Months of baiting the unified Junior Welterweight champion Terence Crawford has served its purpose for Felix Diaz, both camps agreeing to a deal which will see them face off with one another on May 20th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
The paperwork is yet to be finalised but both Top Ranks Bob Arum and Lou Dibella have agreed to terms.
A list of potential opponents was drawn up for Crawford’s next challenge but 2008 gold medalist Felix Diaz was the one that peaked the interest most.
“Crawford said that he wanted to defend his titles against the best opponent we can get,” Arum said. “The problem with Diaz was the original asking price was higher than other candidates, appreciably higher. After negotiating, the ask was not appreciably higher and, therefore, we were resolved to make the match because he was the best guy available.
“I have matchmakers, Brad (Goodman) and Bruce (Trampler), who say Diaz is a very capable guy and he will give Crawford a good fight. His early fights were not that entertaining but more recently he’s shown himself to be an entertaining fighter.”
33-Year-Old Diaz (19-1, 9 KOs) has been campaigning at welterweight due to a difficulty in getting quality opposition, only sporting one loss on his record, one of contention against Lamont Peterson in 2015.
“I think it’s a terrific fight and it took me almost a year of working really hard to get him the opportunity,” DiBella said. “He wanted this fight but, honestly, I don’t love the business deal I was forced to make. But Top Rank controlled the A-side and he’s a guy perceived as a top pound-for-pound guy, so I’m a smart guy and had no illusions about my leverage or lack thereof.
“But I made a deal that gives my fighter the opportunity to prove how good he is and he believes he can win, and so do I. I also think Felix Diaz is the perfect opponent for Newark because there’s a strong Dominican community there and (Dominican-heavy) Washington Heights in New York is just over the river and short drive, so I think there will be a lot of Dominicans representing for Felix.”
“He has been salivating for this fight forever and I got him what he wanted, and that’s my job,” DiBella said. “This was not an easy one to make but generally if there’s a fight to be made Arum and I can make it, but I am not sitting around partying about the deal I had to make. But the kid got the fight and that’s the most important thing.”