I think this is the best fight of the weekend by far as it features two top 10 guys going at it in a real competitive match up. Joseph Diaz is defending his IBF Super Featherweight title for the first time versus his mandatory challenger Rakhimov.
Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov was a good amateur and like most high level amateurs has good technique. He’s strong and has a lot of power though doesn’t throw massive amounts of punches. He still throws a good amount but he isn’t a massive volume type of guy. He works to the body well and his hooks seem to do real damage when he digs them in. His style is centered on him pressuring his opponents constantly and wearing them down both physically and mentally which he does well. His defence is centered around blocking rather than evading and this leads to him sometimes being out boxed for periods of time. So far he hasn’t faced the level of competition that Joseph Diaz has however he has traveled and fought as the B-side before.
Joseph Diaz was also a very good amateur but went one step further than Rakhimov and went to the 2012 Olympics. He’s got good technique and like Rakhimov his defence mostly consists of blocking rather than evading. He’s not a big puncher and most of his stoppages have been over time and due to being so much better than his opponents. I think he has great left hooks which he times well and him being a southpaw could make Rakhimov struggle as he has struggled with southpaws in the past. It could go the other way and Rakhimov could deal well with Diaz being a southpaw as he recently fought another good southpaw. He is smaller and isn’t as strong as Rakhimov however has much more top level experience and may have the better footwork.
I think this is a very even fight however I give the slight edge to Rakhimov due to him being bigger and having more power. I think his body shots will slow Diaz down in the second half similar to what happened in the Gary Russell Jr fight. I think Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov will deserve to win a decision but will likely get robbed by the judges due to not being American and fighting in America as the B-side.