If oddsmakers are to be believed, Nick Diaz will need all the help he can get when he steps into the cage with Georges St. Pierre at UFC 137. Knowing that he needs to be at his best to tangle with the welterweight champion, Diaz has continued to work with WBA super middleweight champion and former Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward. Mike Chiappetta with some of the details:
"Andre is very quick and athletic," Gracie said. "GSP is an athletic guy. I don't think he's the best boxer in the world, but he's fast and quick out there. To get used to a guy like Andre Ward, GSP wont be really that big of a threat speed-wise if Nick gets used to Andre."
Diaz and Ward have known each other for about 10 years, when a then-teenaged Ward would visit Gracie's gym to box and he and Diaz would spar. While the two have worked together many times in the past and are friends, this marks the first time they will train together throughout an entire camp.
I do wonder how much attention and time Ward can really provide to making Diaz better given that he will be facing Carl Froch in the finals of the Super Six World Boxing Classic on October 29. There is a very specific way that boxing training camps work and I wonder how much Virgil Hunter will allow this camp to deviate from that norm.
There is also a little humor in the situation in that Ward is much more similar to GSP in that he is a pound-for-pound list entrant known to be overly cautious in working to safe decisions.
Diaz, of course, was interested in pursuing a boxing career and even had a fight with Jeff Lacy planned prior to Zuffa renegotiating his contract and bringing him to the UFC for an immediate title shot.