Boxing


Is This The Year Of The Bull? Juan Diaz And His Quest For Lightweight Unification

29.4.07 - By Alden "The Kid" Chodash: The way Juan Diaz was pounding on his opponent, breaking him down as he's done to thirty-one previous fighters, you'd hardly believe his present victim is a Brazilian icon and a three time world champion. Acelino Freitas, a professional for twelve years, was clearly identified as the best opponent thus far in Diaz's career, and although there were few shaky moments early on, Diaz overcame and bypassed "Popo" in their race to unify their title.

The most logical and probably most defining bout he can pursue would be taking on "ex" champion Joel Casamayor who was recently relieved from his WBC title for failing to take on David Diaz. The Ring Magazine and recognized kingpin of the division, Casamayor is a veteran, has beaten the best in the divisions he's competed in, and looked brilliant in out-boxing Diego Corrales last October. Casamayor's experience, hand-speed, and angles give Joel a good chance on emulating Freitas' early success against Juan Diaz.

One of boxing's most exciting figures, Joan Guzman, has recently arrived in the lightweight division. In his first test, Guzman will face powerhouse Michael Katsidis next month and assuming he comes out victorious, he will become a mandatory contender for Diaz's recently won WBO crown. And obviously, Guzman is no "mandatory challenger". Guzman probably has the best chance of any lightweight to dethrone Diaz, and his youth doesn't hurt either. And the bout itself wouldn't disappoint either. Guzman, as he's shown last September against Jorge Barrios, doesn't back down against pressure, and if anything he gives it right back to you.

The fight of Diaz's dreams, as he stated in his post-fight interview with Max Kellerman last night, is also a possibility. Manny Pacquiao, whose promotional companies issues are frustrating rematches with Barrera and Marquez, would sell big against any opponent as proved against Jorge Solis, and although the bout wouldn't nearly be as big as the Morales showings, that wouldn't prevent a great fight from occurring. The bout would pose a question of Pacquiao's viability at 135 and Diaz, with his pressure and physical strength, would be the perfect opponent to test it. So the fight of Diaz's dreams would probably be the fight of our dreams as well.

On Diaz's chances of becoming undisputed king of the division, I believe the task can be done, though definitely without some bumps and bruises along the way. As I stated earlier, the toughest, likely opponent he can go up against is Joan Guzman. With all the speed and potential Guzman holds and would put on display against Diaz, I believe hand-speed, which may have kept Jorge Barrios from taking the fight from Guzman, would be a brand new experience for Joan and if I'd have to give either man an edge, I'd give it to the "Baby Bull" primarily on that point.

Overnight, Juan Diaz evicted Acelino Freitas from the upper level of the lightweight division from which Diaz clearly resides. And Diaz is going to make the most of being at that level while attempting to pave the way to becoming undisputed lightweight champion.

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Alden "The Kid" Chodash is operator of AldenBoxing.com.

Article posted on 29.04.2007



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