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Joseph Diaz Jr calls for unification bout with Miguel Berchelt

He’s not likely to get it any time soon, but the challenge has been thrown out anyway.

BOXING: JAN 30 Miami Fight Night Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Joseph Diaz Jr, who won the IBF junior lightweight title on Jan. 30 with a decision victory over Tevin Farmer, is calling for a unification fight with WBC titleholder and division top dog Miguel Berchelt, who just fought a tune-up on Saturday in Mexico City, winning easily.

The 27-year-old Diaz (31-1, 15 KO) turned in a career-best performance to take the belt earlier this year, but he owes Farmer (30-5-1, 6 KO) a contractually-obligated rematch, too, which he doesn’t seem particularly interested in getting to quickly. Diaz has talked up a potential fight with Abner Mares on social media, he’s been linked to maybe instead fighting IBF mandatory Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov instead, and now this.

Truthfully, it’s hard to really blame Diaz. To him, a fight in LA with Mares would be a bigger fight than a rematch somewhere with Farmer, and he’s probably right about that, even if his idea of selling out Staples Center is first of all totally off the table right now, pandemic and all, and probably a bit too high a bar to set even if there were fans allowed at shows.

The Rakhimov fight — which Diaz did deny wanting to make a priority over Farmer — might just be a fight his team likes better. Farmer had a bad night in January — which is not to take anything away from Diaz, who was just better and seemed much more well-rounded — but he’s a crafty dude and can be a real pain.

And with Berchelt, I mean, yeah, who wouldn’t want to do a world title unification with the guy everyone says is the top fighter in the division? It’s obvious why Diaz would prefer that to any other possible fight.

But Berchelt (38-1, 34 KO) is on a collision course with former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez (27-0, 21 KO), a fight Top Rank have been working on making happen ever since Valdez moved up in weight last year. Valdez is currently slated to face Jayson Velez on July 21, with the hope being he’ll win that one, and he and Berchelt will meet later this year.

Still, I think it’s good to see Diaz putting the idea out there. If he and Berchelt still hold belts late this year or in early 2021, and are both in the division still, that’d be a great fight to put together, and Diaz saying he wants it is encouraging when it comes to his ambition, at least on paper, as everything is on paper until it actually happens.

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