Danny Flexen on how Julio Diaz can hold Keith Thurman this weekend
Boxing News Magazine’s Danny Flexen is back to give us his analysis and tips on this weekend’s bout between Keith Thurman and Julio Diaz.
Finding realistic value in a two-horse race – which boxing betting usually entails, tournament-style fighting a notable exception – is rarely easy, but it can be identified if you care to delve a little deeper.
This weekend, for example, rising welterweight talent Keith Thurman, a talented and hard-hitting 25-year-old from Clearwater, Florida, starts as justifiable favourite against Mexican veteran Julio Diaz, almost nine years his senior. The bare facts do not make pleasant reading for the California-based Diaz. Thurman is 22-0 with 20 KOs, the WBA Interim champion and the naturally bigger man. Diaz, 40-9-1 (29), has not scored a victory in his last three bouts. All of this suggests both the unattractive 1/20 on a Thurman triumph and 2-9 on that victory occurring inside the scheduled 12-round distance are sensible bets.
However, Thurman has beaten a raft of former champions and fringe contenders. He is gifted, certainly, but has never entered a pro fight he was not expected to win. Conversely, Diaz has been matched though, often at short notice and with his recent form statistically poor, actually gives cause for optimism.
In December 2012 he looked unlucky to only draw with the strong and powerful Shawn Porter, now the IBF welterweight king who recently battered Paulie Malignaggi. His next fight saw Diaz drop the favoured Amir Khan in April last year en route to a tight points defeat. Then, last time out in September, Diaz went back in with an improved Porter who won fairly this time, but Diaz once again lasted the distance. These were two 10-rounders sandwiching the 12-rounder against Khan and neither the Bolton man nor Porter could put Diaz away.
A points win for Diaz is 14/1 and could represent an alluring outside punt, but I’d recommend less of a gamble on the 3/1 shot that is Thurman winning by decision. Diaz has not been stopped in almost three years so there is foundation to these claims.