Diaz’s technique is where I think he is going to stumble, in my opinion. Aside from the lack of amateur boxing experience, I mentioned earlier he throws wide looping hooks and a lot of slap punches where he is keeping his arms out there as a strategic defensive tactic. Boxers often do this to use their reach to prevent a guy from getting in on them though most referees are not fans of it and warn the boxers about it, especially if they use the glove to push their heads back. Wladimir Klitschko is one of the worst offenders in this regard but he does it because it’s safer than having to always jab and keep your opponent outside your reach.
Diaz also doesn’t show a lot of Boxing-style footwork. He’s flat-footed, in fairness this could be because he doesn’t wear boots or shoes but it also keeps him off his toes which is a big factor in Boxing, and he doesn’t seem to move side to side to avoid a lot of shots. Also, his head movement is non-existent. He doesn’t move his head unless there’s a clear punch right in his face at that moment. He gives fighters a stationary target and boxers tend to destroy opponents that do that. Another big drawback is he keeps his hands low. Aside from the obvious taunting he does all too often in which he puts his hands down, he keeps them low naturally and eats a lot of shots in the cage because of it. His lack of defense against Paul Daley allowed him to get caught with a short straight left hand that dropped him and had him in trouble late in the first round this past weekend.
This does ignore the fact that Diaz was fighting MMA and not boxing when he showed off all these technical flaws. Fighting like a boxer in MMA is a good way to get your ass kicked, which is why most boxers have the smarts to stay the fuck outta the sport.
I’ll start wildly speculating on Nick’s chances once a fight is firmly locked in stone. There’s the very real possibility that this is all just a feint by his management to try and secure an opponent more interesting than Tyron Woodley for his next MMA fight. But Diaz is crazy enough to believe he can hack it with serious boxers out of the gate. And considering the time he’s spent training with current WBA super middleweight champ Andre Ward, you’d think he’d have a realistic idea of where he stands with his skills.
The biggest question in all this is if Diaz can even land a fight in boxing that’s going to pay him the amount he wants, especially considering his pot-addled impression of what he’s worth. One hurdle will be finding a bankable boxer who’s willing to take a fight with no upside that could potentially go very wrong for them. Another is getting some outlet to pay enough for the fight that it’s worth everyone’s time.
You’d think a top MMA name like Diaz crossing over to boxing would get people excited, but the boxing world is full of stodgy old men with very set ideas for how things are supposed to work. Diaz and his managers have been trying to get this boxing shit going since 2009 with no success. Nick may have proven since then that his pugilistic power in the cage is no fluke, but I don’t think that changes very much in the eyes of those in boxing. Maybe we need to ramp up the ‘neener neener MMA is better than boxing’ thing again. Don’t be scared, boxing!