Felix Diaz, right, covers up as Lamont Peterson swings on him during their fight in October 2015/Getty Images
Terence Crawford is undefeated and holder of two of the major junior welterweight belts. But none of that cuts any ice with Felix Diaz, who Saturday will challenge Crawford for his titles at Madison Square Garden in New York City (on HBO).
“With his style, I know I can beat Terence Crawford,” Diaz said this week during a conference call. “Crawford has fought no one like me. Stylistically, I can beat him.”
Diaz (19-1, 9 KOs) won the gold medal for the Dominican Republic in the 2008 Beijing Games. His only loss as a pro came to former junior welterweight and current welterweight champion Lamont Peterson via majority decision in October 2015.
Crawford, of Omaha, Neb., is 30-0 with 21 knockouts.
Sammy Vasquez Jr./Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions
Sammy Vasquez Jr. is ranked as high as No. 8 in the world by one governing body. But it’s in the welterweight division, which is loaded with talent. The champions are Keith “One Time” Thurman, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook and Jesse Vargas and two of the contenders are Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter.
Vasquez therefore knows it won’t be easy getting to the promised land that is a world championship.
“The division is loaded with great fighters,” said Vasquez, of Monessen, Pa. “With the exception of Jesse Vargas, all the champions are undefeated. The road to get to the top is very tough because everyone in the top 10 is an exceptional fighter. I think it’s the toughest division in boxing.”
Vasquez is 21-0 with 15 knockouts. He’ll take on Felix Diaz (17-1, 8 KOs) of the Dominican Republic on July 16 at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. They will tangle underneath the heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Chris Arreola (on Fox).