The past few years have clearly illustrated that Felix Diaz has to fight twice as hard to get his due respect in the boxing world.
He's fully prepared to take that approach in securing a clash with Terence Crawford, though comforted to know that his target's own promoter has picked up the cause.
"I wanted to fight Terence Crawford last year; I still want the fight and now even his own promoter Bob Arum wants me to fight Terence Crawford," Diaz (19-1, 9KOs) told FightNights.com on Wednesday.
The 2008 Olympic Gold medalist and current rising contender referenced a recent conversation between Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum and ESPN.com senior writer Dan Rafael. The Hall of Fame promoter claimed in the interview that he wants "to do the fight with Felix Diaz. That's the best fight for us to make. Lou DiBella (Diaz's promoter) calls me every day about it. That's the fight I want to make."
It could very well be public posturing on the part of Arum, who's learned his way around boxing's minefields in his 51 years in the sport. His staff is dead set against the fight, a stance that was clear when Diaz - who is advised by Al Haymon and managed by Jose Nunez - was passed over for an available HBO date last December in favor of John Molina Jr., another Haymon client and perceived as the higher profile name and a more favorable style matchup.
Crawford - the reigning World (lineal) super lightweight champion and unified WBO/WBC titlist - was keen on obtaining all of the division's major belts. That dream has been placed on the back burner, as the two remaining beltholders - WBA beltholder Ricky Burns (whom Crawford decisioned in March '14 for his first title win) are already locked in for a springtime unification clash with recently crowned IBF titlist Julius Indogo.
A suggested date of May 20 is reportedly being held for Crawford, though on the condition it comes against an HBO-approved opponent. The two names that have been mentioned are Diaz and Antonio Orozco, an undefeated slugger from California whom is Crawford's mandatory.
Orozco had a chance to face Crawford last December, but declined the opportunity. Diaz - who scored a 10-round win over Sammy Vasquez in their Fox-televised welterweight clash last July - wanted the fight on the date, but wound up instead traveling to Dominican Republic for a stay-busy fight. He would love to return to the ring much sooner than May, but is willing to wait only if it means finally securing a major title fight.
"Felix scored the biggest win of his career last July, and we had to sit on that because of the games that were played with that December 10 date," manager Jose Nunez told FightNights.com. "HBO said they liked the fight and Crawford (is) always claiming he wants the best, but they went that route (instead facing Molina). So now, we got his promoter and HBO all saying this is the fight they want. So now it's up to Terence Crawford to tell his team to make it happen."
Diaz and his team insist that weight will not be an issue, despite his career-best win over Vasquez coming at welterweight.
"Fighting at 147 means I get to eat a little more during training camp," Diaz admits. "But I have no problem making 140 and besides, a showdown with Terence Crawford is the only meal I crave right now."