Joseph Diaz Jr. has bounced again earlier than. There’s no cause to suppose he can’t do it once more.
“Jo Jo” misplaced a large choice to fast, slick Gary Russell Jr. in 2018 solely to win his subsequent 5 fights, together with a break-through unanimous choice over the favored Tevin Farmer to win the IBF 130-pound title in 2020.
Now he’s coming off one other one-sided setback, this time in opposition to undisputed 135-pound champion Devin Haney final December, a loss that has led some to imagine the 29-year-old’s finest years are behind him.
Diaz (32-2-1, 15 KOs) goals to show them flawed, beginning together with his comeback struggle in opposition to Mexican slugger William Zepeda on Saturday in San Diego (DAZN).
“I’ve had a few losses, a few ups and downs in my profession,” he instructed Boxing Junkie, “however I really feel like my complete journey has made me the fighter I’m as we speak. They’ve made me extra centered, extra decided, hungrier.
“I used that vitality on this coaching camp. I’m enthusiastic about Oct. 29.”
Zepeda (26-0, 23 KOs) might be a big problem for Diaz.
The 26-year-old is a match, fierce warrior who has 23 knockouts in 26 fights for a cause: He can crack. Diaz expects Zepeda to assault him from the opening bell, which is able to nearly be refreshing for the well-schooled American.
Diaz was the hunter in opposition to movers Farmer, Javier Fortuna and Haney. He’ll be the hunted in opposition to Zepeda.
“I don’t need to struggle a man I’ve to chase, like Farmer, Fortuna, Haney,” he mentioned. “These guys struggle on their again foot, making an attempt to field, making an attempt to maneuver, being defensive. William Zepeda will apply a variety of stress, which is able to enable me to indicate my boxing abilities.
“I really feel I’ll be capable of be elusive, to indicate my abilities, my defensive abilities. Every little thing in my arsenal will come out on Saturday evening.”
Plus, this being his fourth struggle at 135 kilos, he feels he has grown into the division. His bodily power, he believes, will assist him address the bodily challenges Zepeda may current of their scheduled 12-rounder.
“I’ll have pace, elusiveness and energy. You’ll see on Saturday evening,” he mentioned.
If issues go nicely for Diaz, he hopes to maneuver straight into one other massive struggle.
Meaning a gathering with the likes of Haney, Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia or Shakur Stevenson, 4 of probably the most resected fighters on the planet. All of them can be vital favorites handy Diaz his third loss.
That notion wouldn’t faze Diaz, who has bucked the chances repeatedly in his profession. His confidence has by no means wavered, even after setbacks.
He was requested how he was in a position to bounce again from the loss to Russell.
“A variety of dedication, a variety of inside perception in myself,” he mentioned. “I’ve that inside perception, belief in God, understanding all the things I’ve been by. I imagine I can overcome something.”
Diaz’s critics may roll their eyes after they learn that remark given his losses to Russell and Haney. Effectively, he insists the doubts work in his favor.
The 2012 U.S. Olympian mentioned that his soon-to-be 2-year-old son is his major supply of motivation today. After that comes those that don’t imagine he has the flexibility to compete with the elite 135-pounders despite his credentials.
“The hatred fuels me,” he mentioned. “Lots of people suppose I’ve fallen off, that I’m not the fighter I used to be. That proper there motivates me. Like I mentioned, I’ve had losses in my profession. You may’t let that beat you. You simply make changes the subsequent time so that you might be victorious. …
“I’m able to carry out.”