Joel Diaz: ‘If We Don’t Win a Clear Decision over Manny We Are Not Going to Win’


Joel Diaz has his work cut out for him with Timothy Bradley’s upcoming fight. The trainer, like his boxer Bradley, is a realist and very thoughtful. caught up with Diaz in New York City last week at the second stop of the promotional tour for Bradley’s rematch on April 12 against the Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao. In our discussion he gave a very pragmatic assessment of the situation at hand as we talked about the upcoming matchup.

On paper, Bradley is coming into this fight markedly more experienced than their first bout. Diaz quickly recaps the brief history since the fighter’s controversial June 2012 bout. Since then, Bradley has beaten the blood-and-guts warrior, Ruslan Provodnikov, and Manny’s old rival, Juan Manuel Marquez; meanwhile, Pacquiao has been “put to sleep,” as Diaz puts it by Marquez during the interim period. Lucky for Bradley, Diaz derives no false hope from the past scraps, but he does recognize that “Bradley’s got the confidence” and has “matured as a fighter.”

Despite the confidence booster, Diaz still knows he has an uphill climb ahead of him. “Manny has always been a great fighter, he has always been explosive and he always has a lot of speed.” Diaz is all too aware of the kind of danger that Pacquiao poses to his fighter. “We don’t look at Manny as coming into the ring with any weakness, we expect the best Manny ever,” Diaz doesn’t look to disparage Pacquiao at all. While fans may buy into the hype that Manny is a drained man after his knockout loss, Diaz and his team are expecting a war in which the stakes have never been higher.

It seems that Diaz shares in Bradley’s hunger to right the wrong of the last controversial decision. Diaz has a somewhat bleak but ultimately pragmatic view of their chances on fight night. “We know for a fact that going to a decision with Manny Pacquiao again and having it be close we are not going to win.” Bradley faces two opponents this April, both against Pacquiao and the memories of their last controversial meeting. It would be easy for Bradley’s corner to look at the numbers and say it’s going to be an easy night. Bradley is undefeated owning wins over both Pacquiao and his most competitive rival, Marquez, but it just isn’t Bradley’s style or Diaz’s to rest on their laurels.

So as Diaz puts it, “In order to beat Manny, we have to do it very clear.” He admits that a knockout seems unlikely but doesn’t entirely rule it out. Diaz and Bradley are a fearsome and talented team who are able to make many adjustments mid-fight. Against Provodnikov, Bradley proved that there were multiple styles in which Bradley could fight and be successful. Ultimately, Diaz knows he hasn’t got the easiest go of it against Pacquiao, but it is a challenge that they are willing to take in the interest of their legacies.

It is always refreshing to see fighters and trainers coming together to give fans what they want to see, taking tough fights and doing whatever it takes to cement their places in boxing history.