Durable Juan Diaz can take Amir Khan the distance in Sheffield
After finishing two his last three fights on the losing side of the ledger, Amir Khan’s clash with former two-time world lightweight Champion Julio Diaz is a must-win bout for the Bolton pugilist. Khan is a massive 1/16 favourite to take the clash against the 7/1 ‘dog, but with his power far from devastating at 140lbs, it’s unlikely the Sheffield crowd will see the British fighter end the bout early as he steps up in weight.
Back in October 2007 Julio Diaz faced the unrelated Juan Diaz in a world lightweight title unification match that could’ve seen Khan’s opponent make the ascent to household name status. Sadly for Julio he lost, with the strain of having to waste 40lbs to meet the lightweight limit just too much to contend with on that occasion.
The defeat cast a long shadow over Diaz’s career, with the Mexican telling The Desert Sun’s Leighton Ginn “It frustrated me a lot…I carried it for three to four years. I was angry at the world, God and everything.” Sure enough his career faltered as he lost three of his next seven outings.
With those demons set to rest, Julio Diaz is undefeated in three fights (two stoppage wins and a draw) since taking the step up to welterweight, but steps back down in poundage to take on Khan at a 143lb catch-weight in the Steel City.
The most recent of those clashes was a controversial draw against 21-fight unbeaten prospect (and Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partner) Shawn Porter, in which a compelling Porter performance was denied the win by the ringside judges. Nonetheless Diaz proved his staying power against a 20-0 welterweight with 14 KO’s to his name by lasting the 10-round contest.
Amir Khan steps up beyond light-welter for the first time in his career in Sheffield, having stopped just two of his last six opponents at the 140lb limit. Given the durability Garcia showed against Porter at 146lbs the Mexican can take Khan the distance.
If Khan reproduces the imperious hand-speed in combination with excellent timing that was seen in his outclassing of Carlos Molina in his most recent fight he’ll out-box Diaz, but his questionable KO power could see the bout go the distance, with the Bolton-native gaining the decision verdict.