Gary Russell Jr. vs. Joseph Diaz Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 5/19/18
Diaz vs. Russell
Boxing: Saturday May 19, 2018 (MGM National Harbor)
The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Gary Russell Jr. and Joseph Diaz fight Saturday at the MGM National Harbor for the World Boxing Council World Featherweight Title.
Gary Russell Jr. enters this fight with a 28-1 record that includes 17 knockouts. Russell has won 11 of his last 12 fights and is coming off a May win over Oscar Escandon. Russell has been on a roll since his controversial loss to Vasyl Lomachenko, and he will be defending his belt for the third straight fight. Russell is soon to be a 30-year-old who stands at 5’4”, has a 64 inch reach and a southpaw stance. Russell is more known for being an elite athlete with quick hands, who puts his punches together well and can show flashes of being one of the top boxers in the sport. Russell has possibly the quickest hands in the sport and a nasty right hook that must be accounted for at all times. The problem many have with Russell is that he rarely fights, as this will be just his third bout since 2016. While the talent is there, it’s hard to put Russell is the best pound for pound conversations when he’s not nearly has active as the other top names in the sport. This will be Russell’s second career fight in Maryland.
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Joseph Diaz enters this fight with a 26-0 record that includes 14 knockouts. This will be Diaz’s fourth fight since 2017, and he’s coming off a February win over Victor Terrazas. Diaz will fight for the second time this year and has a chance to put himself on the map with easily the biggest fight of his career. Diaz is a 25-year-old southpaw who stands at 5’6” and has a 64 inch reach. Diaz is a fundamentally sound boxer who is polished defensively, doesn’t take many chances on offense and does a good job of getting in and out with his attack. Diaz throws crisp, accurate punches and quickly gets out, often not putting himself in danger at all. Diaz isn’t flashy, doesn’t have true knockout power at this stage of his career, but he’s solid and that’s always going to give you a chance when you step in the ring. Still, you’d like to see Diaz be a little more aggressive and end fights when he has the chance as he works his way up the rankings. This will be Diaz’s first career fight in Maryland.
This is a solid fight for a Saturday night, as we see Russell take his once a year fight, and Diaz gets the big stage and a chance to prove himself. Diaz is a name to keep an eye on moving forward, as he’s a good boxer who was trained well and knows how to win rounds with great defense and sharp offense. Diaz doesn’t force the issue or get out of character, which is good for a young boxer. The problem is Diaz hasn’t faced anyone as talented as Russell, and there’s a considerable gap in hand speed and punching power. Diaz won’t be able to set back and play the patience card against Russell. He has to mix it up and be more aggressive offensively, and so far we haven’t seen that from him. Diaz also has fought just one 12-round fight in his career, which doesn’t help his case either.
Great experience for Diaz, but Russell should win this fight.