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Diaz Looks to Upset Undefeated Thurman

(Photo © German Villasenor)
(Photo © German Villasenor)

By Bill Tibbs


It looks like someone is getting stretched. Former International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight champion Julio “The Kidd” Diaz faces Keith “One Time” Thurman on April 26th at the StubHub Centre in Carson, California. If Diaz is correct in his pre-fight prediction, someone is getting knocked out.
 
The 34-year-old, 50-fight veteran Diaz, 40-9-1 (29), and the 25-year-old Thurman, 22-0 (20), will tangle in the main event of a Showtime-televised tripleheader that also sees The Ring magazine number one-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse opposite rugged lightweight puncher John Molina and World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight titleholder Omar Figueroa Jr. against former amateur nemesis Jerry Belmontes.

Diaz comes into the fight as a two-time, former IBF lightweight champion. Although he is coming into the bout at 0-2-1 over his last three bouts, during the winless streak, he fought to a draw against rugged, undefeated IBF world welterweight champion Shawn Porter and lost a razor-thin decision to Amir Khan in a fight in which he dropped “King” Khan in the fourth frame. Diaz has faced very strong competition throughout an impressive, 15-year fight career including Angel Manfredy, Javier Jauregui, Jose Luis Castillo, Jesus Chavez, Juan Diaz and Kendall Holt.
 
Thurman really caught the attention of the boxing public when he sauntered into the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas last summer and dropped red-hot Diego Gabriel Chaves in the ninth and 10th rounds to pick up the win along with the World Boxing Association (WBA) interim world welterweight title. He followed that up in December with a ninth round stoppage of tough, veteran Jesus Soto Karass back in San Antonio at the Alamodome. And now, “One Time” looks to make the second defense of his title while “The Kidd” looks to reverse his losing streak and remain a contender on the world-class level.
 
Thurman is as hot as they come in boxing, looking better and better each time out and gaining confidence - and a larger fan base – in every fight. Diaz has faced some of the game’s best between lightweight and welterweight, so he won’t be awed by a hot, young gun trying to add a former world champion’s name to his résumé. Julio also knows a win or even a strong, competitive showing in a loss (not unlike against Khan and Porter) allows his career to continue against the division’s elite along with the elite-level paydays accompanying the big bouts. Thurman is up against a motivated and relatively young veteran who knows a loss is a huge setback. In recent interviews, Diaz said that he is “not looking for a decision.” Diaz knows styles make fights and this one has the makings of a beauty.
 
“I think that with a puncher like Keith Thurman and with the way that I punch and the combinations that I have, this fight will not go to a decision.”
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca.
 
 
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