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Vasquez vs. Diaz on 7/16 on Wilder-Arreola card

Chris Arreola Deontay Wilder Felix Diaz

By Patrick McHugh: Unbeaten welterweight contender Sammy Vasquez (21-0, 15 KOs) will get a chance to show what kind of boxing skills has going for him this month when he faces 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (17-1, 8 KOs) in the co-feature bout on the Deontay Wilder vs. Chris Arreola card on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox on July 16 at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.

Vasquez, #7 WBA, #8 WBC, #10 WBO, #11 IBF, will be taking a little bit of a step up in taking on the 32-year-old Diaz, who has only been beaten once in his career by former IBF light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson by a 12 round majority decision last October.

The 5’5” Diaz proved to be a real handful for the 5’9” Peterson, in particularly in the second half of the contest; Diaz’s pressure gave Peterson problems.

Diaz was originally training to fight Levan Ghvamichava on July 12. Diaz was then switched out to fight Vasquez after his originally scheduled opponent Luis Collazo as injured in training. Diaz could prove to be a more of an appealing option for Vasquez and for boxing fans than Collazo, as Diaz only has that one defeat on his record and it was a close one.
Vasquez is coming off a sixth round stoppage win over the always tough Aaron Martinez last January. Martinez suffered an arm injury that kept him from continuing after the sixth.

The fight was going badly for Martinez anywy, and it was better for him that it was stopped at the time because Vasquez looked to be too good for him. This is the same 34-year-old Martinez that beat former two division world champion Devon Alexander by a 10 round decision in his previous fight in October of 2015, and was arguably robbed in his fight against Robert Guerrero in June of last year. It was impressive that Vasquez was able to beat Martinez so easily.

Vasquez and Felix Diaz are both southpaws, so neither guy will have an advantage in this fight.

Vasquez had an extensive amateur background with over 200 fights. Vasquez failed to make the 2012 Olympic squad after losing to Errol Spence Jr. by a 24-19 score. It would be interesting to see how Vasquez would do against Spence at the pro level in a 12 round fight. It might be a problem for Vasquez because he’s not a big puncher like Spence.

“It’s unfortunate that Collazo got hurt, but Diaz is a very good fighter and I know he’s going to bring it,” Vasquez said via ESPN.com. “I’ve been sparring with nothing but lefties, and since both Diaz and Collazo are southpaws, it’s business as usual. Diaz is coming off a close majority decision loss (to former world titleholder Lamont Peterson), his first defeat, so I know he’s hungry to get back in that win column. This is a dangerous fight and I’m not taking it lightly. Like always, I’m willing and ready to fight anyone they put in front of me.”

Vasquez seems like a pretty decent fighter, but he’s going to need to step it up at some point otherwise he’ll waste his best years. He’s already gotten a late start as a pro due to his long amateur career. Vasquez needs to start fighting better opposition before he ages out, because he doesn’t have the kind of punching power that will make it easy for him to deal with the harder punchers in the division like Errol Spence, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Kell Brook or Shawn Porter. Vasquez, 5’10”, is too much of a finesse type of fighter, and there are too many of those guys. He doesn’t stand out enough for him to beat the better fighters in the division right now. Vasquez needs to try and develop his punching power for him to have a chance against the harder punchers at 147.


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