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Jesus Rojas vs. Joseph Diaz Jr. – Preview & prediction
By Chris Williams: In a sign that it’s time for Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz Jr. to finally move up in weight, he came in overweight at Friday’s weigh-in for his fight on Saturday night against World Boxing Association ‘regular’ featherweight champion Jesus M Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) live on Facebook Watch at the Avalon in Hollywood, California.
Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) came in half a pound over the featherweight limit at 126 ½ pounds last Friday at the weigh-in, making it impossible for him to capture the WBA World 126 pound title from Rojas on Saturday night. The 25-year-old Diaz Jr. now has to focus on winning the fight over the 31-year-old Puerto Rican born Rojas. For his part, Rojas made weight like a true professional, coming in at 125.8 pounds.
Rojas doesn’t have a history of blowing up in weight after he rehydrates. Unlike Diaz Jr., Rojas is at the perfect weight for the featherweight division. This would have been a voluntary title defense for Rojas over #11 WBA Diaz Jr. There are many higher ranked contenders in the WBA’s top 15 rankings, but Diaz’s connection with Golden Boy and his popularity with boxing fans made him an ideal opponent for Rojas to defend his title against.
Diaz Jr’s failure to make weight will cost him 20 percent of his purse, which is $10,000 of his purse of $50K. The only thing Diaz Jr. can count on now is winning the fight and looking good. Had Diaz Jr. made weight and won the fight tonight against Rojas, he still would have likely missed weight on his first title defense of the WBA strap, as he’s been struggling to make the 126 pound limit for some time. In Diaz Jr’s last fight against WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. last May, he looked like a full blown welterweight after he rehydrated on the night of the fight. Diaz Jr. was positively huge for the fight.
He was lucky he wasn’t fighting for the International Boxing Federation 126 pound title, as they have a 10 pound rule for rehydrating on the morning of the fight with their secondary weigh-ins. Diaz Jr. would have been miserable trying to keep his weight within the 10 pound rehydration limit on the morning of the fight against Russell Jr.
The only question now for Diaz Jr. is if 130 pounds will be a high enough cushion for his future fights. As big as Diaz Jr. is, he probably should be thinking of moving up to 135 pounds to fight at lightweight, because he’s likely going to have problems making the super featherweight limit as well, as there’s only four pounds that separates that division from the 126 pound weight class that he’s been struggling for ages to make.
Jo Jo’ Diaz Jr. vs. Rojas will take place tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT on Facebook Watch. Diaz Jr. needs to look a lot better tonight against Rojas than he did in losing to WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. last May. Diaz Jr. was too slow for Russell Jr., and he was helpless to do much of anything other than landing a hard shot here and there.