By Mike Coppinger
Jorge Diaz, fresh off his scintillating scrap with Teon Kennedy in March, returns Saturday in Atlantic City on the Yuriorkis Gamboa-Daniel Ponce de Leon undercard, against Sal Garcia (14-6-2, 7 KOs).
His bout with Kennedy was an all-action encounter, as both fighters stood toe-to-toe for the entire 12 round bout. Ultimately, the 23-year-old Diaz lost to Kennedy by unanimous decision in the biggest fight of his career to date.
“I didn’t have the experience,” Diaz said. “I didn’t have enough rounds in me. I fought that fight like I was fighting a six round fight. Throwing 100-and-something punches a round, acting like I only have six rounds.
This will be Diaz’s second consecutive bout on a Yuriorkis Gamboa-headlined card, and the junior featherweight from New Brunswick, N.J. hopes to get some rounds in, looking to fine-tune his fighting style.
“I’m not gonna short-change my fans, but I’m trying to prolong my career and I want to start learning in the ring,” Diaz said. “I’m going to be a little bit more patient. I’m going to try to get the most rounds I can in this fight. If the opportunity presents itself, then I’ll capitalize on it. I’m trying to learn to use the ring to my advantage, angles, become more of a professional fighter.
Diaz (15-1, 9 KOs) hopes to get a significant fight at 122 down the line, but he realizes he has much to learn.
“I’d like to get two nice fights to get my mojo back, so hopefully in three fights,” Diaz said. “Now, I have the experience. That Teon Kennedy fight took me to another level. It increased my capacity in the boxing ring and I’m very grateful and thankful for that. Now, I just want to get rounds in.”
Mike Coppinger is a regular boxing freelancer for USA TODAY and Ring Magazine. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, the Ring Ratings Advisory Panel and the Yahoo! Sports Boxing Panel. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger.