Best I Faced: Juan Diaz

Aggressive strain fighter Juan Diaz unified three of the 4 light-weight titles throughout a superb title run within the mid-to-late 2000s.

Diaz was born in Houston, Texas on September 17, 1983.

“Shortly after I used to be born, my dad and mom couldn’t afford to remain right here, so we went again to Mexico and lived in Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico for six years,” Diaz instructed The Ring. “I even went to high school there for one 12 months. My youthful brother was born in Mexico throughout that point.

“Then my dad got here to the U.S. by himself and obtained a good job and as soon as he was in a position to save up some cash, he introduced us again to Houston.”

Though the Diaz household have been reunited it was nonetheless a troublesome time for them.

“My dad and mom weren’t economically steady,” he mentioned. “We needed to stroll in every single place. We have been sharing a cellular house with my aunt and uncle, who had a household. Every household had a room and we might sleep on the sofa. It was a humble and easy life. They persevered and had two jobs at one time and raised us and gave us the required issues we would have liked.”

As a baby, Diaz had a wholesome urge for food, weighing 120-pounds, that and his father’s love of boxing introduced him to the health club at 8-years-old.

“[My father] discovered the Willie Savannah boxing health club in South Houston,” he mentioned. “We went and checked it out and it was love at first sight for me.

“I began coaching, after I was 8, I had my first beginner combat at 120-pounds, an entire 12 months glided by and there weren’t any 120-pound 8-year-olds to combat me. Once I was 9, I obtained my second combat. That’s when my household and Mr. Savannah mentioned, ‘In case you actually need to combat, you’ll want to lose some weight.’ That’s after I obtained on a weight loss plan and misplaced weight.”

Diaz excelled as an beginner, going a formidable 105-5, profitable 13 gold medals. The teenager went to his ancestral house of Mexico within the hope of representing them on the 2000 Olympics.

“On the time I used to be 16, I mentioned, ‘I’m going to be three months shy of 17 to go to the Olympics,’” he defined. “We fought at an Worldwide match, there have been 16 international locations and so they needed to vote to make an exception for me to combat [at the Olympics]. 14 mentioned, ‘Sure’ and two mentioned, ‘No,’ America as a result of they’d Ricardo Williams at 139-pounds and Puerto Rico, they’d Miguel Cotto. These two international locations voted to not let me in and that’s why I didn’t go to the 2000 Olympics.”

Diaz didn’t need to wait four-years for the following Olympics, and on account of his age, turned skilled with a first-round knockout in Mexico June 2000. He had his first three fights in Mexico, incomes $400 a combat, earlier than he was of authorized age to combat in America.

Diaz, who graduated from faculty with a bachelor’s diploma in Political Science, moved via the ranks profitable his first 24 fights over a four-year interval.

WBA 135-pound titlist Lakva Sim from Mongolia was enticed to Texas in July 2004.

“I used to be 20-years-old, I had gone via some adversities, I had been knocked down and minimize in earlier fights however I felt invincible,” mentioned Diaz, who gained a 12-round unanimous choice.

An completed beginner fighter at 16 years previous, Diaz was denied an Olympic berth to characterize Mexico on account of his age

“The actual fact I used to be in a position to do it at house, in entrance of my hometown individuals, it was the cherry on prime of the cake.”

“Child Bull” turned again former two-time WBA 135-pound titlist Julien Lorcy (UD 12) and grizzled veteran Billy Irwin (TKO 9) in Texas however cracks have been showing in his relationship along with his promoter.

After only one non-title combat in over a 12 months Diaz obtained again to work making three subsequent title defenses and commenced working with Don King. He met WBO beltholder Acelino Freitas in a unification in April 2007.

“Individuals inform me I’m loopy however he simply didn’t hit arduous, I used to be strolling via his punches,” he mentioned. “No disrespect to him, I anticipated extra. He has proven he has energy however to me, I simply didn’t really feel that punching energy everybody was speaking about. After that fixed strain, he retired after eight rounds.”

Subsequent, Diaz met IBF ruler Julio Diaz in October 2007.

“That was one other combat which made me really feel I used to be invincible on the time,” mentioned Diaz, who stopped his namesake in nine-rounds. “I used to be on cloud 9, I felt like no person may cease me at the moment.”

It didn’t final lengthy and shortly he started having points with King, which led to Diaz going through Nate Campbell in Cancun, Mexico in March 2008.

“My contract was up with Don King and I used to be not going to re-sign,” he defined. “I used to be getting between $600,000, $700,000 a combat and I needed a signing bonus and extra money per combat, since I used to be undefeated and had three of the key belts. He didn’t need it, [he wanted to] minimize my pay in half, no signing bonus and signal for 4 years.

“Don King obtained actually mad, he mentioned, ‘I used to be making an attempt to make you the following Julio Cesar Chavez’, as a substitute of combating in Houston, he took the combat to Mexico.

“I used to be within the dressing room, I didn’t get a bodily, no drug take a look at, nothing. They didn’t examine my hand wraps; they threw me within the males’s restroom and mentioned be prepared at 8.”

It wasn’t his evening and a late cost from Campbell noticed Diaz misplaced his titles by 12-round cut up choice.

The proud Texan returned with a hard-fought win over Michael Katsidis (SD 12). That set him up for a combat with Juan Manuel Marquez in his hometown in February 2009.

It appeared the larger, stronger Diaz might overwhelm Marquez within the early going. Nevertheless, the Mexican murderer is as cerebral as they arrive.

Marquez stays a beloved determine in his native Houston

“Marquez got here with an amazing resume however I used to be positive I used to be gonna beat him, however issues end up completely different,” mentioned Diaz, who was forward on one of many scorecards earlier than the legendary Marquez made the required changes to knockout Diaz with an ideal proper uppercut in Spherical 9. The combat was later named Ring Journal Struggle of the 12 months.

“Marquez was such an amazing, good fighter and there’s nothing we may have executed.”

Diaz cut up a pair of fights towards Paulie Malignaggi (UD 12/ L UD 12) up at 140-pounds. However he feels he ought to by no means have moved up in weight.

Again at his pure 135-pounds, he met Marquez in a rematch in July 2010.

“I feel my coronary heart wasn’t in it, I took the combat hoping for a greater consequence but it surely didn’t occur.” defined Diaz, who misplaced a 12-round unanimous choice.

Diaz retired for practically three-years earlier than mounting a comeback, he gained seven fights earlier than stepping away for good.

“Once I got here again, I had the hearth,” mentioned Diaz (42-4, 21 knockouts). “I used to be able to go however I used to be older and began getting extra accidents which prevented me from doing what I wanted to do. I simply determined, ‘I’m executed.’”

Diaz, now 38, is married and has three youngsters. Nonetheless primarily based in Houston, he owns a supply enterprise referred to as JD Specific.

He graciously took time to talk to The Ring about the perfect he fought in 10 key classes.


Julio Diaz: He had an amazing jab, gave me a number of bother making an attempt to get in. I needed to do a number of head motion in an effort to get to him, particularly as he was taller.


Julien Lorcy: He was very awkward and slick. In case you see him within the ring it looks as if he stays there and doesn’t transfer that a lot. He had a helluva protection, I had a bit of little bit of bother touchdown pictures with him.


Paulie Malignaggi: He was very quick; he was fairly elusive. He couldn’t actually punch however he had nice hand pace.


Fernando Angulo: He may transfer, each time I might punch, he would take a step again and use bizarre angles. Nice footwork, out and in, back-and-forth, side-to-side.


Juan Manuel Marquez: He’s by far the neatest man I ever fought. Marquez has top-of-the-line boxing IQs of all boxers, this man can determine you out. It’s possible you’ll be beating him after which swiftly, he finds little weak spots and begins engaged on them and wins the combat. He’s not the quickest, he’s not the strongest, his foot motion shouldn’t be that nice however he’s such an amazing counterpuncher and once you’re that good a counterpuncher you don’t should have that a lot pace, that a lot energy, it’s nearly the way in which you land punches.


Michael Katsidis: That sucker may punch and he was bodily robust, he was like a bit of tank.


Ubaldo Hernandez: Consider it or not, it was a man from Mexico, in my twelfth combat, by the title of Ubaldo Hernandez. It was the primary time I obtained knocked down in a combat. It was the primary time somebody hit me so arduous I blacked out. I completed the combat and I don’t even keep in mind ending the combat. That’s a type of guys, the place in the event that they discover ways to harness their energy and discover ways to be correct – like Marquez – these guys might be killers. He had heavy arms.


Lakva Sim: I used to be like, ‘Both I can’t punch or this man can actually take a punch.’ I stored hitting him with hellacious uppercuts. I couldn’t imagine he didn’t go down.


Marquez: This man at all times retains his arms up, nice boxing stance, counterpuncher, ring generalship. He’s an entire fighter, a type of guys who has the whole lot.


Marquez: The very best I ever shared a hoop with was Marquez. He’s going to go down in historical past as a Corridor of Famer. I’ve obtained to provide credit score to him as a result of this man can determine anyone out. His highest quality is he has a coronary heart of metal and the cojones of an Italian bull. This man’s been dropped, minimize, rattling close to killed by completely different fighters, who got here very near beating him however he finds inside him a method to come out on prime.

Questions and/or feedback might be despatched to Anson at [email protected] and you may comply with him on [email protected]


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