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Diaz Continues His Climb in the Mile High City

(Photo © German Villasenor)
(Photo © German Villasenor)

By Bill Tibbs


Former world champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz, will return to the ring this Saturday, October 19, as the chief support before Denver’s Mike Alvarado faces Ruslan Provodnikov in an HBO-televised, Top Rank Promotions card at the 1STBANK Center in Denver, Colorado. Houston, Texas’ Diaz will be entering the ring for the third time this year and looks to continue building on his two previous wins (since returning from a near-three-year hiatus) when he takes on Colorado’s Juan Santiago. The former world lightweight champion is looking to add a few more checks in the win column and then start to look at a serious title run. Diaz, an all-action fighter if there ever was one, should bring some excitement to the junior welterweight division, one that boasts names like Philadelphia’s World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Danny Garcia and headliners Alvarado and Provodnikov among others.


Although only 30 years old, Diaz seems to be have been around much longer after having turned pro at age 17. The university-educated Diaz won 13 national titles as an amateur before turning to the pro game and making his mark. Diaz made his professional debut in the summer of 2000 and was 20-0 just three years later. In the spring of 2003, he won the vacant WBC Youth world lightweight title. He defended that title twice which led to his world title shot in the summer of 2004. He defeated Lakva Sim over 12 rounds to capture the WBA world lightweight title, defending it five times over the next couple of years. Then in the spring of 2007, he added the World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight title, stopping Acelino Freitas in eight rounds. Six months later, he added the International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight title to his ever-growing trophy collection.
 
In his first fight of 2008, Diaz lost the WBO, IBF and WBC belts in a split decision to Nate Campbell. He came back six months later to defeat iron-tough Australian Michael Katsidis and claim the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) world lightweight title. This led to the February 2009 super-fight with Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez for the vacant WBO lightweight title, vacant WBA “super” world lightweight title and the IBO lightweight title. In a rough, give-and-take war, Diaz was stopped in nine rounds by Marquez. Diaz got back on the winning track six months later when he decisioned (however, not without controversy) Brooklyn’s Paulie Malignaggi to claim the vacant WBO North American Boxing Organization (NABO) light welterweight title in Houston. But four months later, Paulie would reclaim the belt in Chicago when he reversed the cards and decisioned Diaz to claim the win. Diaz got another shot at old nemesis Marquez in the summer of 2010. Although he fared better than in their first go-round, he again lost, this time by unanimous decision over 12 rounds in a shot at Marquez’s WBO and WBA “super” world lightweight titles. After the loss, Diaz decided after 110 amateur fights, 39 professional fights and 10 years in the game, it was time to step away. He returned home to Houston to focus on his education, family and business interests.
 
Fast forward three years later and here we are. Rested and rejuvenated, Diaz decided he still had something to offer and returned to the game that has been his life. He returned in April of this year to beat Pipino Cuevas Jr. by sixth round stoppage. After another win, he decided he should look at a promoter and recently inked with Top Rank, who he hopes will steer him toward another shot at a world title. Diaz’s relentless attack (long his in-ring signature style) attracted Top Rank and they were pleased to bring him aboard. In a recent interview, Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti said, “Everything about [Diaz] is fan-friendly.” Diaz sports a crowd-pleasing style suited to brawling and volume punching. And in a division loaded with some serious players, he may very well be in a position to sign on for some great tussles in the junior welterweight sweepstakes as he looks to reclaim some boxing hardware in his second run.
 
Watch for a Texas tornado blowing through the “Mile High City” on Saturday night!
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca.
 
 

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