Joseph Diaz Jr. apologized to DAZN and his fans for failing to make weight Friday for what was supposed to be his first title defense Saturday night.
The 28-year-old Diaz admitted that he makes mistakes and will try to learn from those missteps moving forward. Coming in 3½ pounds overweight for this 130-pound title fight cost Diaz not only the IBF junior lightweight championship, but a $100,000 fine from his $500,000 purse.
Diaz stopped short, however, of saying that he is disappointed in himself during a post-fight interview following his 12-round majority draw with his mandatory challenger, Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.
“I’m not disappointed at all, man,” Diaz told DAZN’s Beto Duran. “At the end of the day, I know who I am. I work hard, man. I’m a hard worker. I’m a hard, disciplined type of fighter. And it just wasn’t my night, man. I couldn’t make the weight like I used to.”
Diaz attributed much of his failure to make weight to a lack of access to requisite facilities at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
At a certain point, Diaz realized those last few pounds couldn’t come off safely. It was then that he accepted he’d have to surrender his title at the scale and just try to feel as strong as possible in the ring against the undefeated Rakhimov.
“There was no sauna here,” Diaz explained. “This COVID stuff, they don’t have no gym here. They only have a treadmill here. They had me working out inside my room, with the f--king heater on. It was just, you know, completely, completely different than how, professional, you know, world title type fights should be. And I just had to try to adapt to it. I worked out inside the room. I jumped rope, but my body just felt weak and, you know, I just couldn’t do it. And my health is more important.
“I still had to go out here and showcase to the world what I’m about and fight. And I’m not gonna go and risk my life trying to make the weight, and really, really deplete myself, and get hurt inside that ring. There’s no need to f--king please anybody. At the end of the day, I’m doing this for myself and I’m doing this for my family, to take care of my family and to take care of myself. And that’s the person that I really need to look out for, is myself, nobody else.”
Diaz wasn’t allowed to try to weigh in a second time Friday because a California State Athletic Commission rule prohibits fighters from attempting again if they’re more than two pounds over the contracted weight. Diaz did adhere to the IBF’s second-day weigh-in limit by coming in at 139.6 pounds Saturday morning.
The left-handed Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KOs), a southpaw from Downey, California, beat Rakhimov by two rounds on judge Robert Hoyle’s scorecard (115-113). Judges Fernando Villarreal (114-114) and Zachary Young (114-114) scored their very competitive fight even, which rendered DAZN’s main event a majority draw.
The IBF junior lightweight title remains vacant because Tajikistan’s Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12 KOs) didn’t defeat Diaz.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.