Felix Diaz approved for Terence Crawford fight by HBO
By Eric Baldwin: #13 WBO fringe welterweight contender Felix Diaz (18-1, 8 KOs) has been approved by HBO as an opponent for WBC/WBC 140lb champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (29-0, 20 KOs) to fight on their network for his next fight on December 10 in Omaha, Nebraska. Crawford was able to take the December 10 date on HBO after IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin pulled off the date due to him being unable to negotiate a fight against Daniel Jacobs in time to fight in that month.
Promoter Lou Dibella is interested in making the fight between Diaz and the Top Rank promoted 29-year-old Crawford if there’s interest from them. Besides Diaz, Top Rank is reportedly interested in possibly matching Crawford against unbeaten #1 WBC Antonio Orozco (25-0, 16 KOs) or IBF World light welterweight champion Eduard Troyanovsky (25-0, 22 KOs). Both fighters are flawed, and very beatable despite their unbeaten records.
It’s likely that Top Rank will try and make a fight against the 36-year-old Troyanovsky first, because he’s holding a title that Crawford could add to his collection of belts at 140. Troyanovsky is also unbeaten. He’s never fought anyone of note other than former IBF 140lb champion Cesar Rene Cuenca (48-2, 2 KOs), who he beat twice. Those wins didn’t say much about Troyanovsky, because Cuenca’s record was padded from top to bottom with weak opposition.
“I spoke to Pete r[Nelson] and HBO has approved the fight. It’s a great fight for the fans and we’d love to make it,” DiBella said to ESPN.com. “If Top Rank wants to the make the fight and Terence wants the challenge I am a phone call away.”
Nelson is the HBO Sports executive vice president. If he’s interested in green lighting the Crawford vs. Diaz fight on HBO, then that potentially makes Top Rank’s job easier. However, they likely are looking for someone unbeaten like Orozco or Troyanosky. Diaz’s southpaw stance would make him a tough opponent for Crawford despite his ability to switch back and forth to southpaw in his fights. It’s a different story having to fight a guy that is a southpaw rather than a righty. Crawford likes to try and confuse his opponents by switching to southpaw in his fights. That might not work to his favor if he switches to southpaw against Diaz.
Diaz, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist from the Dominican Republic, was recently beaten by Lamont Peterson by a 12 round decision last year. The 5’5” southpaw Diaz didn’t have the height or reach to get the win over Peterson. It’s unknown why Peterson isn’t in the mix for Crawford’s next fight rather than Diaz. That would probably the better fight.
Crawford picked up the WBC 140lb title last July in beating Viktor Postol by a 12 round unanimous decision. The fight was shown on HBO pay-per-view rather than on regular HBO due to the network not having any free dates for the fight. Crawford would have been done for the year in 2016 after the Postol fight if not for Golovkin pulling off the December 10 date. It’s unclear what Top Rank will be doing in the future if HBO continues to have limited dates for the top fighters to fight. Does Top Rank stick Crawford on pay-per-view each time to get him dates or does he stick with the limited number of dates that HBO has for him. It’s the bind. If Crawford is going to be fighting on pay-per-view, then it could limit his ability to pick up boxing fans, because many casual fans still have never seen Crawford and they don’t know who he is. It’s important that Top Rank get Crawford fights on regular HBO so that he can be seen more.