Two young and talented Golden Boy Promotions‘ fighters–NABF Featherweight champion, Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (23-0, 13 KOs) and Manuel “Tino” Avila (22-0, 8 KOs)–are set to kick off the HBO Pay-Per-View portion of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight card this Saturday, May 6, from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
This highly-anticipated Cinco de Mayo weekend has a promising fight card showcasing many Mexican fighters with very competitive matchups on display.
To the die-hard boxing fans, JoJo vs. Tino perhaps may be one of the most thrilling in the line up as both of these Featherweights possess an exciting, high-output fight style.
Diaz Jr. represented the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which gained him a great deal of exposure for his transition into his professional career. Diaz has been regarded as a sure bet to one day adorn a world championship belt around his waist.
Jojo is no stranger to the big stages of boxing, as not only has he already competed in the Olympics, but he has gone on to showcase his talents on the HBO undercards of pound-for-pound superstars
Tino however, unlike Diaz, has not had the grandiose exposure to the biggest stages of boxing. Avila, like Diaz, has boxed since childhood, but his rise to this moment was one that happened more quietly. Avila signed with
Tino has primarily been featured on Spanish speaking networks such as HBO Latino and Estrella TV. Although he is highly talented, Tino remains the lesser known fighter of the two, as his opportunities have yet to afford him much national exposure.
“I always see a fight as a fight. I have fought at a casino, where the fight was not shown on TV or the undercard like Chad Dawson vs. Bernard Hopkins, the first one. No matter how big it is or how small it is, in the ring it is always the same,” said Avila in regards to performing at this large venue.
The lack of previous big exposure for Avila has also allowed him to see the grandness of this opportunity. The winner of this fight will go on to be the No. 1 contender to the WBC Featherweight title, which is currently held by Gary Russell Jr. (27-1, 16 KOs).
“I know all about JoJo’s undefeated record, but he has never faced anyone like me… and at the end of the night, my hand will be raised,” said Avila. “Jojo Diaz Jr., you better be ready for me on May 6!”
HBO’s Jim Lampley spoke of Diaz previously on air referring to him in a high regard as a “Minor League [Vasyl] Lomachenko” with “very good craft…. decent pop… and creative mind”.
However, it does not take a professional ring announcer, like Lampley, to see that Diaz is special.
The fight is sold out, and both Diaz Jr. and Avila are looking to capitalize on the chance to rise to title contender status. Both fighters are very similar in age, weight, reach and KO percentage. The only major difference being that Diaz fights from the southpaw position and Avila from the orthodox position.
Both fighters should look to establish a solid jab and use their speed to work their way in to their opponent’s body. Diaz should notably look to attack the body of Avila as he exposed himself to conditioning issues in previous bouts.
Avila however believes he has done enough to supersede these previous issues. “My team and I have been working extremely hard. I’ve got all the right people in my corner helping me get to the top. I’m sparring with some really good fighters. I’ve taken my conditioning to new levels. I’m amped up for this fight,” said Avila.
This fight will surely be both a test of will and skill as both men are hungry, talented, young fighters, who are looking to seize their chance at a title shot, but only one man can have their hand raised in victory.
Comment below and give us your thoughts. Who wins this fight?
Header photo by Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions