Big-time super middleweight prospect Pacheco embraces first main event appearance
22-year-old excited to headline vs. Cullen on Saturday after injured Callum Smith's fight was canceled
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Super middleweight prospect up-and-comer Diego Pacheco, ranked as boxing’s fifth-best prospect by Fight Freaks Unite at the end of 2022, didn’t expect to be headlining so soon, but he’s here now and excited even if it wasn’t the original plan.
Pacheco will take on Jack Cullen in a vacant regional title bout in the main event of the Matchroom Boxing card on DAZN on Saturday (2 p.m. ET) at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England.
The fight was initially on the undercard but moved into the main event position last week when WBC light heavyweight mandatory challenger Callum Smith suffered an undisclosed injury and his hometown headliner against Pawel Stepien was canceled.
Suddenly, Los Angeles’ Pacheco (17-0, 14 KOs), who turned 22 this week, and Cullen (21-3-1, 9 KOs), 29, of England, found themselves in the new main event when the decision was made to not cancel the card.
“It’s unfortunate what happened to Callum Smith but I’m just thankful that the show is going on and I’m the one on top,” Pacheco said at Thursday’s fight-week news conference. “I’m excited for Saturday and I’m looking forward to a great night of fighting.
“I started off at 17 years old (in my pro debut). It doesn’t feel like it’s been five years. I feel like I’ve learned a lot in these five years and I feel it’s the perfect time to face a guy like Jack Cullen and after this move onto bigger fights. I know it’s going to be a great fight. I’m looking forward to the experience.”
Despite Pacheco’s youth and inexperience as a pro, this fight in England is not his first fight away from the United States. He has boxed six times in Mexico and in 2019 fought on the Andy Ruiz-Anthony Joshua II undercard in Saudi Arabia.
“After I get this win, I do feel that people will start recognizing me more as a contender than a prospect,” said Pacheco, who trains in Seattle with Jose Benavidez Sr. and has sparred countless rounds with his son, WBC interim super middleweight titlist David Benavidez. “(Cullen is) tall and he has a lot of heart, but I’m a way better fighter than him. I see myself stopping him. He won’t be able to take my power.
“Once I see the opening, I’ll take it. It’s really important that I put on a good performance. I wanna knock him out, I wanna stop him. In whatever round it comes in, whether it’s a body shot or a head shot, I just wanna to stop him.”
Pacheco has scored six knockouts in a row. Cullen has been stopped in all three of his losses.
Pacheco photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
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I expect a Pacheco KO as well, but you never know. I’m looking forward to it.
DTM i love that you collect ALL boxing not just the greats or HOFers, i say your collection has to be top 10 in the world of pure boxing cards/collectibles! i geek out always seeing your stuff.