A lightweight double-header will be part of HBO's busy September, as a couple of major fights are in the cards for the 13th of that month, the week before the tentatively scheduled Mayweather-de la Hoya rematch, and two weeks before Kelly Pavlik's tentative middleweight title defense against Marco Antonio Rubio.
The main event will pit Golden Boy fighters Joel Casamayor (36-3-1, 21 KO) and Juan Diaz (33-1, 17 KO) for Casamayor's lightweight crown. As a set-up for the title fight, Michael Katsidis (23-1, 20 KO) will bring his bruising style to the ring, hopefully, against a comebacking Jesus Chavez (43-4, 29 KO).
Both fights are intriguing on paper. We've now seen what troubles Juan Diaz, as his 33-fight unbeaten streak ended cruelly at the veteran fists of Nate Campbell, a past Casamayor victim. Head games, pressure, power shots, an ability to keep pace, and cuts that are improperly worked in the corner made Diaz look like a chump in the second half of that fight, where Campbell ran away with it.
Casamayor is a king of head games, has deceptive power, and presents an even stiffer challenge, potentially, if he fights angry and uses his upper body movement and footwork to frustrate Diaz. Of course, there's also the chance that the God awful version of Joel shows up (I wouldn't expect it from here on out, but it's possible), and Diaz wails on him with volume punching.
Casamayor is tremendously talented when he's on his game, but always vulnerable. Diaz is very vulnerable and doesn't have the power that kept Michael Katsidis alive in his thrilling loss to Casamayor.
As for Katsidis-Chavez, that's a good one, too. Chavez's knee is still balky, and he wears the brace for mental comfort. And this has to be said, too: he hasn't been the same since the tragic Leavander Johnson incident in 2005. He's fought just twice since then, losing on injury TKO to Julio Diaz, and returning recently to defeat Daniel Jimenez via 10-round decision.
He's also 35 years old and definitely past his peak. Does he still have the power to ward off Katsidis' rushing attacks? Does he still have the mental capacity to really go after Katsidis? And is his knee going to be good enough?
All questions I'd love to see answered. I'd watch Katsidis fight just about anyone, and I've always rooted for Chavez.
All in all, this is probably the best HBO card in September. Some might not like Diaz getting a title shot right off of a loss, but money talks, and there are certainly worse fights that could be made. Casamayor-Campbell appears highly unlikely any time soon, and Nate is busy, anyway, trying to goad Amir Khan into a fight, which would be a terrible idea for Khan at this stage of his career.