Nate Diaz returns to action TONIGHT (Sat., Aug., 5, 2023) to face off against YouTube star-turned boxer, Jake Paul, in a 10-round, 185-pound boxing match inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, in what will be the Stockton slugger’s boxing debut. In the DAZN-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, undisputed women’s Featherweight boxing champion, Amanda Serrano, will rematch former WBO queenpin, Heather Hardy.
Almost one year after his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract release demands were met, Diaz will head back into the combat arena for his first-ever boxing fight against Paul who, for better or worse, has shown that he does have legitimate striking skills. I’ll be completely honest, I have been — and always will be — against social media influencer boxing matches, seeing NFL stars box one another, over-the-hill boxers facing way-past-their prime MMA stars, and YouTubers — even if they have some skill — settle their differences inside the ring. Even Floyd Mayweather touring the world in full-blown sparring sessions, to me, is flat-out lame.
But, while Paul may have started out as a YouTube star boxing another in the former of AnEsonGib, and then boxing a former NBA star in Nate Robinson, “The Problem Child” slowly started to transition into legitimacy as a boxer. And he did that by challenging former UFC champions such as Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren, both of whom he knocked out. He then out-boxed the former pound-for-pound best MMA fighter of all time in Anderson Silva, but let’s not kid ourselves, it wasn’t a prime “Spider.” Eventually, Paul went on to fight a “real boxer” in Tommy Fury, whom he lost to via split decision (watch highlights), which brings us back to Paul picking on ex-UFC stars who aren’t exactly at the top of their game.
That brings us to Diaz, a man who — despite never holding a UFC title and only competing in one championship fight in his career — has such a hardcore fan base. And it’s that passionate fan base that makes the Stockton slugger appear to be an untouchable fighter, but, in reality, he has an average-looking record (21-13). And here’s the kicker: while he has popularity on his side, he has never competed in a boxing match before, at least one that was not behind closed doors.
Diaz has often stated that he has sparred with professional boxers repeatedly. And while that may very well be true, sparring is one thing, going all out against someone who is trying to knock you out is quite another. Diaz has always adopted the “death by 1,000 cuts” strategy in his fights, meaning he will pepper his foes with a ton of volume until he accomplishes his goal instead of a one-punch knockout. Paul, whether you want to admit it or not, is too good to fall for that. Diaz may have the length, but Paul has speed and power on his side, which will be enough to get him another stoppage win and bragging rights for days.
Serrano is without a doubt the most accomplished boxer on this card, so when MVP Promotions started doing business with her it was a smart move. In the last 10 years, Serrano has only lost once (an epic split decision to Katie Taylor). Since that defeat, she bounced back nicely with back-to-back wins. Now, the current WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring female Featherweight champion is out for her third straight win as she battles Hardy in a rematch nearly four years in the making. In their first fight, Serrano handed Hardy her first loss. Hardy — who has a 2-2 record with Bellator MMA — went on to lose her second straight after that, though that didn’t affect her getting opportunities such as this one. And that’s why this fight lands in this section. If this event were sponsored by long-time boxing promoters, a fighter coming off two losses would not be getting a big title fight such as this.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Headlining the undercard is a great matchup between Alan Sanchez and Angel Beltran. Sanchez holds a record of 22-5-1. He is 2-2 in his last four fights, while Beltran is riding hot with a nine-fight win streak with four wins via technical knockout.
Kevin Newman II looks to up his win streak to four in a row when he battles Quilisto Madera, who is 14-3 with two straight wins. Madera has eight stoppage wins on his resume, including a 35-second knockout win. Newman, meanwhile, is coming off three consecutive stoppage wins.
Jose Aguayo will attempt to pick up his first win as a professional boxer after losing in his debut, which came more than two years ago. That’s a long time to be out of action, but hopefully he upped his game and sharpened his skills as he gears up to face Noel Cavazos, who is just 2-1 and is coming off a tough loss to Bobby McIntyre.
Former Bellator MMA fighter, Cee Jay Hamilton, will also make his boxing debut against Luciano Ramos. Hamilton snapped his two-fight skid inside the Bellator cage, defeating Richard Palencia at Bellator 286. Ramos, meanwhile, is a paltry 1-3 so far in his young boxing career, but he will have the advantage of already having the four boxing matches under his belt going up against an MMA fighter getting his first taste of the sport.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
There are some close to Paul who say that should “The Problem Child” come up short against Diaz he will retire from the fight game. Whether that’s to be believed, however, is another story until it comes right out of Paul’s mouth. That said, Paul needs to get back on track here because should he lose his second straight, his stock will fall despite his loyal fan base, and those PPV sales that he claims to make will also crash. Let’s not get it twisted, Paul doesn’t need to box.
He’s already a millionaire and has several other avenues of income, so if his boxing career does come to an end, he will be just fine. Still, if he does plan to continue with his combat career, he needs a win or else the interest simply won’t be there, at least not to the extent it is now, moving forward.
Interest Level: 7/10
Diaz’s protege, Chris Avila, failed to make weight despite doing his best Daniel Cormier impersonation, so he will now be forced to give up a percentage of his fight purse to Jeremy Stephens. Yes, that Jeremy Stephens. “Lil’ Heathen” is the latest MMA fighter looking to create a successful boxing career in hopes of cashing in on a big payday, which in all actuality, are few and far in between. Avila is 3-1 in his boxing career, while Stephens is 0-0-1, and fought to a draw against Jose Aldo in his boxing debut.
With a perfect record (9-0, Ashton Sylve has started off his professional career rather nicely and earned ESPN Ringside’s “Prospect of the Year” award in 2022. He has eight knockouts and has only seen the judges scorecards once. His opponent, William Silva, has 34 professional fights on his resume with a record of 30-4. The Brazilian bomber is coming off a first-round knockout win of Diego Gonzalez Luque earlier this year.
In women’s action, Shadasia Green will battle Olivia Curry in a 168-pound bout. Green is currently ranked No. 1 with a record of 12-0 with 11 knockouts. Green is the current WBC Silver champion in the Super Middleweight division and with a win over Curry she hopes to land a big fight against Savannah Marshall, the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO and The Ring female Super Middleweight champion.
Enjoy the fights!
Paul Vs. Diaz Main Card On DAZN PPV:
185 lbs.: Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz
126 lbs.: Amanda Serrano vs. Heather Hardy
168 lbs.: Chris Avila vs. Jeremy Stephens
135 lbs.: Ashton Sylve vs. William Silva
168 lbs.: Shadasia Green vs. Olivia Curry
Paul Vs. Diaz Prelims Card On DAZN PPV:
147 lbs.: Alan Sanchez vs. Angel Beltran
165 lbs.: Kevin Newman II vs. Quilisto Madera
154 lbs.: Jose Aguayo vs. Noel Cavazos
135 lbs.: Luciano Ramos vs. Cee Jay Hamilton
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