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Predictions and preview: Zurdo vs Barrera, Diaz vs Fortuna

Golden Boy are back on DAZN Friday, and we’ve got picks for the top two fights on the show.

Sye Williams/Golden Boy

Joseph Diaz Jr vs Javier Fortuna

Scott Christ (41-12-2)

I like this one a lot. It’s well-matched, Diaz is showing a lot of fire and desire taking this in Ryan Garcia’s place, and he’s moving up in weight here. Fortuna isn’t some monster lightweight — he’s fairly small at the weight, actually, and like Diaz started at 126, stopped at 130, and came to 135. So physically I think it works, too.

I’m going with Fortuna to edge this one. I think it’s around a 50/50 fight, at least close to that, and I do think Diaz at his best is a very good fighter. Fortuna, like Diaz, can be a “streaky” fighter, a little inconsistent, but also very talented and at his best, a danger to just about anyone. I think Fortuna nicks this on the cards in a very competitive fight. If both of them show up in good form, it could be a fantastic fight to watch. Fortuna SD-12

Wil Esco (44-9-2)

Javier Fortuna is a good technical fighter but I haven’t exactly been in awe of his recent opposition, and frankly think he’s a little too long in the tooth to take a win over Diaz here. I think Diaz has learned from his loss to Gary Russell Jr and won’t find himself in a lull where he can just afford to mail in a good performance, taking his preparation very seriously. I do think this fight will turn out to be a much better action fight than Zurdo-Barrera, and I think Fortuna might even have some moments, but I think Diaz will utilize enough effective aggression to get the nod from judges in a majority of the rounds. I don’t think Diaz will get Fortuna out of there, so I’m just going to take Diaz to win the fight on the cards. Diaz UD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg (43-10-2)

The more I research this matchup, the more I like it. If both men come out sharp, there’s some serious entertainment potential here and a delightful contrast between Diaz’s fundamentally sound pressure and Fortuna’s full-bore swings. Barring a home run from the Dominican, though, I see Diaz ultimately getting the better of things. He’s got the stronger schedule, the tighter punches, the more reliable durability, and an overall edge in consistency despite his repeated mishaps on the scale.

Beating Tevin Farmer and drawing with Shavkat Rakhimov is more impressive than stopping the freefalling Jesus Cuellar and Antonio Lozada regardless of weight class.

There’s the issue of size, of course, but Fortuna was never big for lightweight. The more pressing concern is volume, as Diaz allowed Rakhimov to outwork him at times and make the fight closer than it had to be. Fortuna isn’t as crisp a combination puncher as Rakhimov, though, and figures to give Diaz a lot more opportunities to get in his own licks. While Fortuna’s superior power should keep it close, expect Diaz to do the better work inside for a 7-5 sort of decision. Diaz UD-12

And the staff winner is...

Demetrius Andrade v Luke Keeler Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Joseph Diaz Jr (2-1)!

How to Watch Zurdo vs Barrera

Date: Friday, July 9 | Start Time: 8:00 pm ET
Location: Banc of California Stadium - Los Angeles, CA
Streaming: DAZN
Online Coverage:

Zurdo Ramirez vs Sullivan Barrera

Scott Christ (41-12-2)

Not expecting great action here. Golden Boy clearly have designs on Zurdo Ramirez being a new top star for them, maybe even trying to replace Canelo Alvarez as their top star with Ryan Garcia looking more questionable for long-term stardom and the company just having nobody for Vergil Ortiz to fight other than getting him in with Bud Crawford, which Crawford doesn’t seem to want to do.

Zurdo ain’t Canelo in any conceivable way. Canelo was a bigger star as a teenager than Zurdo’s probably ever gonna be. But he’s a quality fighter at 168/175, and I think he’ll grind out a fairly dull decision over an aged, possibly really rusty Barrera. But there is a chance that Zurdo is rusty, too, and could get clipped. He won’t; he’s smart enough and plays it safe enough. Ramirez UD-12

Wil Esco (44-9-2)

In all fairness, I’m not a huge fan of either of these fighters. Zurdo Ramirez never really panned out to be what he was promoted as, and Barrera is a tough guy with some good wins but never really an elite talent despite some of those gritty performances. More than anything, though, I just happen to think Barrera is past it and this should be a fight where Ramirez should win on the cards in a fight that probably won’t be the most memorable when it’s all said and done. I’m not pegging Ramirez to put on a trending performance, but I do think he’ll do just enough to outscore Barrera and win a unanimous decision. Ramirez UD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg (43-10-2)

Sullivan Barrera circa, I don’t know, 2016-2017 could give Zurdo a proper tussle. Despite his slick combination work and overall offensive prowess, Ramirez isn’t nearly as effective off the back foot, and if there’s one thing we could trust the classic Barrera to do, it’s march forward and throw heat. I don’t have quite as much faith in the current 39-year-old iteration, especially not with two years of rust weighing him down and a sorely disappointing performance against Jesse Hart dangling over him.

I’ll be pulling for Barrera, as I love watching carefully constructed plans blow up in promoters’ faces, but we’re past the point where he could spoil the party. Ramirez out-slicks and out-lands Barrera in an increasingly clinch-heavy slog. Ramirez UD-12

And the staff winner is...

Gilberto Ramirez v Sullivan Barrera - Press Conference Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Zurdo Ramirez (3-0)!

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