By Robert Coster
Being informed that he was a 25:1 underdog against WBC/WBO Champion Terence Crawford, Dominican challenger Felix Diaz shrugged it off saying “I’ve been an underdog all my life, it’s no big deal. All I can say is that a lot of people are going to lose money on Saturday.”
The former Olympic Champion talks freely about growing up in la Barquita, one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods of Santo Domingo, where as a child, he would train barefooted in a small ramshackle boxing gym. “I think of the kids of the poor barrios who only have boxing or baseball as a future. Come Saturday night, I will be fighting for them. I want those kids to know that there is hope to have a better life. I tell them ‘have a goal, be focused, work hard.’ I want to let them know that you can dream and that dreams do come true if you strive for it.”
Felix likes to mention the Foundation he has st up in Santo Domingo to help kids get away from the streets and into sports. “I want to go back to see these kids with these two title belts in hand, to show them good things happen in life.” Felix Diaz trained in Indio, California with Joel Diaz and, along with ring strategist Alex Ariza, have devised a plan to neutralize Crawford’s height and reach advantages. Fellow Dominican boxer Carlos Adames who once sparred with Crawford and was Diaz’s chief sparring partner in California. He considers that Diaz will bring in the ring elements that Crawford never had to deal with “Crawford is a great champion but I don’t think he has met someone like Felix who really surges in the face of a great challenge, using his southpaw stance, his skills, his experience-a boxer with a tremendous heart.”
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