Devin Haney and Joseph Diaz pose during the press conference for the Matchroom Boxing Fight Card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on December 4, 2021. Photo by Melina Pizano / Matchroom.
It often feels like a shallow filler when a fighter thanks their opponent at a press conference for accepting the fight. It’s not a fight without a second participant, after all. The tone in which Devin Haney showed his appreciation to Joseph Diaz Jr. at Friday’s press conference suggested his words were anything but hollow feelings.
Haney, 22, who is defending his WBC lightweight title for the fourth time, has struggled to get the best known fighters to step into the ring with him. Former 28-year-old IBF junior lightweight title holder Diaz is the kind of challenger who could get fans to tune in and pay attention to the skillful Haney. Eddie Hearn, whose Matchroom Boxing is promoting the fight in conjunction with Diaz promoter Golden Boy Promotions, says the fight, scheduled for Dec. 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, has already sold 3,000 presale tickets.
That’s not to say the two were too accommodating.
Diaz objected after Haney suggested that Diaz was one-dimensional and would ultimately be the last unsuccessful opponent to try to brutalize Haney.
“I’m going to break your ass,” said Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) of South El Monte, Calif.
“Sounds good,” replied Haney, who is based in Las Vegas.
For Diaz, 2012 American Olympian, the fight represents an opportunity to win a world title in a second weight category, but also to rehabilitate his image in sport, after losing his title on the scales after having lacked weight there. has two fights, coming in more than three pounds above the 130-pound limit in a draw against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in February. Diaz rebounded with a unanimous decision over Javier Fortuna in July to win the interim title, which put him on track for the title fight.
“I know Devin Haney is a really and talented elusive fighter, but I’m a dog and I’m the kind of person who’s been out there before and faced the experience and this adversity where, I know this that it is. be killed or be killed, ”said Diaz, who counts his experience against fighters like Tevin Farmer and Andrew Cancio as one Haney has yet to have.
“I’m going to go out there and do whatever I have to do to be victorious no matter what. If he wants to box, I’m gonna stalk his ass. If he wants to come and bang, then I’ll slam him too. Whatever he wants to bring to the table, I’ll bring it.
Haney, who turned pro in Mexico at 17, defeated his toughest top-level opponent on his last time in the ring, surviving tough times against Jorge Linares to win a competitive decision in May.
Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz was quick to point out that Linares was almost a decade older than Diaz, and said Diaz was also much more active than Linares, who hadn’t fought since. 15 months before meeting Haney. That, he says, will help Diaz kick off his game plan much earlier than Linares.
Haney says there’s not much Diaz brings to the table that he hasn’t seen yet.
“I feel like her style will be tailor-made for me,” Haney said.
“There’s nothing he can do to win, he can’t send me, I’m going to show him he can’t beat me.” I have the advantage of size, I have all the tools to win. I don’t doubt myself, I know he’s going to come over there and try to do whatever he can to win, but I just feel like there’s nothing he can to do.
The two then removed Hearn as the moderator and spoke to each other directly, with Haney asking Diaz to name an opponent he has faced that looks like him. Diaz countered that the experience wasn’t just about the names on your resume, but the adversities you went through.
“I talk about everything I’ve been through, until I was hurt, until I was cut. I’ll take you to places you’ve never been. I’m gonna make you feel shit. I’ll cut your ass off. You better hope you have a good referee, ”Diaz said.
Haney was unfazed.
“I can’t wait to show JoJo Diaz that he can be a dog, but in the end, skills pay the bills,” Haney said.
“If this is your Plan A and you feel like, I’m just going to let you pester me and that’s how you’re going to stop me, it’s going to be a long night.”
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is a member of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be contacted at [email protected]