This Saturday night another challenger has been called upon, some things remain the same while other things appear to be different. The same pattern exists, call out the champ out on social media until you land the lottery fight. Finding a venue that may be more impressive than the fight itself in Madison Square Garden was essential.
Felix Diaz 19-1 (9) is a more than worthy challenger and on paper presents plenty of impressive attributes including being a former Olympic Gold medalist. In addition, Diaz is realistically undefeated as a pro as most ringside felt he deserved the nod over former 2 x champ, Lamont Peterson a few years back. What is different is that some boxing experts do believe that Diaz could put a dent in the hype or momentum of building a bigger fight with the likes of Pacquiao.
Some of Top Rank’s matchmakers were against the matchup based on Diaz counter punching style, the fact that he like Crawford switches to southpaw, and frankly is just tough to look good against. So, what makes this Saturday night’s live WBO/WBC Super-Lightweight world title different televised by HBO 10:15 ET, is that there is a lot on the line, especially for Top Rank and HBO. They call it the hurt business but a more fitting name is Risky Business.
Can Diaz change or alter the Pacquiao script? Will Bud just like the start of his career against Prescott prove to the matchmakers that you simply don’t have to play safe with him?
I sat down with both trainer/co-manager Brian “BoMac” McIntyre and the champ himself, Terence “Bud” Crawford 30-0 (21)
BG: Hello fellas, here we go again, another top guy, that want to take what you have. I won’t start with the traditional question of how did camp go. Everyone knows you train hard every camp. What I want to know is…. How and why was this cam p different?
TC: Well, because camp must be different. We are facing a new challenge, a different style than Molina and so on. I will say this; camp was extremely hard but more enjoyable this go around. Bo and the team had me once a week working with scientists at the Airforce clinic, it was cool. It was like playing a video game but of yourself. They measure everything, eye-hand coordination, body fat, reaction data and so on. Plus, all the upcoming guys participated like Kevin Ventura and Abel Soriano as well.
BG: I’m guessing another surprise was the most likely nominated for an award, the extremely popular “Camp Life” documentary. This idea has been in the making for a long time and has finally hit full course. Do you believe that the documentary will finally show a glimpse into the life of a fighter but better yet how hard you work to maintain at this level?
TC: Yes of course, I have a ton of responsibility with the kids, family, city, charities, helping groom the younger fighters plus improving my craft. The best part of about it is, this is normal, the people you see in the videos, they are my people, they are family. This is what we do all year long. I’m blessed. I think it’s important for fans to understand how and why we do this.
BoMac: Another thing that made “Camp Life” so successful was having the Top Ranks folks like Crystina Poncher and our partners from Omaha, Make Believe Studios, produce it. Basically, it put as at ease because we are comfortable with them guys.
BG: I have watched both episodes and get goose bumps every time. Well, let’s move on and cover what most want to know. I know you are tired of hearing the Spence and Pacquaio talks. Knowing you all too well, you are concerned only about the task at hand. So, let’s talk about that task. What impresses you the most about your opponent Felix Diaz?
TC: Well, as I’ve said all week, he’s an Olympic gold medalist, he has some good wins under his belt, an aggressive style but one thing that I respect is the guys he calls out are top names. He wants to test his skills against mine and so I respect that…that’s what it’s all about.
BoMac: I’ve been very impressed with his demeanor all week. Usually, we can see something in their eyes, or they are scared about the size of the promotion, or worried about making weight etc. This cat is different, he’s very confident. We have a tough fight on our hands.
BG: So, we all agree that he’s tough, pretty much hasn’t tasted defeat as a pro, and rarely lost as an amateur, not to mention captured gold in the Olympics. So, how do you go about victory?
BoMac: I will take this one. Bud has done all we asked for, he got his ass in tremendous shape, he’s well prepared for anybody that steps in the ring. We have not 1 but 3 coaches in Esau Dieguez, Red Spikes and myself. We work as a team, we feed off each other. There’s little that goes unnoticed. We put together several game plans, not to mention Terence’s ring IQ is one of his best attributes, if something isn’t working he makes the adjustment right then and there. That’s what the greats do and that’s what will be the difference.
BG: But, how can you convince a guy that he’s going to lose when he has little to nothing in regards to experiencing defeat?
TC: I need to be me, see what he wants to do in there, see what he does best and take it away from him.
BoMac: Listen, it isn’t going to be easy but slowly we need to break him down. Remove what usually works for him, take away his weapons, make him empty handed. Once he starts feeling like nothing he tries will work on Terence, that’s when we step on the gas. We need to make him unfamiliar to his environment.
BG: A couple more questions and we will let you guys get back to work. We know that MSG is historic, do you feel extra pressure trying to put on a historic fight?
TC: Not at all, once the bell rings, none of that matters, it’s just me and Diaz. The guy is trying to take my head off and my job is stop that from happening. The fighting is the fun part and the fact that it’s at MSG is surreal but my focus is and always will be winning. Whatever and however.
BG: Final question. He called you out on social media and his promoter most likely got under your skin in hopes of landing the fight as well. DiBella stated things like he fights smaller fighters, well matched, protected and his opponents are always one dimensional.
What are your thoughts on those types of criticism and why do you believe fighters think they can beat you?
TC: Fighters all believe they can win or at least they should. The criticism is always there, from the fighters, other promoters, media, and the fans. It’s part of the business, boxing has always been about who can beat who or he’s ducking him etc. I grew up hearing and watching that stuff, so why would I think it would be any different for me?
BG: Diaz has stated on numerous times that you have plenty of flaws for being so highly regarded. What do you believe he thinks they are?
TC: I don’t know and don’t care. People since the amateur days have always said that too. I guess they watch film or whatever.
BG: I always interview your opponents after the bout, one to show respect for Omaha and Nebraska boxing. But, the other is to engage directly after the fight, an up close and person honest opinion as to how good they believe you are or can become. In your opinion, what do you believe Diaz will say after this fight?
TC: It looks easy but once you get in the ring with him, it’s way different!!!!