Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz Jr. (32-2-1, 15 KOs) fought his heart out on Saturday night but was soundly beaten by WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Jojo fought as well as he could, but he lacked the pop in his punches and the stamina to fight as hard as he needed to be to unseat Haney.
It’s obviously a big disappointment for Diaz because he was hoping to beat Haney and use his WBC title to get a fight with undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr in Australia.
Jojo put in a great effort, but he couldn’t put his punches together in the way that he needed to for him to win.
Devin surprised by Diaz’s discipline
“I knew Jojo Diaz was a tough competitor, he gave me a good fight, but it’s on to the next,” said Haney to Fighthype after his win over Diaz. “He actually surprised me how disciplined he was.
“He didn’t come in reckless like I thought he was, but he was smart,” said Haney. “I thought I caught him with some good shots earlier and it tamed him a little bit so he didn’t want to just jump in.
“I had to slow my punches down a little bit because I was a little anxious when he first came out. I thought he was going to come at me, but he was more strategic with his aggression.
Haney says Jojo may be tougher than Kambosos
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Haney when told that Diaz may be a tough fight for him than George Kambosos. “Styles make fights, but I’ve got to go in there with Kambosos than I can tell you more about that. We got to see.
“I think it is possible that Jojo Diaz is a tougher competitor and has more experience. Like I said, he didn’t come in there and jump wild. He was smart with his pressure and he brought the best out of me.
“I actually hurt him, I don’t remember what round, but I hurt him a few times,” said Haney of Jojo. “He stood up pretty well, and even after the fight, he told me I had good pop.
Haney denies being hurt by Jojo Diaz
“No, he never hurt me, not one time, not even in the 12th. I actually got hit by a good shot in the 12th, but I actually hit him with a good shot back.
“I wasn’t hurt at all, not even a little bit in the fight. None of his body shots or nothing. I didn’t want to give him any false courage,” said Haney on why he always made it a point to fire back shots after he was hit by Jojo.
“I knew that he would gain momentum off punches he would land because of the crowd would go crazy. I didn’t want to give him no false courage. That’s why I was coming right back. to stop his momentum.
“At times it was tough, but I was able to probe him and keep my distance and land some good shots. I got to watch the fight back, but I feel that’s about right,” said Haney on the scores for the fight being correct.
“Honestly, I felt like I gave him two to three rounds, that’s fair. Every fight, you learn something, especially at the top level. It brings the best out of me and I’m getting better and better,” Haney said.
Devin to go up to 140 after beating Kambosos
“100 percent, I would love to,” said Haney when asked if he’d be willing to go to Australia to fight undisputed lightweight champion Geore Kambosos Jr. next.
“If everything makes sense, I would go to Australia. I want to pick up the belts. I don’t have that many more fights at 135. It’s not easy to make at all, but I will make it if it makes sense.
“Of course, all the guys in the lightweight division, the top guys, I’m watching,” said Haney when asked if he’ll watch Gervonta Davis’s fight against Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz on Sunday night.
“But the main fight I want to happen is the Kambosos fight because it’s for all the belts. It makes the most sense for me right now, and there won’t be no more dispute on who is the WBC champion.
“The winner takes all the belts, and then we go up to 140. He [Kambosos] told me that I was fast, I was smart and I had a great game plan. I’m very confident Kambosos will fight me.
“He’s a guy that wants to test himself, so I have nothing but respect for him, but talk is cheap and we have to take the fight to really see. My corner work is always great. My team altogether collectively put together a great game plan and we git the victory and on to the next.
“I got to go back to the lab and my team will let me know what I need to do better. It’s all experience. People forget that I’m only 23-years-old.
“How old is Jojo Diaz? I’m 23-years-old, and I’m still learning on the job. I’m getting stronger and stronger. That was my third former world champion in a row, and he [Jojo] didn’t lose his belt at 130. He didn’t make weight at 130, and that’s why he lost his belt. He’s coming off his biggest win, which is Javier Fortuna.
“They said I’m ducking Javier Fortuna, so I said, ‘Give me Jojo Diaz. I went in there and got the win. I’ve showed every guy that I called out. The guys that want to call my bluff, I’ve bought them. I never turned down nobody. I’m willing to fight the best.
“I’m willing too put my unbeaten record on the line, and I want to test myself in every fight. I say style make fights,” said Haney when asked if Jojo Diaz is the toughest opponent for his career.
“His style was different than Linares. Linares had more pop, but he had smarter aggression. In my next fight, I want all the belts, I’m coming,” said Haney.