This weekend in what was his first title defense since claiming the IBF Super Lightweight Title, Joseph Diaz Jr. (33-1-1, 15 KO’s) ends up both losing his championship on the scales and failing to leave his bout with a victory. Many in the boxing community are shocked by the results since Diaz Jr. seemed to be so dominant when he won the title originally against former champion Devin Farmer.
On Friday, Diaz Jr. completely shocked the boxing community when he showed up to the weigh-ins and was 3.6 pounds over the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds, immediately relinquishing his title on the scale. His opponent Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12 KO’s), was able to make weight and put himself to win the IBF Title if he was able to defeat Diaz Jr.
The bout did not go as planned for Diaz Jr., whom was the favorite going into the fight. Diaz Jr. fell behind on the cards immediately and was put in a position where he had to crawl back on the score cards. Diaz was able to do enough in the later rounds in order to do enough to secure a majority draw decision on the score cards and maintain some type of momentum going forward in his career.
The question now seems to be, why did Diaz miss weight by such a wide margin and why did he fail to come away with a victory in a fight that was supposed to be easily won by him? The obvious answer would be the sad reality that many champions seem to fall victim to when they first claim gold around their waist – the hunger diminishes. The drive and obsession which made them a world champion is satisfied and they no longer wish to put in the work that made them world champion to begin with. Now Joseph Diaz Jr. has already stated he has no excuses for his performance this weekend and simply blames it on his long layoff due to COVID protocols
Now there is no doubt when it comes to acknowledging that Diaz Jr. is a talented young fighter, and maybe he did just outgrow the 130 weight class sooner than he had intended. It will be interesting to see how Diaz Jr. and Golden Boy Promotions will move forward after this weekend, and if the stacked 135 pound weight class which includes stars such as Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez, and Gervonta Tank Davis will be in his future.
Featured Image Credit: East Side Boxing
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