Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Joseph Diaz: Matinee Idol in Wait?

image

By Cliff Rold

In the ring, he wasn’t the most impressive member of the 2012 US Olympic boxing team. He still isn’t. That honor, then and now, has belonged to welterweight Errol Spence.

That’s no knock on featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. Spence just looked, looks, that good. Given the weight he fights at (welter) and the frame to move up, Spence may ultimately be the biggest star developed from a team that failed to medal.

There’s always room for more than one star, and for different kinds of stars.

What stood out about Joseph Diaz Jr., aside from his clear fighting ability, was how he came across on TV. He looked younger than nineteen then. He could pass for younger than his current 23 now. His public demeanor is almost a throw back ‘aw shucks’ approach with a media ready smile to go with it.

Put another way, Diaz is telegenic.

That can go a long way.

Boxing always has room for a new matinee idol.

This Saturday, underneath HBO’s Andre Ward-Sullivan Barrera main event (9:45 PM EST/6:45 PM PST), Diaz (19-0, 11 KO)can take a big step towards possibly being the next to fill those shoes. This is a big one for Diaz. Already exposed on national basic cable outlets, Diaz’s premium debut will go a long way towards developing what fan base he carries in the future.

He’s well matched for the occasion.

That doesn’t mean Diaz is matched soft. He’s not. Jayson Velez (23-1-1, 16 KO) is older and more experienced at this point. His lone loss came to a solid professional in Ronny Rios and he was competitive (if overcompensated on the cards) in a draw against then featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich. Velez can win this fight. It’s what makes it appealing for any fight fan.

015_Joseph_Diaz

Velez can win but, if Diaz is the goods, he should win. It’s the sort of smart development test that not enough rising lights risk anymore. It shows that Diaz’s team isn’t just building him for a title shot. They’re building him to win and keep titles down the road.   

If he can get there, his handlers might have more than a fighter on their hands.

Not all matinee idols are the same. Some of them can become the biggest thing in the sport. Sugar Ray Leonard, the kid with his girlfriend’s picture taped to his sock, and Oscar De La Hoya, the kid who won a medal for his late mother, became the richest examples of the tag. With big smiles and big ability, they captured the public’s fascination like few of their peers.

Diaz doesn’t have their gold medal pedigree. There’s still plenty of room in the matinee idol tent.
A fighter doesn’t have to stay unbeaten forever to attain the status. Ray Mancini was a matinee idol enhanced by his first defeat. The story of the Ohio kid trying to fulfill his father’s lost career was gangbusters. When the great Alexis Arguello defeated Mancini it only furthered the public affection for him.

Arturo Gatti’s blood and guts warfare also fit the bill, reminding fans of a time when they literally watched action warriors in the matinee hours. Kelly Pavlik looked like he might get there a few years ago.

Diaz looks like a good candidate in the now. His style is fan friendly and evolving. He can punch a little, box a little, and isn’t afraid to exchange. Combine that with a charisma that isn’t teachable and there could be something here.

How much something is always hard to say. Diaz fights at featherweight. Even in an era where featherweight can be worth more than it usually was in past times, sometimes lots more, it’s still not regularly as rich as the classes higher on the scale.

Diaz has the potential to move the needle north.

The 2012 team is starting to come into their own. Rau’shee Warren came up just shy of a title last year. Jamal Herring looks like he’s becoming a serious contender. Marcus Browne is already cracking some top ten lists at light heavyweight. Spence could easily have a belt by this time next year.

This weekend, the spotlight is on Diaz. He might be able to hold a piece of it for awhile.

Cliff’s Notes…

Lucas Browne might have had some help defeating Ruslan Chagaev huh? The WBA mess at heavyweight gets messier…Saul Alvarez says he’s not using Amir Khan to get ready for Gennady Golovkin? Some punch lines just write themselves…Joseph Parker-Carlos Takam will tell us something about whether Parker is as good as he looks. And he looks really good…Batman v. Superman week is here. Early reviews are mixed. Like reviews really count here…Daredevil Season Two is off to a fantastic start. The Punisher is well cast…Juan Francisco Estrada-Donnie Nietes? Why not? That’s a hell of a fight.   

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Teetotaler on 03-23-2016

Danm thats crazy wasn't he just fighting on l.a fight club a short while ago? Didn't even know he was featured on the card

Comment by Corelone on 03-23-2016

[QUOTE=kidbazooka;16554110]I like jojo Diaz he's in pretty tough this Saturday but hopefully he comes through in impressive fashion.[/QUOTE] He's in very tough this weekend, that's good. Velez has height, reach, experience, all the good things, and he's only giving up…

Comment by kidbazooka on 03-23-2016

I like jojo Diaz he's in pretty tough this Saturday but hopefully he comes through in impressive fashion.

Comment by nycsmooth on 03-23-2016

He has a lot of talent but let' s wait & c what better opposition brings...Rios was destroyed by R Castallanos....

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (4)
Top Headlines Photos: Claressa Shields, Hannah Rankin - Size Up at Presser Photos: Gabe Rosado, Luis Arias - Face To Face, Final Presser Photos: Brandon Rios, Ramon Alvarez - Face To Face, Final Presser Vikas Krishan, Top Rank Promotional Pact Made Official Photos: Jarrell Miller, Bogdan Dinu - Face To Face at Final Presser Mayweather Says Nasukawa Fight is Back, Terms Being Finalized Photos: Kavaliauskas vs. Roberto Arriaza - Set For Eliminator Photos: Maurice Hooker, Alex Saucedo - Ready For War Photos: Luis Ortiz Putting in Work For Travis Kauffman Fight Photos: Jarrett Hurd Grinding Hard For Jason Welborn Bout Euro News: Tyron Zeuge, Mikhalkin vs. Boesel, More Hooker: An Old Midget Hurt Saucedo; Being Tough Won't Be Enough Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury To Be Carried in Movie Theaters Joe Joyce Welcomes Ordered Clash With Hughie Fury Fury: At Some Point, I'll Have To Stand and Fight With Wilder Photos: Roman Gonzalez Putting in Work For Guevara Clash Fury: Joyce Sparring Had Nothing To Do With Training Camp Move Canelo vs. Rocky Fielding - Undercard Details Revealed Michael Conlan vs. Jason Cunningham on Warrington-Frampton Anthony Yarde is Pumped To Land Spot on Wilder-Fury Card Daniel Dubois, Bradley Skeete, Bowen Back on December 15 Wilder Co-Trainer: Fury Like Rubik's Cube, But He Can Be Solved Haye: Usyk Can't Get Hit Like That By Joshua; He Has Work To Do Porter: Errol Spence is Getting More Yards - And I Don't Like It! Photos: Hooker, Saucedo - Go To War in Sparring in 2012 Tyson Fury on The Therapeutic Value of Training Warrington: Something Tells Me Frampton is Not The Same Guy Horn Realizes That He Must Be Dominate Mundine To Impress Mikey Garcia Ready: I Have Everything To Beat Errol Spence! Hearn: Jarrell Miller vs. Whyte or Chisora Possible in Early 2019 Felix Verdejo's Next Bout Eyed For United States in Early 2019 The Other Half of Junior Welterweight Fury: If I Fought Wilder In Manchester, We'd Sell 75,000 Tickets Photos: Claressa Shields, Nico Hernandez - Open Workouts Photos: Gabe Rosado, Luis Arias - Shows Off Moves at Workouts Photos: Brandon Rios, Ramon Alvarez - Grind at Workouts Photos: Jarrell Miller, Bogdan Dinu - Putting in Work in Kansas AIBA Prez Says They Are 100% Compliant With Anti-Doping Rules Peterson Quickly Agreed To Face Lipinets: I'll Fight Anyone! Photos: Maurice Hooker, Alex Saucedo - Go Face To Face
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement