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.”