In attendance at Saturday’s card in Indio, Calif., was trainer Joel Diaz, who has a big fight coming up next month as he prepares Timothy Bradley to face Juan Manuel Marquez.
A lot of people are arguing that Bradley will have a hard time coming off the rough fight he had with Ruslan Provodnikov in March (recently voted best fight of the year so far in a RingTV poll). Diaz explained to RingTV why that fight was difficult and why it won’t affect him in October.
“One of the biggest reasons he got hurt in the last fight is that he blew up to 185 pounds due to the injuries to his feet [from the Manny Pacquiao fight last June],” said Diaz.
“From June until December, he still wasn’t walking on his feet. After every fight, Tim gets back in the gym. But for that particular fight, the inactivity really blew him up.”
The first thought that comes to most people’s minds when discussing the fight is that of a laid-out Manny Pacquiao after the one-punch knockout by Marquez in December. Diaz doesn’t think Bradley will find himself in a similar predicament.
“Tim has been hit before,” said Diaz. “When he fought Kendall Holt, who would have thought he would get up from that left hook? He came back and won the fight.”
If anything, Diaz sees Bradley putting the hurt on Marquez.
“He’s fought a lot of tough fights. His reflexes are there and, as a matter of fact, he’s hitting harder than he has before. He’s not as fast as he was. Before, he used to have more speed, but was pitty-pattying. Now, every punch he throws, he’s doing damage. If he catches Marquez, due to the fact he’s from a lower weight class and Tim is a natural welterweight, I think he will hurt him.”
Diaz sees the age factor playing a big part in the fight between Bradley and Marquez as well. Bradley has been in fewer wars over the course of his career and is a decade younger than the 40-year-old Marquez.
“When you get to that age, in the later rounds, that’s when it starts kicking in,” said Diaz. “Years start hitting you after the first half of the fight.”
Earlier in the night, Marquez’s brother, Rafael, was dealt defeat by the lightly regarded Efrain Esquivias. Diaz looked at that result as proof to his argument.
“You know what happened tonight? Marquez’s age kicked in after the fourth round.”
Diaz will be busy during Mayweather-Canelo fight week working the corner of his brother, Julio Diaz, against Shawn Porter in a rematch of their draw last December.
Julio is on the upswing after his career looked over following a bad knockout loss to Kendall Holt at 140 pounds in May of 2011.
“When he fought Kendall Holt, Julio had to lose four pounds the day of the weigh-ins,” said Diaz.
“He was beat up because he took the fight with three weeks’ notice. We had been negotiating the fight and there was nothing else for us. So we took the fight and had to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. The weight was the main issue that night.”
The move up in weight to 147 pounds has rejuvenated the former lightweight titlist’s career with the quality performance against Porter and a close loss to Amir Khan in the U.K. in April.
Diaz knows the deck is stacked against his brother against Porter this week, and their gameplan is attuned to this.
“Obviously, he’s signed with Golden Boy, he’s signed with Al Haymon, they weren’t going to give him the loss,” said Diaz about the first fight between Porter and his brother.
“Julio told me, ‘In the first fight, I hesitated in the earlier rounds to feel him out and see what he had,’” said Diaz. “’For this one, I have to knock him out or he has to knock me out,’ he told me. From the beginning bell, we’re going for the kill. This fight is not going to go the distance.
Josesito Lopez due to return in November
Also at Saturday’s card in Indio was Chris Arreola stablemate Josesito Lopez, who was scratched from the card in early August after suffering a sprained chest muscle.
Lopez indicated to RingTV that he’ll likely be returning in November and will meet fringe contender Aaron Martinez, the same fighter Lopez was due to face last weekend.
Lopez is coming off consecutive losses to Saul Alvarez and Marcos Maidana and though Martinez is tough, he’s considered a step down and someone who can get Lopez back in the win column. Prior to the two defeats, Lopez scored a career-defining victory over Victor Ortiz last June, breaking his jaw on the way to a late TKO.
Lopez told RingTV that a rematch with Ortiz is what he has in his sights if he gets by his tune-up, but also admitted that there are a slew of quality fights out there for him at welterweight.
Lopez’s trainer, Henry Ramirez, told RingTV earlier in the week he’d like to see Lopez fight someone other than Ortiz, not because he doesn’t think he’d win, but because he just doesn’t like Ortiz.
A De La Hoya pro debut on Thursday card
19-year-old bantamweight Diego De La Hoya, cousin to Oscar, will make his professional debut on the Thursday card at the MGM Grand.
RingTV spoke with De La Hoya, who is managed by cousin Joel De La Hoya, about the fight through translator Edmundo Saavedra.
“I know it’s probably the biggest weekend in boxing and I’m thankful for the opportunity,” De La Hoya said.
De La Hoya grew up in Mexico but has moved to southern California in order to pursue his career as a professional. He’s been training with Joel Diaz in Indio since establishing residency.
Carrying the De La Hoya last name will no doubt bring some additional expectations to the young fighter, something he feels he has a handle on.
“I’ve always had that pressure since I was a kid,” De La Hoya said. “I’ve always been able to control it and I know I can live up to the name.”
De La Hoya will fight at 122 pounds early in his career but sees himself as a bantamweight. The plan is to stay active and fight often, he said.
Photos by Chris Farina-Top Rank; Naoki Fukuda (2)