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Paul McCloskey vs Julio Diaz Set For May 5, Martin Lindsay Also on Belfast Bill

Paul McCloskey will face Julio Diaz on May 5 in Belfast. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Paul McCloskey will face Julio Diaz on May 5 in Belfast. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Paul McCloskey will look to continue pushing his way back into title contention on May 5 in Belfast, as the junior welterweight will face Mexican veteran Julio Diaz at King's Hall. Martin Lindsay will also be in the bill, televised by Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.

McCloskey (23-1, 12 KO) had a bit of a rough 2011, as the former European and British champion came up well short in his bid for a world title against Amir Khan, and followed that with an uneven performance but a win over Breidis Prescott in September.

McCloskey, 32, was clearly outclassed by Khan, though neither fighter could be accused of fighting well, and the Irishman's claim that Khan was tiring by the time of the sixth round decision stoppage due to cuts was a bit much to buy. But Diaz (38-7, 27 KO) is fighting heavy these days, and is well past his best.

Diaz, 32, has lost three of five and is 4-4 over his last eight fights, dating back to a 2007 beatdown at the hands of Juan Diaz on HBO. Since that fight, he's somewhat disappeared from the top class of the sport, whereas he did once hold the IBF lightweight title.

Losses to Rolando Reyes and Victor Cayo were followed with a pair of wins, one that seemingly ended the career of Herman Ngoudjo, and then last year's nasty TKO-3 failure against Kendall Holt on Friday Night Fights.

Diaz was recently scheduled to return to ESPN airwaves against Ruslan Provodnikov, but fell out of that one, and was replaced by David Torres.

A win won't truly say much about McCloskey's chances to get back to the biggest stages, but with the 140-pound division experiencing a bit of an exodus with Timothy Bradley headed out, Devon Alexander gone, and Amir Khan not long for the division, the doors could open for the Matchroom fighter.

Also featured on the card will be Martin Lindsay (17-1, 6 KO), looking to bounce back from his thrilling loss to John Simpson in December 2010. He said at the time that he was disappointed in his own performance, but that he would "be back." This is probably a greater break from the ring than he intended. Lindsay, 29, is a former British featherweight champion.

Lindsay has no opponent named as of this writing.

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