By Chris Robinson
At the moment, there is still no official opponent locked in for former junior welterweight champion Amir Khan’s April 20th return.
One fight removed from his upset loss to Danny Garcia this past July in Las Vegas, Khan has since seen his spirits restored after teaming up with Northern California’s Virgil Hunter. The duo’s first ring endeavor resulted in Khan dominating and bloodying an outmatched Carlos Molina over ten rounds before the fight was called off.
While the very capable Josesito Lopez appeared to be in the running to face Khan, the two sides couldn’t agree on a catch weight for the fight, leaving the Bolton star without a dance partner as his next fight creeps closer.
One man who is throwing his name into the hat is former two-time champion Julio Diaz.
“I guess they’ve been searching for an opponent,” Diaz told me on Tuesday evening. “I’m trying to let him know that I’m here. There are not a lot of options and I want to prove [myself].”
Diaz is coming off of a stirring performance against undefeated lightweight hopeful Shawn Porter this past December 15th on the Khan-Molina undercard. A heavy underdog heading into the match, Diaz adapted to Porter’s speed and turned the tide of the bout over the second half of the contest with steady pressure and pinpoint punching.
While Diaz ultimately had to settle for a split-draw verdict after ten rounds, the 33-year old reflects back on the match as if it was another feather in his camp.
“I was always confident, because I know that I’m a good performer,” stated Diaz. “In boxing, you’ve got to give a good performance and put up good fights. I knew Shawn Porter didn’t have the heart or the experience that I did. I think my experience showed in that fight.”
The last vivid memory some fans have of Diaz was his 3rd round TKO loss to Kendall Holt, more specifically the crushing counter left hook from the Patterson, New Jersey native that leveled him and led to the bout’s conclusion.
Diaz insists that his struggles with weight were his undoing just as much as his adversary in front of him that evening.
“Well, that was the frustrating part for me,” Diaz explained. “I knew how my losses [occurred]. Not that there was an excuse, because at the end of the day I’m responsible. I always had that trouble making weight and I was weak. I had trouble with Kendall Holt, because I thought Kendall Holt wasn’t at my level and I thought it was an easy fight. It’s just that my body could not take a punch; my body was weak.
“That’s why I wanted to come back to a comfortable weight class,” Diaz continued. “I’m a fresh fighter; I just have to stay disciplined and healthy and I’ll be able to put up good performances.”
Getting back to his desire for a match with Khan, Diaz again stated his case.
“Well, Amir Khan looked spectacular that night, but he fought for himself,” Diaz said of the Molina win. “Carlos Molina is a good fighter, but styles make fights. Carlos Molina is a straight up guy who stands in front of you. That worked out perfectly for Amir Khan. He was a little faster and used angles. I don’t think he could do that with me.
“I would like to prove that it wouldn’t be the same thing with me,” Diaz added. “I’m a lot faster that Molina, I used angles, and I’m a smarter boxer. I know I would get his attention. Right now I’m coming off of a winning streak of good performances and I’m a two-time world champion. He beat Molina but he’s coming off a loss. He still has that cloud hanging over him.”