Joseph Diaz Jr. is thisclose to a title fight…
Contracts haven’t been signed yet but details are in the process of being finalized, sources said. The framework of the deal includes a rematch clause in the event Haney loses.
The fight is part of an intriguing three-week stretch for the lightweight division. Teofimo Lopez, who holds four lightweight titles, fights George Kambosos on November 27 on DAZN.
One week later, Eddie Hearn will promote another important lightweight fight with the Haney-Diaz clash. That same weekend, on December 5, Gervonta Davis fights Rolando Romero on Showtime PPV.
And then on December 11 on ESPN, Vasiliy Lomachenko meets Richard Commey.
The Haney-Diaz agreement caps months of back-and-forth insults traded between the boxers. When Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) agreed to fight Ryan Garcia on November 27, Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) accused Diaz of ducking a chance at him.
But that fight fell through when Garcia suffered a hand injury in training and underwent surgery on Monday. With Haney and Diaz both in need of an end-of-year fight, the matchup made too much sense for all parties.
Haney, ESPN’s No. 3 lightweight, is coming off the biggest win of his career, a May decision victory over former champion Jorge Linares. Diaz, too, is coming off a strong performance, a July points win over Javier Fortuna that earned him the No. 7 spot in ESPN’s lightweight rankings.
That was the Olympian’s first fight at 135 pounds. He defeated Tevin Farmer in 2020 to win a 130-pound title and in his other title bid, lost to Gary Russell Jr. at 126 pounds in 2018.
Haney, No. 3 on ESPN’s list of the top 25 boxers under 25, is one of the sport’s fastest-rising stars. The Las Vegas-based fighter boasts over 1 million followers on Instagram, and with his abundant charisma, surely has a chance to break through to the mainstream. What’s stopped him thus far is lack of opposition.
The 22-year-old Haney often calls himself the most-avoided fighter in the sport. That can no longer be said with a stern challenger in Diaz lined up for December.