Devin Haney is set to defend his WBC lightweight title against Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr in a Saturday night DAZN main event, another big fight that will help set the stage for 2022 and beyond in the lightweight division.
We’ve already seen a shocker with George Kambosos Jr upsetting Teofimo Lopez last weekend, and we’ve also got Gervonta Davis taking on Isaac Cruz on Sunday, plus Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey coming on Dec. 11.
Will Haney stake his claim and stay undefeated, or is Diaz ripe to throw another curveball into the top end of the 135 lb division?
Haney vs Diaz predictions
Scott Christ (59-20)
I think Devin Haney is a very talented fighter, a really skilled boxer who is going to have a long, successful career. I do not think he is untouchable, and I think Jorge Linares showed us that. Haney is still just 23 years old, we’re talking about a very young guy still, and Diaz should be tough for him even considering JoJo is giving up some height and reach, and considering Haney uses his jab well.
I just think a guy like Diaz might have the determination to eat the jabs and keep bulling his way to the inside. JoJo’s not a huge puncher, but he keeps opponents respectful of his pop, too, and as he’s said, he’s not some unskilled guy, he’s not totally lacking in technical ability himself. If he stays determined to the pressure, I think he can get through against Haney and nick enough rounds to win a debated — but not ridiculous — decision, and I think right now, the tone of the sport is one where we just don’t always know what we think we know about fights that are supposed to be easy to pick. Haney’s not Teofimo Lopez — not as emotional, not as reckless, but he’s also not that sort of puncher and hasn’t been really, truly put to the test just yet. I’m going with the upset. Diaz MD-12
Wil Esco (63-16)
It’s funny because out of all the staff picks we’ve ever done, there’s still only one in particular that I most want back and that was my Tevin Farmer-Joseph Diaz Jr pick. I was fully committed to picking Diaz to take out the then-reigning champion right up until I had to hit the send button, and then talked myself out of it by going with Farmer against my better judgement. Then when the fight played out much as I had originally expected, I couldn’t help but regret second-guessing my natural inclination. I really think Diaz is a good fighter who’s largely been overlooked ever since losing to Gary Russell Jr, but he’s shown that he’s really learned from that loss and has looked much better since.
Here, though, he’ll be facing a fight in Devin Haney who is considered to be a supreme talent at such a young age. Haney’s fights aren’t the most exciting in my opinion, but I won’t deny that he’s effective in what he does. Reading the tea leaves, I’m sort of expecting Haney to allow Diaz to come forward so he can try to pick him off at range but I do think Diaz will give Haney a much tougher fight than he’s previously experienced. The biggest problem for Diaz here is that he cuts very often and in a fight that I think is likely to go to the scorecards, I can’t help but think that’s going to play a role in how the judges render their verdict. Haney MD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg (64-15)
“Email Champion” though he may be, Devin Haney really is something special. His footwork, head movement, and timing are incredibly developed for such a young fighter, and he’s got blistering speed even amongst his gifted peers. He certainly looks like too much for Diaz, who’ll have all sorts of trouble getting through a seven-inch reach disparity to get his quality pressure going.
If Diaz had the size and power to put dents in Haney during his brief windows of opportunity, he’d have a real shot at wearing “The Dream” down and taking over down the stretch. Without them, he ain’t landing game-changing shots when there’s half a foot and a missile of a jab between him and the target. Haney pieces him up at range for a dominant decision. Haney UD-12