There aren’t many fighters these days calling out undefeated two-division world champion Terence Crawford, one of boxing’s pound-for-pound best. Felix Diaz is, though. This is a fight that should be made.
Diaz (18-1, 8KO’s), the only boxer to win an Olympic gold medal for the Dominican Republic, is coming off a career-changing performance back in July. He dominated highly regarded, undefeated welterweight contender Sammy Vasquez, though he is a true super lightweight. Following his victory over Vasquez, Diaz signed with promoter Lou DiBella, with the goal of fighting the biggest names in the sport, and Crawford is at the very top of his list.
"I would love to fight Crawford," said Diaz emphatically. "I believe that our styles match up perfectly and will make for a tremendous fight. I also believe that my style will give him a ton of problems. Gamboa had success against him, but Gamboa was a smaller guy. I am a big, strong 140-pounder. He has never faced someone like me. I fought Peterson in his backyard and I have no problem coming to Omaha. All that yelling, screaming and cheering for the hometown fighter goes out the window when the bell rings. It’s just me and him in the ring, and I would bring it all night long."
Crawford had hoped to land a shot against Manny Pacquiao, and was rumored to be one of the leading candidates to face the future first ballot Hall-of-Famer. Pacquiao ultimately chose to take on WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, leaving Crawford and Top Rank in search of an acceptable dance partner for Crawford. Diaz believes he is the solution and sees the fight as an easy one to make.
"I am with DiBella now, and I know that he has worked with Bob Arum and Top Rank many times in the past. Also my manager Al Haymon and Bob are able to work together as well, so there are no obstacles to get this fight done. This would be a tremendous fight for boxing and for TV. If he moves around the ring, I will chase him down and force him to fight me. If he wants to stand and trade with me, even better. I will be ready for whatever he brings."
The Vasquez fight came on short notice, Diaz’ first fight after losing a questionable majority decision to former 140lb. world champion Lamont Peterson. Diaz believes he beat Peterson, having pushed him around the ring in Peterson’s backyard. Diaz adamantly disagrees with that decision and believes he can do the same thing to Terence Crawford in Omaha or anywhere else.
"At the end of the day, Peterson and I both produced a great fight, and now it looks like he is going to be taking on Cotto. For him to get the fight against Cotto shows you the caliber of fighter he is. For me to perform the way I did against him, in a fight that many people felt I should have won, shows you the caliber of fighter that I am. To be the best, you have to fight the best. I believe that I am the best super lightweight in the world and beating Crawford would prove that."
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September 13 2016