Greg Leon: Congrats on landing a step-up bout vs. Christopher Diaz (24-1) on the April 20th at Madison Square Garden in New York. How do you feel about making this jump up in class? Shakur Stevenson: "I feel great and to be honest with you I can't wait for the fight!"
GL: What do you know about Pitufo Diaz?
Shakur Stevenson: "I know he's a power puncher and he's a decent fighter."
GL: How did this come about? Was this a name you asked for or was he brought to you?
SS: "They came to us with the name and I don't back down from challenges"
GL: Having your step up fight on a PPV is a good thing and I'm not trying to be negative here, but since it's a PPV it's going to be seen by a smaller audience than it would on regular ESPN. How do you feel about that?
SS: "I feel like it's going to be a bigger audience than you're expecting. Amir Khan is on the card and he's got the England fanbase. I feel like a lot of people are going to tune in to see if I'm really the truth or if I'm just another fighter. I think this fight is going to tell a lot."
GL: And what are you expecting this fight to tell?
SS: "That I'm the truth!"
GL: There's no turning back once you make this step up. Is that how you want it?
SS: "That's exactly how I want it and I know there's only going up from here. That's perfect for me. I want to be looking at the Oscar Valdez and Warrington's and all them type guys. This is the moment I've been waiting for my whole life for."
GL: You've been scheduled for ten rounds a couple of times, but those fights ended early. You've yet to go a full ten, does that concern you at all?
SS: "Not at all. I feel like it's better for me because I'm really a twelve round fighter. I spar a lot and I go a lot of rounds with different people straight. I feel like it plays into my hands because I'm going to be in better shape than he is, so you're going to see."
GL: Two fights ago you knew the right hook was going to be good money, the last fight you knew the left hand to the body was going to be good money. Is it still too early to tell what's going to be good money against Diaz?
SS: "My jab. My jab is going to be amazing, watch! Remember I'm telling you first, my jab is going to be crazy."
GL: And all things shall flow from it.
SS: "Yep!" (laughs)
GL: You're only in competition with yourself, but when you see other guys like Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney blossoming into contenders does it make you want to....
SS: (cutting in) "I don't really worry about them too much, but I know that they feel that they're ready for the top level fights, but they do a lot more talking than actually doing it. I'm saying it and I'm actually with the shits. I'm not going to sit back and...shit, basically I'll be the first one to make a move since everybody else wants to sitback and say they're going to do something and not do it."
GL: Diaz has never been stopped. Will he go the distance on April 20th?
SS: "I don't want to say that's the plan, but I'm going to go in there for a twelve round fight, but if it comes it comes."
GL: You're not looking for it, but is that the goal?
SS: "Most definitely, but I plan on going in there to box. He's strong and he wants me to sit there and trade with him. That's not really in my plans, but if I can set it up through boxing, then he gotta go."
GL: Do you do anything differently in preparation for this fight?
SS: "Yeah, I'm going to make sure I bring in some sparring partners with a similar style to his."
GL: When you say bring in sparring partners, does that mean you've only been sparring local guys?
SS: "I wouldn't local, but I been sparring a lot of amateurs and the USA team. I haven't been sparring a lot of pro's, but sometimes sparring with the amateurs is better than with the pro's believe it or not. I'm just going to make sure I get a bunch of different looks in this camp."
GL: Any closing thoughts for the fans?
SS: "Tune in April 20th! It's time to see if I'm the fighter I know I am even though everyone else thinks it too early."
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