Nate Diaz comes into his boxing bout against Jake Paul as a bit of an unknown commodity. We’ve watched the Stockton Slugger pick apart opponents in the cage for years with his relentless boxing style, but it’s unclear how his skills will translate in the boxing ring against a boxer.
Boxing legend Andre Ward has talked up Nate’s raw boxing talent, but they’re buddies so you never know if that’s colored the assessment. Now we have another data point in WBC super lightweight champion Regis Prograis, who is set to defend his 140 pound belt against Danielito Zorrilla this weekend. While promoting that fight on The MMA Hour, Prograis told an interesting story about sparring with Nate Diaz.
“I don’t even know why we went to the gym that night,” he said. “Because I had a chef, he literally served me the biggest plate of shrimp pasta ever. And I was like, my stomach was full! And I’d just finished eating it. One of my friends had someone sparring so we came just to watch him spar, and Nate was in there, he was supposed to spar but his sparring partner didn’t show up. And they asked me, ‘You want to spar?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah! I literally just finished eating a huge, huge plate of shrimp pasta, but yeah I’ll spar Nate, it’s cool.’
“And we literally just beat each other up. It wasn’t no boxing, it wasn’t no moves, it was just, like, we just fought the whole time. I think we did five or six rounds and we literally just fought, that’s all. I couldn’t do nothing because I was full, my stomach was full with pasta. And we just literally fought.”
“The main thing, he was just tough,” Prograis continued. “I hit Nate with a lot of punches and he’s just real tough. As far as his boxing, you can’t really compare it to our boxing because it’s a little different. But I can see why he has so much success in the MMA and UFC because he does know how to throw his hands. I’ve been in there with some MMA fighters, they don’t know what to do with their hands, they’re just lost against a boxer. But he landed some punches on me, it was good sparring.”
Asked what he thought of Nate’s chances against Jake Paul, Prograis went back and forth.
“At this stage, I don’t know,” he said. “I just think [Nate] is older. Jake is big, he’s stronger, he’s naturally the bigger man. He’s naturally younger, naturally bigger, stronger. I think a younger Nate Diaz would have just whupped Jake. But now I really don’t know. I would lean more towards Jake just because he’s bigger.
“But if Nate can take Jake Paul’s punches, he’ll beat him. Because Nate is like a heavy bag. You can hit him and hit him and hit him and nothing happens. If you have that mental pressure on you the whole time, Jake Paul might break. But it depends on how much Nate Diaz has left.”
Nate Diaz and Jake Paul throw down on August 5th at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. As it stands, the 26-year-old Paul is a solid -285 favorite to beat the 38-year-old Diaz, who comes into the fight a +220 dog.