By Ben Jacobs
Diego Cháves was largely untested before his thrilling bout with Keith Thurman last year but the manner of his performance left American fight fans wanting to see more of him, despite the defeat.
Due to injuries and recuperation time, Cháves is only now returning to action back in his native Argentina where he will face countryman Juan Alberto Godoy for the IBF Latino welterweight title this Saturday. Perhaps more importantly, it is a chance for Cháves to regain some confidence and prepare for a new assault at the welterweight division’s top dogs.
“I’ve been preparing for the last two and half months to get back in the ring, now on the 15th I’ll be back after seven months out,” Diego told BoxingScene.
“We’ve had a very good training camp. A lot of things went through my mind after losing to Keith Thurman.
“I was going to come back earlier, I was going to have a training camp alongside Jesús Soto Karass but I had two injuries on the same leg within a two week period so it put me out for the rest of 2013.”
‘La Joya’ would not be the first boxer to come back from a loss and go on to achieve further success. He can look to his fellow countryman Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse and Luis Carlos Abregú as examples of that.
“I think you can learn from a defeat, but it was a real blow to lose for the first time. My team and I now have new strategies; new training methods and this will really help us get back. I heard I gained a lot of fans in America and a lot of respect. We did a really good fight against Keith Thurman. Up until the eighth round neither of us was superior to the other in there, it was very close. For that reason the people over in America respect me and they liked what they saw.”
Thurman is touted as not only one of America’s rising talents but as someone with potential to be a world champion. He carries an 86% knockout ratio which would suggest dynamite in his hands. Cháves, however, is not of the belief that his power is of extraordinary levels.
“He’s not such a big puncher as everybody thinks or says, he hit me with some hard shots in the opening rounds and I realized that he was strong but at no time did I think he was unbreakable.
“I wasn’t in a bad way at any point but the one he caught me with was a body shot right on the liver and I couldn’t recover from that. That was the only way he could beat me. I think I hurt him too, he realized that. I saw he did an interview in which he said if he hadn’t stopped me in the ninth, he wouldn’t have come out for the tenth. He said nobody had hit him like I did.
“I would like a rematch with him, if possible. I think I should have been more aggressive, at times he wasn’t doing anything during the fight and the rematch would be much more difficult for him.”
The plan is now for Cháves to win his fight at the weekend, possibly have one more bout in Argentina before a renewed attempt at fighting the world’s best in the US. In any case, he is determined to be more active than he has been over the past couple of years. Could one of those future clashes be against one of his fellow hard punching countrymen?
“We are three Argentines in the same division, maybe Matthysse will join us and there will be a fourth,” he enthused.
“It would be difficult to see the four of us face each other but if it happens then we’ll do it!
“I’ve worked several times with Marcos Maidana in his training camps. The first time was before he fought Kotelnik, then before Victor Ortíz, Victor Cayo and a couple of others, I’ve helped him get ready. I’ve also worked with Carlos Abregú, we’ve done a couple of sparring sessions and then in March I’ll go and work with him again.
“The idea is to go back to America after this fight, it’s the Mecca of boxing over there and I feel I’m at the top level.”