By Jake Donovan
Former 140 lb titlist Amir Khan fights in the United Kingdom for the first time in two years as he faces Julio Diaz in a modified welterweight bout.
The two clash at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England, with the fight to air live on Boxnation in the U.K. and via same-day tape delay on Showtime in the United States.
Khan (27-3, 19KO) seeks his second straight win following back-to-back title fight losses to Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson. He is coming off of a 10th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Carlos Molina last December, in his first fight under new trainer Virgil Hunter.
The undercard of that very bout was highlighted by a surprise performance by Diaz (40-7-1, 29KO), who held unbeaten welterweight prospect Shawn Porter to a 10-round draw. The former lightweight titlist is unbeaten in his past three contests since returning to the ring last summer.
Both fighters need to keep winning in order to maintain any semblance of relevance. The stakes are potentially higher for Khan, whose name is being floated as a potential candidate for a huge fight in the fall. A loss for Diaz could spell the end to a long, well-respected career.
Who wins the crucial crossroads bout? Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com sees the action going down.
B-SCENE PREDICTIONS – AMIR KHAN v. JULIO DIAZ
“Amir Khan in the 8th”
- Damien Acevedo (Khan)
“I think that Amir Khan and Julio Diaz will be a close fight throughout the first half but I expect the Briton to pull away in the 2nd half to win a comfortable unanimous decision, setting him up for a big fall fight.”
- Ryan Burton (Khan)
“Diaz boasts a puncher’s chance, but only in the sense that Khan always seems to be one punch away from trouble in any given fight. Khan boxes early, gains more confidence as the fight goes on and stops Diaz late. From there, the campaign begins to secure a Mayweather showdown in September.”
- Jake Donovan (Khan)
“Khan TKO9. This fight will surprise a lot of people as we tend to forget just how skilled Kidd Diaz is. The Porter fight showed that if his chin can withstand early barrages then he is as competitive as any of the elite in his division. It will be close in the viewer's eyes but Khan's speed will eventually catch up to Diaz forcing the ref to stop the fight late.”
- Ernie Gabion (Khan)
“Khan TKO3. If Khan wants to remain relevant, he'd better fight someone worthy in his next outing.”
- Richard Najdowski (Khan)
“The only way I see Khan winning is by decision. That said, he needs to be disciplined and box throughout. Diaz is a boxer/ puncher, but we'll try to get Khan to initiate so he could counter. If Diaz is able to go to the body as he does so well, it'll be interesting to see what adjustments Khan will make. Not to mention both men have excellent trainers in their corners with Joel Diaz working his younger brother's corner and Virgil Hunter in Khan's corner. To me, this is an even fight. So I predict a draw.”
- Francisco Salazar (DRAW)
“Khan UD: I think Diaz comes into this fight with a lot of confidence after the Porter fight. While Khan is the more skilled fighter, Diaz's sheer determination keeps him in the fight. Diaz is chinny but I don't think Khan's power is as hard as advertised. Diaz has his moments but Khan wins a clear decision.”
- Luis Sandoval (Khan)
“Khan TKO8. When we thought Diaz was long finished, he mounted a nice comeback in 2012. His win over the late Hector Sanchez was good, and his raw with 20-0 Shawn Porter was also impressive. However, Diaz isn't a fighter (at least at this stage of his pro career), who will create many problems for the British star. Khan will engage him early on, outpoint him convincingly and beat him to a punch. Diaz will be either knocked down several times or will retire on his stool late in the fight.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Khan)
Totals: Amir Khan 7, Julio Diaz 0, DRAW 1
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox