Devin Haney: “I’m The Most Avoided Fighter In Boxing Today”
By: Hans Themistode
An epiphany of sorts suddenly hit Devin Haney this past weekend.
Coming off the biggest win of his career against former multiple division champion Jorge Linares on May 29th, the WBC lightweight titlist is anxious to get back in the ring. With that said, he believes the feeling isn’t exactly mutual for many of the division’s top names.
“I’m the most avoided fighter in boxing today,” said Haney on his social media account.
Haney’s belief that many fighters are hesitant to step into the ring with him stems from what he deems is a guaranteed title shot, when it’s their turn in the pecking order.
For starters, former WBC lightweight interim champion Ryan Garcia was appointed as the mandatory challenger to Haney’s title. While the undefeated California native could have taken him on, he opted to face Luke Campbell instead, stopping him in the 7th round earlier this year. Garcia’s reasoning behind moving away from a fight with Haney was that he believed their contest should be given more time to build into a mega event.
Recently, Joseph Diaz, a former titleholder at 130 pounds, moved up in weight to challenge Javier Fortuna. With their contest listed as a title eliminator, Diaz took hold of the WBC interim crown once he was announced the winner on July 9th. Since then, the newly turned 135-pound contender has openly called for a showdown with Haney.
With that said, rumors have surfaced that Diaz could be a potential opponent for either Garcia, or multiple division champion, Gervonta Davis.
News of yet another mandatory challenger possibly heading in another direction has prompted Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) to simply shake his head. In short, the Las Vegas resident can’t recall anything even remotely close to this happening in the history of boxing.
“These fighters need to stop with the excuses,” continued Haney. “If you don’t wanna fight me just say that. This will be the first time in history that you see two mandatories opt-out to fight the champion.”
While Haney has grown irritated with what he feels is a lack of opponents stepping up to the plate, he remains hopeful that he’ll draw a big name for his next ring outing. Until then, the 22-year-old will continue to publicly castigate those who fail to face him.
Joseph Diaz: “I Think I’ll Stop Ryan (Garcia) In The Later Rounds”
By: Hans Themistode
After picking up the biggest win of his career, a seventh-round stoppage against Luke Campbell earlier this year, Ryan Garcia appeared to be on top of the boxing world. The highly-rated lightweight contender had his pick of the litter in terms of who he could face next. Yet, with the California native pulling out his showdown against former multiple division champion, Javier Fortuna, due to mental health concerns, Joseph Diaz stepped up to the plate.
The former 130-pound belt holder opted to move up in weight to take on his naturally bigger opponent. With Diaz picking up the win and with Garcia resume his training under the tutelage of trainer Eddy Reynoso, a matchup between the two is currently being discussed.
If, in fact, a matchup does materialize, Diaz is convinced that his past ring experiences will give him the edge.
“I’m going to take him to a place he’s never been before, physically and mentally,” said Diaz during an interview with ESPN. “Ryan Garcia, I feel like he’s a very talented fighter but he’s never been in the ring with the guys I’ve been in the ring with: some warriors trying to take your head off, not guys I’m going to put on a highlight reel.”
While many of boxing’s biggest fights have been met with several promotional roadblocks, Diaz vs. Garcia figures to be easy to make. Both fighters are under the same banner, Golden Boy Promotions.
Diaz, 28, seemingly has no interest in moving back down to 130 pounds. On more than one occasion, the stocky southpaw struggled on the scales. In his lone appearance at 135, he appeared powerful for the weight.
While a deal is far away from being consummated, should it come to fruition, Diaz figures to be a significant underdog. The fast and flashy Garcia has built an incredible fan base and has left most of his opponents comatose within minutes.
Still, despite the highlight reels, Diaz is unafraid of what Garcia brings to the table. As a matter of fact, the California native not only exudes an incredible amount of hubris heading into their possible showdown but he’s also certain that he’ll get the job done before the final bell.
“I think I’ll stop Ryan in the later rounds. My pressure and body shots will be too much for him. He’ll be feeling my shots and trying to hold and hug but I think my overwhelmingness will be one of the keys to victory.”
Gervonta Davis Vs. Joseph Diaz Could Reportedly Be Explored
By: Hans Themistode
After pocketing the biggest win of his career, Gervonta Davis appears to be on track to making a return later on this year. According to Lance Pugmire of The Athletic, one opponent, that is at the very least being explored, is former 130-pound belt holder, Joseph Diaz.
The California native rolled the dice on himself recently and cashed in. Following the loss of his IBF super featherweight world title on the scales against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) was forced to settle for a majority decision draw. Seemingly unable to make 130 pounds anymore, Diaz accepted a risky short notice fight against multiple division belt holder, Javier Fortuna at 135.
Despite being deducted one point in the fourth round for hitting his man behind the head, Diaz cruised to a unanimous decision victory. With the win, Diaz picked up the WBC 135 pound interim title and is attempting to lure Devin Haney, the sanctioning bodies full belt holder, into the ring.
But while Diaz would love to get his hands on Haney, he could find himself lined up against Davis instead.
Just a few short weeks ago, the Baltimore native proved that his concussive knockout power can be just as devastating in a higher weight division. For the first time in his relatively brief career, Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) made the jump to 140 pounds. Greeting him at the door, was former WBA “Regular” titlist, Mario Barrios.
Although Davis gave up several inches in both height and reach, he had little to no trouble dealing with a much bigger man, dropping him several times over before ultimately stopping him in the 11th.
For the past few years, Davis has campaigned in several weight classes. In 2019, two of his three fights took place at 130 pounds while his final ring appearance was held at 135. In his lone showing in 2020, Davis squeezed back down to 130 pounds. No matter the weight class though, each result was the same as Davis scored the knockout victory.
Immediately following his win over Barrios, Davis added another title to his already overflowing mantle. Currently, he holds the WBA “Regular” at 130, 135 and now, 140. Content with whoever is thrown in his direction, Davis stated that he would have no issue competing in any of the weight classes in which he holds a title.
With Diaz now settling in at 135, if a matchup against Davis does take place, the Baltimore product could drop in weight for his next challenge. Regardless of what’s to come, Davis, as stated on his social media account, appears to be gearing up for a return to the ring in the fall.
“October, I’m back.”
Tevin Farmer On Joseph Diaz: “Karma Is A B*tch”
By: Hans Themistode
The moment the scale underneath the feet of Joseph Diaz read 133.6 pounds, Tevin Farmer couldn’t stop himself from grinning.
With Diaz unable to make the 130 pound limit for his IBF-mandated title defense against Tajikistan Rakhimov this past weekend, the championship he worked so hard to acquire against the aforementioned Farmer was taken away from him.
To the former belt-holder, there was something ever so satisfying about Diaz losing his belt on the scale.
“Karma is a b*tch,” said Farmer during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “What goes around comes around.”
For Philadelphia’s Farmer, Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KOs) wouldn’t have lost his title in the first place if he did right by him. Roughly one year ago, Farmer fought Diaz inside of a packed pre-pandemic arena in Miami Florida. Although many expected their contest to be a close one, few believed Farmer (30-5-1, 6 KOs) wouldn’t walk away with his world title still safely wrapped around his waist.
Still, to the surprise of many, Farmer didn’t look like the slick boxer everyone had grown accustomed to seeing. Diaz tagged his man with shots that normally whiz inches near the head of Farmer. Simply put, the former titlist was off his A game.
With the first defeat of his career in over eight years, Farmer attempted to make amends for his poor outing. Not needing anytime to ponder his future, Farmer immediately enacted his rematch clause. Talks progressed and part two between them started to look more and more like a reality.
However, as was the case with most sports at the time, COVID-19 crumpled up their bout agreement as the deadly disease made it nearly impossible for the pair to enter the ring against one another at the time.
According to Farmer, his clause allowed him a five-month window in which their rematch had to take place. For team Diaz, on the other hand, regardless of a worldwide pandemic, the contract had expired.
Farmer remains adamant that he should be given more time due to the current circumstances of COVID-19. But, by all accounts, Diaz appears more than willing to run things back with Farmer as long as a few extra zeros are attached to his paycheck.
The chance to avenge the loss was once priority number one for Farmer. But, with Diaz no longer holding his world title, Farmer is now lukewarm about the idea.
“Right now it’s pointless. The whole point of the rematch clause was to fight for my title again but it didn’t happen. I had to fight him within five months but we couldn’t fight because of Covid. I could’ve sued a lot of people but that’s not what I’m about so I took it on the chin.”
It isn’t just that Farmer is now uninterested in facing Diaz if his title isn’t on the line. With the multiple losses Farmer has plastered to his resume, he believes that if he attempts to avenge his defeat to Diaz, that would mean that he would have to chase down everyone else who handed him a loss as well.
“I don’t care about avenging the loss because that means I gotta go avenge every loss that I took. That’s like me saying I’m going to fight Jose Pedraza again or the guy that beat me in my first pro fight. It’s really nothing.”
At the moment, Farmer appears to be fully focused on what lies ahead. While he’s still interested in hoisting another world title, Farmer is more concerned with locking down his next fight date. Nothing is set in stone quite yet, but, he does have an idea on when he will be able to return.
“As of right now we’re working on a date in April. Hopefully, we can get the date and go from there.”
Can Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov Take Advantage Of An Overweight Joseph Diaz?
By: Hans Themistode
Missing weight isn’t always a sign that a certain fighter didn’t take training camp seriously. With that being said, when you come in three and a half pounds over the limit, it is an immediate red flag.
For Joseph Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs), the seemingly disciplined super featherweight always appeared to take his job seriously. So when California native came in ridiculously overweight for his clash against mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, not only was he stripped of his IBF title but the confidence meter in him picking up the win fell considerably.
For the most part, Rakhimov (15-0, 12 KOs) is an unknown commodity. There is nothing is on his resume that screams impressive, despite his four fight knockout streak. In addition to the lack of big-name opponents he’s faced, Rakhimov will be fighting for the first time outside of Russia.
Make no mistake about it, nothing appears to be pointing in the direction of Diaz. The 28-year-old has not only come in overweight, but he seems to be wrapped up in a back and forth Twitter war with Tevin Farmer, the man Diaz defeated to win the title in the first place.
Still, even with the signs pointing favorably in the direction of Rakhimov, don’t expect him to pull off the win. Not only is the heavy-hitting contender’s resume sorely lacking, but he also hasn’t stepped foot inside the ring for nearly a year and a half. Pair that with this being his first contest stateside and the results ultimately won’t be kind to him.
Despite Diaz sneaking in a few extra snacks during his training camp, he’s a significantly more skilled fighter. He’s also faced a much higher level of opposition. There’s no excuse for coming in three and a half pounds over the weight limit but still, expect Diaz to box his way to a clear unanimous decision victory.