Diaz vows to 'expose' Haney
JoJo Diaz is on a mission to "expose" the false "kings" of the lightweight division and plans to start with WBC champion Devin Haney on Saturday.
"I just can't wait to expose these guys and Devin Haney is going to be the first one," Diaz told BBC Sport.
"I'm going to take his throne and make sure I put a stamp on my name."
The past 12 months have seen a slew of shocks in world title fights including Oleksandr Usyk's victory over heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in September and Teofimo Lopez's demise against newly crowned unified lightweight champion George Kambosos last week in New York.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has anointed Haney as one of the "four kings" of the lightweight division, but after Lopez's loss, that leaves just Haney, WBA (Regular) champion Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia as undefeated.
Haney is just 23 years old but already has 26 professional bouts under his belt and became the WBC champion in 2019.
Davis defends his title on Sunday against Isaac Cruz while social media giant Garcia is currently nursing an injury which forced him to pull out of a fight with Diaz earlier this year.
The hype surrounding Haney, Davis, Lopez and Garcia has been intense in the last year but match-ups between the lightweights have not materialised and now the beaten Lopez is expected to move up in weight rather than seek revenge over Kambosos.
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The talk is all about the undefeated champions, but Diaz - who was a world champion at super-featherweight - is not concerned with being overlooked by his rivals.
"My whole entire career has been like that. I pay it no mind," he said.
"It's because of all the social media and their following, people build up these fighters.
"I think that has a lot to do with the spark and the spice in building up these young, up and coming fighters. These fighters are good fighters, talented, but they don't have the experience of being in the ring with top competitors like myself.
"I've been in there with really tough, undefeated fighters who thought they were going to win until I beat them."
But while Diaz will take inspiration from Kambosos' thrilling victory, the 29-year-old explained why he felt he was in a different position to the unified champion.
"It was George [Kambosos] who wanted it more," he said. "I feel Teofimo didn't have a gameplan going into the fight. He thought he was going to be able to walk over George and he blew his load.
"He was tired and fatigued, and the weight cut played a major role in his performance. George took full advantage and ended up coming out victorious.
"But it's different with me and Devin Haney because I am an experienced fighter and I have already been in there in the ring with elite fighters.
"Haney is a young fighter who is hungry but he's barely touched the canvas with elite fighters.
"He fought Jorge Linares, who was already old and going out of his career. He was an elite fighter but other than that he hasn't faced anybody like myself that is young, hungry and in his prime. I feel that will be one of keys to victory."
Haney has already called out Kambosos, the new owner of the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and The Ring belts, and his promoter Hearn wrote in his BBC column this week that that fight is the only one they want to make in 2022.
"I should be in the pound-for-pound list and fighter of the year, and number one in the 135lbs division [if I win]," Diaz said.
"We've built my legs very, very strong for this fight because we know Haney is going to try move around, create angles and is going to be on his bicycle.
"We want to make sure we are going to cut him off and be there the whole night and get to the point where he's tired and fatigued and we can start banging him on the inside.
"I'll stop him in the eighth round."