'JoJo' Diaz can secure spot on Canelo card with victory

Joseph Diaz, left, could be fighting on his first pay-per-view on Sept. 17, but first he needs to defeat Victor Proa on Saturday. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Featherweight Joseph Diaz, a 2012 U.S. Olympian and rising prospect, is getting awfully close to a major fight but the process of getting there continues when he faces Mexico’s Victor Proa in a 10-round bout on Saturday night (HBO Latino, 11:30 ET/PT) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

Diaz, of South El Monte, California, will fight in the co-feature to junior welterweight contender Antonio Orozco (24-0, 16 KOs), of San Diego, taking on Mexico’s Abner Lopez (25-5, 19 KOs) in the 10-round main event.

Should Diaz prevail and come out of the fight with no injuries, his next fight date is already in the works and it is one that serves as major motivation.

Golden Boy Promotions vice president Eric Gomez told ESPN.com that Diaz is being penciled in for a slot on the Canelo Alvarez-Liam Smith HBO PPV undercard on Sept. 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“We need to see how things go on Saturday night, but if everything goes well and Joseph comes out of the fight OK we want to put him on that card in a significant fight and have the fight on the pay-per-view,” Gomez said.

Diaz (20-0, 11 KOs) likes that plan.

"I'm very excited to be on HBO Latino. It's a dream come true and gets me a step closer to fighting on HBO Pay-Per-View,” said Diaz, who is coming off his biggest win, a one-sided 10-round decision against former world title challenger Jayson Velez on March 26.

Of course, before Diaz can secure the pay-per-view slot he has to deal with Proa (28-1-2, 21 KOs).

"I'm training with a lot more authority and have been working on landing my shots,” Diaz said. “While I'm a southpaw and he's an orthodox (boxer), he's very heavy handed and I know what I have to do to go in there to break him down.”