One of the perks, as the thinking goes, of being a titleholder these days is that you get to call the shots, which is precisely why Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz had no interest in pursuing a rematch with Tevin Farmer, whom he defeated by 12-round decision to win the IBF junior lightweight title last January, even though there was a rematch clause in their original contract.
“I wanted to fight Tevin Farmer,” Diaz said on a recent episode of the SI Boxing Podcast. “I told my advisory company MTK and I told [promoter] Golden Boy that I wanted to make the fight happen. Obviously things on Tevin Farmer’s side wasn’t matching up. They still wanted to be the A-side and I didn’t want to be the B-side. They wanted to take the higher pay, the higher purse, and I didn’t want to deal with that.”
Instead, Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs) is now preparing to face his IBF mandatory Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. on Feb. 13. Diaz, however, made it clear that he is more than willing to face Farmer (30-5-1, 6 KOs) down the line – but the terms have to go his way. He is the champion, after all.
“I [became] the champion,” Diaz said. “I mean, I whooped his ass, even with the cut eye in the second round. I feel like I deserved to be the A-side. I’ll fight Tevin Farmer but things gotta look financially right and going everything in my favor. Fighting over here in California, the main event, and I’ll be the A-side. None of that ended up materializing.
“They wanted to pretend that they wanted to fight me but still give me peanuts and give me the pay that they wanted — Tevin Farmer getting more money and me taking a pay cut. At the end of the day, I’m the champion and I deserve to be the A-side. I would gladly like to whoop Tevin Farmer’s ass again. I’m not afraid of him, I’m not ducking him at all. It just doesn’t make sense. After this fight, after I take care of this mandatory, if things make sense, like I said, I will give Tevin Farmer a rematch. I just want to get what’s right and what I deserve.”
Farmer’s handlers, which includes promoter Lou DiBella, have insisted that Diaz was in violation of their agreement. Diaz, however, says he is on firm legal ground.
“Like i said, [the contract] expired,” Diaz says. “All that is already over with. I can’t go back and everything. My lawyers already told me that it expired. I’m not going to go based on that contract. That contract is already done and dealt with. Now it’s just focusing on a new contract and a new agreement. I’m agreeing to fight him again. I will give him the opportunity to fight for his title again and try to win it back, but the terms gotta be different now.”