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Emanuel Navarrete vs. Christopher Diaz – preview for Saturday

Emanuel Navarrete

By Chris Williams: Emanuel Navarrete will be defending his WBO featherweight title this Saturday, April 24 in a stay busy fight against the struggling #6 Christopher Diaz on ESPN at the Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Florida. The action starts at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. ET.

The 26-year-old ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete will be making his first defense of his World Boxing Organization 126-lb strap that he captured on October 9th last year in defeating Ruben Villa by a close 12 round unanimous decision.

Boxing fans were hoping that Top Rank would set up a rematch between Navarrete and Villa, as they disagreed with the results of the first fight last year.

The fans felt that Villa had out-boxed Navarrete and should have been given the nod by the judges Boxing News 24 had Villa edging the fight by a couple of rounds.

The judges scored the Navarrete vs. Villa fight as follows:

  • 114-112
  • 114-112
  • 115-111

Given the controversial nature of the results, Top Rank should have done the right thing by setting up a rematch between Villa and Navarrete.

Emanuel Navarrete

It’s understandable why they chose not to do that, as they’ve invested money in Navarrete, and it would not be good for them if he were to lose to Villa. If Navarrete were to be given a second controversial decision, the fans would see him as a hype job.

Navarrete was clearly a better fighter at super bantamweight than he is at featherweight, as his power isn’t good at 126.

It would be interesting to know what Navarrete (32-1, 27 KOs) feels about this match-up because he has nothing to gain from fighting Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs), who comes into the fight with a 3-2 record in his last five fights.

That’s not exactly the kind of record that you’re looking for from a contender, but that’s what we’re getting.

This fight would have made a lot more sense if it had taken place three years ago before Diaz started losing, but now it’s a bit late.

Diaz, 26, has beaten in two out of his last five fights in one-sided decision defeats against Shakur Stevenson and Masayuki Ito.

Now the only question is why isn’t Top Rank matching Navarrete against the guys that beat Diaz rather than having him fight a guy that is struggling with his career.

It would make a heck of a lot more sense for Navarrete to fight Ito or Stevenson than it would for him to be taking on the guy that both beat by a pair of lopsided 12 round decisions.

“The sensational Emanuel Navarrete wanted a formidable opponent for his first featherweight title defense, and Christopher Diaz fits the bill,” said Top Rank boss Bob Arum.

A better choice for Navarrete would have for Top Rank to put him back in with Villa or one of these fighters:

  • Shakur Stevenson
  • Kid Galahad
  • Rey Vargas
  • Mauricio Lara

“I am a fighter who likes to face the best, and my challenge now is to beat the tough ‘Pitufo’ Diaz,” Navarrete said

Emanuel Navarrete

Edgar Berlanga vs. Demond Nicholson

In a far more interesting fight on Saturday’s card, unbeaten super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs) will be looking to keep his perfect first-round knockout streak alive with an eight-round fight against Demond Nicholson (23-3-1, 20 KOs).

This fight is fun just due to the suspense of whether the 23-year-old Berlanga can keep his first-round knockout streak going.

It’s not that the 28-year-old Nicholson has a chance of beating Berlanga because he clearly has been selected carefully by the Top Rank match-makers to ensure that he has little chance of winning.

This is more about whether Berlanga will be able to keep his streak going for blasting out the sublevel opposition that he’s been routinely fed with by his promoters.

Where to watch Navarrete vs. Diaz

Boxing fans can watch the Emanuel Navarrete vs. Christopher Diaz fight on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN +.

When does Navarrete vs. Diaz start: The card begins at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.




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