Boxing Predictions: Terence Crawford vs Felix Diaz WBO/WBC World Junior Welterweight Title
Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz
Terence Crowford Record: 30-0 (21 KOs)
Felix Diaz Record: 19-1 (9 KOs)
Canada Sports Betting Pick: Terence Crawford (-1429) at Sports Interaction
Madison Square Garden gets a big junior welterweight clash as Terence Crawford puts his WBC and WBO titles on the line against the Dominican bruiser Felix Diaz.
Crawford returns to HBO on a Saturday night after having run through the division and is now seemingly treading water against an outmatched but dangerous opponent. Diaz has Olympic gold in his resume and looks to thrive as a massive underdog.
Crawford's popularity will be tested here on the big stage where he isn't fighting in front of his hometown in Nebraska. This is a solid move for Top Rank who have work to do to build Crawford's star power and big venues like this is the place to test it. The main event airs on HBO and is likely to start around 10:00 PM ET depending how long the undercard goes for.
The champion opened as a 15-1 favourite (-1500) and following some bets on Diaz, was quickly bet down to as low as -2500. Crawford is expected to run roughshod on Diaz who really doesn't have any notable wins that come close to Crawford's level.
The challenger is giving up a size, reach, and speed disadvantage although he can absorb a good amount of damage. If Crawford takes Diaz lightly, he could get pressured and boxed up inside but even if that happens, Crawford has the skillset to take over at any time.
Regarded by many pundits as the third-best pound for pound fighter, the only thing holding Crawford back from bursting into the spotlight is a legitimate threat. After soundly beating Viktor Postol, the division's number two last summer, there doesn't seem to be many contenders left for Crawford. The two-weight world champion held the lineal lightweight championships from 2014 to 2015 before moving up to win and defend the lineal junior welterweight titles in 2016.
The 29-year-old American is a complete fighter who boasts few weaknesses. His ability to switch stances gives him an edge and he's able to beat southpaws as a southpaw or an orthodox boxer with an orthodox stance. He is fast, agile, and has great ring awareness. He also has fantastic reach for his division (70") and has the enviable ability to both hit with power and precision and can fight technically and aggressively without compromising the other.
He can eat a good punch or two as well. To expose any of his weaknesses, he'll need to meet a fighter who can absorb his power and pressure him.
The unheralded challenger wasn't Crawford's top pick but he called him out and got what he wished for. Diaz became the first Dominican athlete to win an Olympic gold medal when he won in 2008. He had a slow but gradual rise up the pro ranks. His sole loss came against Lamont Peterson in a majority decision affair. Nothing to be ashamed of as Peterson is lauded as one of the best in his weight class. He also holds notable victories over Adrian Granados and Sammy Vasquez.
Diaz will be as high as 15-1 in some sportsbooks. Fighting as a southpaw, Diaz is small and stocky and will be giving up a three-inch reach and height disadvantage listed at 67" and 5'5" respectively. Diaz makes up for this in his durability. The southpaw can absorb plenty of damage allowing him to fight aggressively. He is most effective up close where he uses furious combinations both to the head and body to whittle down his opponent. If he hopes to pull the upset, he'll need to get around Crawford's straight punches and maintain pressure.
WBO/WBC World Super Lightweight Title Betting Tips
There is some temptation to bet Diaz especially if he hits upwards of 10-1 in your sportsbook. While he doesn't possess one-punch knockout power, he is highly aggressive and can give Crawford a tougher fight than anticipated. But Crawford has fought better competition and passed each with flying colours. The fight will start slow with a feeling-out process but after a third of the fight, Crawford will assert his range and ring control and beat Diaz soundly on the scorecards. A straight bet holds little value but try using Crawford in a parlay.
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