Although Diego de la Hoya is far from being a household name, his last name is one that certainly gets attention. Sure, there are perks to being the cousin of Oscar de la Hoya, but with it comes the pressure and expectation to really carry and represent that name. With an(n) undefeated record of 9-0 (6 knockouts), Diego seems set to do just that, even with his last fight being tougher than many expected.
With a record of 17-3-3, Manuel Roman was a big step-up in competition for the still developing fighter, but trainer Joel Diaz was well prepared for what was ultimately a grueling unanimous decision win.
“Definitely, the fight was planned to be the way it came tonight. I know that Manny Roman has a lot of experience. He’s a very experienced fighter compared to the experience Diego has. I just wanted him to box. I wanted him to use his footwork, move around the ring. At some points, I asked him to pressure and bring the fight, but Manny was well-trained. He prepared himself real well for this fight. We just kept in the move. I kept Diego smart, composed. Everything he did was great; he did as he was told. “
Victory aside, Diaz is quick to point out that Diego is not the same fighter as when he first joined the professional ranks. Rather than the amateur point-fighting that Diego has proven to be so successful at, Diaz has had to break down and really tune some of Diego’s strengths in order to succeed at a professional level.
“Well, from being a very exciting fighters from very early on in his career as a professional, he brought the amateur style into the professionals; very explosive, very fast, very exciting. So now what I did was slow him down a little bit, be a little more patient. We’ve got eight rounds to work, so why finish everything in the early rounds when you have to monitor your conditioning between rounds to finish an eight round fight just in case he goes the distance.”
As confident as Diaz is in his fighter, there is still much work to be done. Rather than stay stagnant until a fight is signed, Diaz is determined to continue building the young de la Hoya into the boxing star so many expect him to be.
“He’s just getting better and better. I mean, tonight, after his victory over Manny Roman his confidence level is high knowing that Manny Roman has been up there for a world title, and he’s fought a great experienced fighter. With his confidence so sky-high right now all I have to do it maintain him, keep working in the gym because there still a lot to work on with him that needs to be corrected, but other than that Diego will be a world champion soon.”