar De La Hoya, he’s taking me under his wing.”
This, frankly, is no surprise, as Diaz is smart, personable and a good interview. So long as he has the goods in the ring, it would be ridiculous to let a media friendly personality of the kind Diaz possesses slip under the radar.
“He’s (De La Hoya’s) keeping me very active,” the fighter continues. “He’s giving me those fight where I am going to learn, I am going to progress.”
And the outside the ring impression?
“I feel like I am a very outspoken individual,” Diaz says. “They see that in me and they want me to become one of the superstars on the stable.”
Suffice to say, Diaz has an amateur background which lends itself well to De La Hoya’s promotional outfit. “Over 100 wins as an amateur,” the company web site states, “that included two national championships and a berth on the 2012 Olympic team.”
The power of such a resume isn’t lost on the California native. “Becoming an Olympian, it was a great experience for me,” he says. “I’ve had all that experience.”
What’s interesting about Diaz is that his father – who also acts as his trainer – doesn’t have the fight background the younger Diaz does. “He wanted to get involved,” Diaz says of his self-taught father. “I’m very glad that’s he’s my trainer.”
The younger Diaz admits his dad once “didn’t know anything about boxing,” but that the man worked his way to becoming a successful trainer. “He’s taught me very well,” he continues. “He’s very dedicated to the sport.” Dedicated enough, obviously, for the legendary De La Hoya to be comfortable with the man in Diaz’ corner.
With strong support and burgeoning attention, Diaz is confident in his abilities and in his potential. “I’d like to fight anybody at 122, 126,” he claims. “Whoever’s champion at that weight, that’s who I want to fight.” Perhaps the young prospect can best be summed up by some words he utters early on in the interview:
“I want to fight these tough opponents,” he says, speaking of Tamayo. Those words, however, might well apply to anyone else on the horizon.