If you thought Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz was bluffing when he said he was considering making a move to boxing, you were dead wrong.
Now Diaz has an opponent for his first boxing match. His opponent? Former IBF super-middleweight champion and great knockout artist Jeff "Left-Hook" Lacy.
The two will square off in the ring sometime in the fall of 2011.
"This is a very dangerous fight for both men. Not only is this fight dangerous but stylistically it is very intriguing. I expected more resistance from fight fans and media in regards to this match-up but its amazing as to the hundreds of calls and e-mails I’ve received from fans on both sides wanting to see this match-up take place," said promoter, Don Chargin in a press release.
"I’ve received more than a few inquiries from some other very high-profile boxers that want to step up and fight Nick. Its been a real whirlwind."
Lacy could be the end to Diaz, as he possesses great ability and speed in both hands—enough to stop Diaz. The title for the fight is "Breaking History."
"I’ve been around boxing for quite some time and I’ve seen a lot of great, tough fighters in my six decades within the sport. I believe that if Nick had been one of those kids who had picked up boxing from a youth, he’d undoubtedly be a world-champion today," said Chargin.
"Sometime within the next 2 weeks I’ll be personally making the trek to Cesar Gracies gym to setup a private, closed door sparring session between Nick and a few nameless top-level contenders I have in mind."
This fight has been allowed due to a clause in Diaz's contract with Strikeforce where he can sign a contract to pursue boxing and still maintain his career as an MMA fighter.
Diaz's training partner, Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, feels his buddy will do just fine in boxing.
"I know I can't hang with [top level] pro boxers, I'm realistic, I know I'd get smashed. Nick Diaz goes [to] spar with Andre Ward and to me is the best 167 pounder in the world out there and he survives. He has bad days; he might even have good days and that's the toughest guy in the world," said Melendez on Inside MMA.
"If he can hang with him and have good days against him, I think Nick Diaz will do just fine with someone like Fernando Vargas and a lot of guys out there. (Diaz) spars a lot of tough guys. He's already doing it, he's already there. He's also not naive about stuff, so I think it'll be great for him."
Diaz will now be officially making the trek over to boxing as both fighters have signed on the dotted line. Diaz's signature was confirmed by his coach, Cesar Gracie via Twitter:
If Diaz does make the jump to boxing, he already has the tools in place to succeed. Maybe Diaz will end up like James Toney when he made the move to MMA. Diaz will definitely take this a lot more seriously and training with a fighter like Ward is really a great step in the right direction.
Diaz could be using this foray into boxing as an excuse for the UFC to sign him and create the matchup against current UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre—a fight that many MMA fans have been clamoring for since GSP's lackluster performance against Diaz's training partner, Jake Shields, last week at UFC 129.
UFC president Dana White is supposed to fly to Stockton to talk both Diaz and Gracie out of making the switch to boxing. Perhaps that GSP fight is his offer to keep Diaz in MMA.
According to ESPN's Josh Gross, Diaz could back out and take the GSP fight:
"RT @Ty_Hicks @JoshGrossESPN If he's signed the contract can he just back out to take the GSP fight?"
Yes. MMA contract takes precedence.