Joseph Diaz and Ryan Garcia agree in principle to November 27 battle
While there has yet to be an official announcement, lightweight boxers Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KO’s) and Ryan “King Ry” Garcia (21-0, 18 KO’s) have agreed on all terms to a November 27 showdown. The two have been going back and forth about a potential bout since Diaz defeated Javier Fortuna back on July 9. Truthfully speaking, this is certainly not a bad fight. The dust up will only stand as Jo Jo’s second outing in the division that he is still acclimating to, while Garcia has been idle over the last nine months.
Sure, this should make for an entertaining scrap, but it is just as much a head-scratcher nonetheless. That is because both men had the chance to face WBC world lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (26-0, 15 KO’s). In fact, Diaz is currently Haney’s mandatory challenger. Before him, Garcia was in the mandatory position for the Dream’s strap. Going a step further, this is actually the second bout that Garcia will stage to put him in a position to face Haney. Why neither man wants to fight for a title instead of taking a lesser assignment is anyone’s guess.
To make their avoidance of the champion even more glaring, Haney is shooting for a December return to the ring but has yet to establish an opponent. Both Garcia and Diaz could have, and probably still could, easily gobble up that date and title shot for themselves. Yet there is no more need pining for the missed title shot opportunity at the present time. Jo Jo and King Ry are on a collision course with one another.
RIGHT FRAME OF MIND?
Garcia will enter the fight coming off his career-best win over UK pugilist Luke Campbell. The Golden-Boy-promoted bruiser had to weather a second round knockdown himself before going on to stop Campbell in the seventh. Since that vindicating win, Garcia has had to endure even more out of the ring turbulence. King Ry was adamant that he would secure bouts with Gervonta Davis and Manny Pacquiao, but failed in both regards. Then, Ryan Garcia would abruptly bow out of a duel with Javier Fortuna citing mental anguish as his rationale.
Like any popular fighter, Garcia has maintained a staunch following during this hectic portion of his career. At the same time though, many throughout the industry are looking at King Ry with hard screw-faces complete with tight twisted lips and a very hard side-eye. That is why not only a win, but a win in style is almost imperative here. Boxing is very much a “what have you done for me lately” sport and after all these months of missed opportunities and tough talk, Garcia has to produce. This is even more so considering Jo Jo will still be viewed as the smaller man who is new to the division.
Joseph Diaz should be confident coming into the fight having already tested his might against Javier Fortuna, who is well established in the lightweight division. Knowing that he could hold his own with the crafty veteran should add to his poise when in with Garcia. Yet only time will tell how the former IBF super featherweight champion will perform when sealed in the ring with King Ry.
By: Bakari Simpson