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Diaz Discusses Gamboa-Rios, Pacquiao-Bradley, Cotto - Boxing News
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 Last update:  2/16/2012       Read more by Chris Robinson         
   
Diaz Discusses Gamboa-Rios, Pacquiao-Bradley, Cotto
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by Chris Robinson

On Wednesday afternoon I swung by the Fight Capital Gym in Las Vegas to check out some sparring between lightweight contender Sharif Bogere and junior lightweight hopeful Lonnie Smith. Bogere is preparing for a February 25th fight on the undercard of the HBO showcase between former champions Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana while Smith meets up with Vicente Escobedo one weekend later.

I spotted veteran trainer and cut man Miguel Diaz in the building as well, as the Argentinean was working with his heavyweight pupil Andy Ruiz. Less than a few weeks removed from seeing another one of his fighters, Cuba’s Rances Barthelemy, pull off a solid win over previously-unbeaten Hylon Williams Jr. on ESPN’s airwaves, Diaz was in great spirits as he reflected on that particular victory.
 
A man with great knowledge of the sport after countless years in the game that has seen him work the corner of several world champions, Diaz has a great mind to pick and I was sure to get his take on some of the recent bouts either rumored to be or officially headed to Las Vegas.
 
There’s an upcoming two-month stretch that very well may see such fights as Brandon Rios-Yuriorkis Gamboa, Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan-Lamont Peterson II, and Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley landing in the city and Diaz had some insight on every one of those matchups.
 
From working the corners of Cotto, Pacquiao, and Mayweather to leading Marcos Maidana into battle against Khan in December of 2010, while also prepping faded former champion Joel Casamayor for his recent loss to Bradley this past November, Diaz has taken in a lot behind the scenes and offered up some worthwhile opinions on those four key contests.
 
In his own words, this is what Diaz had to share, as he opened up with his work with Ruiz and Barthelemy before venturing into the aforementioned quartet of showdowns.

Bringing out the best in Andy Ruiz…
“Another guy that spent a few years at the Wild Card Gym. I don’t want to involve Freddie, but the guys that were working with him, they weren’t teaching him nothing. Now he’s a guy who’s learning how to fight, how to place the punches. You saw the movement, the body movement. He’s not there yet, but he’s a diamond in the rough.”

A change of pace for Cubans Rances Barthelemy and Luis Franco…
“I tell you one thing, that’s another kid who spent two years in Miami working. You know the Cuban fighters aren’t the most disciplined fighters in the world. You cannot ask the fighter ‘Did you run today?’ You have to see it, you have to be there, in order to do it. That’s what I did with Rances and what I did with Luis Franco. Both belong to the same team. I brought them for three months over here, I put them in my program, and they were really happy that somebody was training them. Not just asking questions if they were training and eight days or ten days before the fight, start working with them. This is a kid, Luis Franco, who knows. Fighters are the last people who you can lie to, if you are a trainer or not a trainer. They recognize immediately who is a trainer and who is a bullsh*tter. And the difference with what they’ve found over here in Vegas.”
 
Spotting Yuriorkis Gamboa recently in Las Vegas…
“I saw him not too long ago. He came to the Top Rank office to sign a contract with Brandon Rios, to fight Brandon Rios. I don’t know if he signed or not but this week is very pivotal for the fight. And I see a very smart fighter asking different questions about Brandon Rios. You know, the prices, very positive, very smart kid.”
 
Sizing up Gamboa vs. Rios…
“As a fighter, he’s a better technician than Brandon Rios. Brandon Rios, on the other hand, is a bigger guy. When I see [Gamboa] personally, I see a small guy. But also I see how a small guy can beat a big guy, because he’s a smart fighter. That’s what makes the difference. Very smart fighter.”

Rios claiming he will walk through Gamboa’s early fire and score the knockout, much like he did in his title-winning effort against Miguel Acosta a year ago…
“That’s a possibility too, but the last fight with Brandon Rios made me think which Brandon Rios is going to show up? The one who fought Acosta or the one that didn’t make the weight in the last fight? In order to make 135 pounds, if he has to leave the fight in the training, then it’s not going to be like with Acosta. It’s going to be a different type of fight.”

Not selling Miguel Cotto short in his fight with Mayweather…
“That’s a great match-up. This is a great match because this is a guy that is more intelligent in the ring than anybody else, Floyd Mayweather. But don’t forget, [Cotto] fought Mosley and he fought a smart, smart fight. I had a lot to do with that particular fight because I was working him in those years and I was the one who made, for sure, that Cotto used his jab. Because you use your jab with a jabber and that’s what he did with Mosley. Now, if he would be able to do the same thing to Floyd Mayweather, we’re going to see on May 5th.”

Reflecting back on the preparation for Cotto’s November 2007 bout with Mosley…
“That it was a very difficult fight, I got great respect for Mosley for all of his career. But I knew at that particular time that Cotto was a young fighter and ambitious to make it to the top level, where he is at today. And with a couple of things we changed with him, especially with the jab, that was very pivotal. At that time, if you remember, Cotto was a left-hooker. Everybody respected him for the left hook to the body. And then, after the fight, even Mosley said ‘I didn’t know that Cotto had a jab’. That was his comment. I played a very important part in that. Because I always believe, it’s an old theory of Mr. Futch, a great technician, a great trainer; you jab with the jabber. When Ken Norton fought Ali, that’s what he told Ken Norton.”

Cotto’s resurgence as a fighter following his November 2009 loss to Manny Pacquiao…
“It’s two different things. It’s good matchmaking, no question about it, but also, it’s that his spirit is back again. His spirit is back. Unfortunately he broke up with his Uncle, his father passed away, and all those things were influential for him to rejuvenate himself. Now it’s a different Cotto. Not as young as he was before, but more savage now. More intelligent. That’s what makes him a better fighter.”
 
Comparing Lamont Peterson’s recent upset over Amir Khan to the effort of Marcos Maidana, who Diaz trained at the time, during his bout with the British star…
“The Amir Khan who we were expecting to fight Maidana, Maidana didn’t know how to solve the problem. Through ten rounds he hit him with one good punch and he just couldn’t connect with a second punch. Because Maidana’s that kind of fighter. He gets too anxious, he’s a powerful guy, but he gets too anxious and nobody can control that. Peterson, on the other hand, he knows how to break the pace of Amir Khan. There was a big discussion about the referee and this and that, but Peterson fought a hell of a fight and there’s no question, to me, that he won the fight.”
 
Why Peterson had to go through his gut checks with Timothy Bradley and Victor Ortiz to become the fighter he is today…
“Bradley dominated him completely. He made Peterson look different than what he is today. I think Peterson needed those fights in order to believe in himself. He was the type of fighter who had one way of fighting and if it didn’t work that way, he wouldn’t be successful. In these later fights that he had, especially with Ortiz, he went down and then showed the guts to go back and try to fight Ortiz an actually turned that one-sided fight into a draw. That’s the same thing that happened with Amir Khan. Amir Khan dropped him in the first round, even if it was legit or whatever, and mentally he was able to come back and fight his own fight and rough him up.”

Comparing Lamont’s change of style to his brother Anthony’s changeup in his September 2010 bout with Rios…
“He changed that mentality from ‘I’m a boxer’ to ‘I’m a fighter’. It can work two ways. For instance, when Anthony [Peterson] fought Rios, he was told box, box, box. Why? Because Rios is just strictly a slugger, a pressure guy. When Anthony saw the first round and saw that Rios was so easy to get hit, he changed his game plan and tried to be an aggressive fighter. And that’s when Rios took advantage of that and little by little, demolished Anthony. It was completely different with his brother. His brother changed from a boxer to a fighter. And that’s made him to win the fight.”

Wh ether Timothy Bradley is a legitimate challenge for Pacquiao…
“Yeah, it is a challenge. Especially with the last two fights, Pacquiao didn’t look that good. It’s no secret to anybody he got problems with his legs and who knows. I don’t control the training because I’m not there when they’re training. But Timothy Bradley is a very, very good fighter altogether.”

Not overly impressed by Bradley during his recent victory over Casamayor…
“Regardless, I didn’t like what happened when he fought Casamayor. For him to take eight rounds to knock him out or for me to stop the fight with Casamayor, I think it was a bad performance for him. But, on the other hand, probably inside his head, he was thinking that it would be better to be more careful instead of being aggressive and trying to knock him out. As a matter of fact, by the seventh round, I told Luis ‘If he doesn’t come out any better than this, I’m going to stop the fight’. He said ‘Well, let’s give him one more round’ and I could see Timothy, by the eighth round, he realized that Casamayor was not what he was expecting. And that’s why, when he opened up three, four punches, I stopped the fight.”

Why he feels Pacquiao still has the desire despite recent retirement talk…
“We all know, politics is a big part of his life. I don’t think, if he desires to fight whoever, now with Timothy Bradley, later with Mayweather, I don’t think he will lose any desire until that happens. Probably after those two fights, if it happens, he’ll probably say ‘Ok, now I’m going to dedicate myself to be a politician’. But a bad performance doesn’t mean a fighter has been having too much training or been involved in other activities to the point where he can’t cope the way he did before.”

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Tags: Timothy Bradley , Amir Khan , Manny Pacquiao , Floyd Mayweather Jr. , Miguel Cotto , Pacquiao-Bradley , Pacquiao vs Bradley , Brandon Rios , Khan vs Peterson , Khan-Peterson , Lamont Peterson , Yuriorkis Gamboa , Mayweather-Cotto , Mayweather vs Cotto


 

 User Comments and Feedback (must register to comment)

comment by 4Corners, on 02-16-2012
Gamboa-Rios, biggest fight of the year so far, with Mayweather-Cotto and Pacquiao-Bradley right behind.

comment by MURAKAMI9, on 02-16-2012
Gamboa/rios fight is official!!!!!! 135 pounds!

comment by garfios, on 02-16-2012
Rances and Franco they are good prospects, Franco might be ready for a shot...

Post A Comment/View More User Comments (3) 

   
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