Well, if there was a time to sign a fight between Strikeforce MMA star Nick Diaz and badly faded boxing pro Jeff Lacy, this was it, with so many eyes on the boxing world. Lacy has signed to fight Diaz this fall -- but keep in mind that Diaz has not officially signed anything yet.
Diaz has recently been mentioned frequently as a future opponent for UFC star Georges St-Pierre, but UFC boss Dana White has conceded that Diaz is, in fact, allowed to box with his current contract. UFC recently bought out the Strikeforce promotion.
Longtime boxing promoter Don Chargin said, "This is a very dangerous fight for both men. Not only is this fight dangerous but stylistically it is very intriguing. I expected more resistance from fight fans and media in regards to this match-up but its amazing as to the hundreds of calls and e-mails I've received from fans on both sides wanting to see this match-up take place. I've received more than a few inquiries from some other very high-profile boxers that want to step up and fight Nick. It's been a real whirlwind."
I'm sure there are a lot of boxers (I doubt how "high-profile" we're talking here since we're living in a press release world where the shot Lacy is "high-profile") who would love to fight Nick Diaz. There's probably a little money in it due to the intrigue, and Diaz is not a professional boxer. What boxer wouldn't want to take advantage of that?
Chargin also offers this: "I've been around boxing for quite some time and I've seen a lot of great, tough fighters in my six decades within the sport. I believe that if Nick had been one of those kids who had picked up boxing from a youth, he'd undoubtedly be a world-champion today. Sometime within the next 2 weeks I'll be personally making the trek to Cesar Gracie's gym to set up a private, closed door sparring session between Nick and a few nameless top-level contenders I have in mind."
That could, again, mean anything. A lot of "top-level contenders" are ranked highly by "sanctioning" bodies, and that's even giving the benefit of the doubt that there's that much legitimacy to this statement.
The press release's top gem, though, is undoubtedly one of the questions: "Can Nick Diaz's granite chin withstand the devastating punching power of arguably the hardest punching 168-pound fighter on the planet?"
Jeff Lacy lost his last fight in December, badly, to Dhafir Smith. Dhafir Smith's record is 24-20-7 (4 KO), and he lost his next fight by near-shutout scores to Jesus Gonzalez in Phoenix.
Jeff Lacy is 33 years old and hasn't clearly won a fight since 2005. Since then he's been destroyed by Joe Calzaghe, dominated by a fading Jermain Taylor and a shot Roy Jones Jr., and has gotten past the likes of Peter Manfredo Jr., Vitali Tsypko, Otis Griffin and Epifanio Mendoza by the skin of his teeth. Those are third-rate contenders, and all of them had a solid argument for having deserved the duke over Lacy. He has not looked good in almost six years. Injuries have robbed him of his punching power and athleticism.
If you want to buy into this and believe that Jeff Lacy is still a serious contender, that's nice. I'm glad that you enjoyed using him on video games or whatever. But facts are facts, and to ignore what has been staring people in the face for half a decade-plus is foolish.
I'm not saying there's no reason to be interested in this. Considering that Nick Diaz is a novice boxer at best, this is a perfectly fair matchup for him to delve into professional boxing, if it does indeed actually happen. And I realize that fans of both or either sports are going to inevitably, in some circles, treat this like it truly matters. But this is Nick Diaz trying boxing against a guy whose name value is basically zero at this point, and whose skills in the ring are just plain gone. Nothing more, nothing less.
But Diaz isn't even Dhafir Smith in terms of professional boxing credentials. So that's the intrigue, if you want to call it that. Basically, the real question is this: Can Nick Diaz really box at all, or is just a "good boxer" for being an MMA fighter? In that regard, this makes sense. If Diaz, who turns 28 in August, can't beat Jeff Lacy, he should probably stick to the job we already know he's good at and will pay him well.
And it's not that you should expect anything different, but as much as possible, I'd like to curb the false advertisement that will surely accompany this fight. It is what it is, and I think it has some value being what it is. But this is not two superstars from different sports colliding. This is a good MMA fighter in his prime taking on a long-ruined boxer whose bubble was burst before he could even take advantage of his hype, and that came years ago.