WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete will defend his title on Saturday at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida against a hungry Christopher Diaz who knows that this might be his last chance at a major title.
The 26-year-old Navarrete (31-1, 27 KOs) has won titles in two different weight classes. While he might not be a huge household name, Navarrete has established himself as an active and dominant champion who has built a 28-fight undefeated streak.
Navarrete Willing to Take on All Comers
If there’s one knock on Navarrete, it’s that critics say the Mexican hasn’t fought any of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and has faced relatively weak opposition on average for a champion. But Navarrete says he simply boxes whoever steps into the ring with him.
“I don’t look at the opponent,” Navarrete told Carlos Gonzalez. “If they place Diaz as the title challenger, then that part is left to the promoters. Yes, I have been criticized because sometimes my opponents are not ranked, but I work to fight against whoever they put in front of me. I don’t think about taking the opportunity away from someone who has earned it.”
As Navarrete suggested, Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs) isn’t considered one of the primary contenders in the featherweight division. BoxRec rates the Puerto Rican 19th in the division. But the 26-year-old has already fought for a world title, losing to Masayuki Ito for the WBO super featherweight title back in 2018. His only two losses have come to former world champions, and both by decision.
That’s the kind of resume that makes Diaz a legitimate challenger for another title, but it doesn’t put him on Navarrete’s level. DraftKings Sportsbook rates Navarrete as a massive -1250 favorite over Diaz (+600) heading into the fight.
Underdog Sees 50/50 Fight
But Diaz says he will bring a tougher challenge than most people expect – possibly including his opponent.
“Navarrete has top come well prepared. It will be a very tough fight for him and tough for me too. But I think he doesn’t know the strength and hunger that I have,” Diaz told Sara Hernandez of BoxingScene.com. “It’s a 50-50 fight, competitive for both of us. I think I am the most competitive opponent that Emanuel Navarrete has had so far in his career.”
|Navarrete vs. Diaz Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Emanuel Navarrete: -1250||Christopher Diaz: +600|
|Method of Victory|
|Navarrete by KO/TKO: -110||Diaz by KO/TKO: +1200|
|Navarrete by Decision: +125||Diaz by Decision: +1200|
Navarrete acknowledges that Diaz will pose him problems. But he says he wants to draw the challenger into his style of fight – one that favors power and smart offense over technical brilliance.
“It has been said that he is going to try to frustrate me. But I don’t think he will be able to keep that up for 12 rounds,” Navarrete said, via BoxingScene.com. “He is going to end up choosing to fight, to exchange punches and that will benefit me completely. I’m an action fighter and I expect that from Diaz. If not, we are going to have to work to win the fight round by round and take the fight with a decision.”