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Joseph Diaz, Jr. faces Jayson Velez on March 26th in Oakland

The fight will be Diaz's sixth in approximately twelve months.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

In something of a crossroads match, 2012 Olympian and top prospect Joseph Diaz, Jr. will face Puerto Rico's Jayson Velez on the undercard of Andre Ward's March 26th matchup with Sullivan Barrera.


Diaz (19-0, 11 KO) snapped a three-fight knockout drought this past December with a two-round stoppage of Hugo Partida, his fifth fight of 2015 and eleventh since 2013. The twenty-three-year-old, who reached the Round of 16 in London before losing to eventual bronze medalist Lázaro Álvarez, is taking a solid step up against the once-beaten Puerto Rican.

Despite acquitting himself well in a 2014 draw with Evgeny Gradovich, Velez (23-1-1, 16 KO) enters the fight with some question marks over his head thanks to a poor performance against Ronny Rios last November. He'll certainly need an excellent performance against Diaz to reassert himself as one of the division's best young fighters.

Looks like a good, competitive matchup between two skilled fighters on very different trajectories. Any early predictions?

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