Keith Thurman vs. Julio Diaz & Lucas Matthysse vs. John Molina this Saturday night on Showtime
By Allan Fox: This Saturday night WBA interim welterweight champion Keith Thurman (22-0, 20 KO’s) will be testing his skills against former IBF lightweight champion Julio Diaz (40-9-1, 29 KO’s) on Showtime at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Besides the Thurman-Diaz fight, light welterweight contender Lucas Matthysse (34-3, 32 KO’s) will be facing lightweight John Molina (27-3, 22 KO’s) in a 12 round bout for the vacant WBC Continental Americas light welterweight title.
Wrapping up the televised portion of the card will be a fight between WBA lightweight champion Omar Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KO’s) and #15 WBC fringe contender Jerry Belmontes (19-3, 5 KO’s).
The fights aren’t that great, but it’s going to be interesting to see Thurman, Matthysse and Figueroa in action on the same card. Thurman is facing a decent quality fighter in 34-year-old Diaz, who is becoming something of a trial horse for the top welterweights to sharpen their claws on him. Amir Khan arguably failed in his fight against Diaz last year in winning a disputed 12 round decision in London, but Shawn Porter was able to beat him by a 10 round decision last September in their second fight. Previously, Diaz fought Porter to a 10 round draw in December of 2012 in a competitive fight.
Thurman, 25, has been fighting well lately and knocked out 10 out of his last 11 opponents. He stopped Jesus Soto Karass in the 9th round last December in the toughest fight of his career. Karass staggered Thurman early in the fight, but once Thurman made some adjustments, he was able to stay out of the way of Karass’ heavy shots and dominate the action.
Thurman is waiting for his chance to get a title shot against the WBA champion. The title is currently held by Marcos Maidana, but after May 3rd, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will likely own it. Thurman’s chances of getting a fight with Mayweather aren’t too good fight now. He’ll have to look sensational in beating Diaz on Saturday to have any chance of getting a chance against Floyd, and it’s hard to look good against Diaz because he still has a lot left in the tank.
Matthysse lost his last fight to WBA/WBC light welterweight champion Danny Garcia last September. Matthysse suffered a swollen eye in the fight, and once that happened, he struggled. Garcia used a lot of movement and clinching to keep Matthysse from getting his shots off, and he couldn’t make the adjustments needed to pull out the victory.
It’s interesting that Golden Boy Promotions picked out a lightweight for Matthysse to fight in John Molina rather than a light welterweight, but it looks like Molina was the only guy available that casual boxing fans were familiar with. So he got the fight instead of someone in Matthysse’ own weight class. Matthysse cannot afford to lose this fight if he wants to remain relevant in the 140lb division. He’s thinking about moving up to welterweight, but he’s going to need a lot of work before he can make a leap to that level.
Figueroa, 24, has what looks to be a safe fight for him against Belmontes. Figueroa needs an easier fight after fighting a 12 round war against Nihito Arakawa last July. That was a fight in which Figueroa took a lot of punishment, and he’s lucky that Arakawa didn’t have much power because he would likely lost the fight if Arakawa could punch.