“After November, I’m calling out names”-Juan Diaz
If you are not a diehard or at least a casual fan of the pugilist sport, you may have no idea who Juan Diaz is. The native of Houston, Texas and former lightweight champion, has a personality that does not demand attention like that of Floyd Mayweather. Nor does Diaz seem to be interested in gaining popularity with outside the ring theatrics that many in the long history of the sport have utilized to their advantage. Diaz, who returns the ring September 6th as the main event for a televised card, seems to care more about maintaining his level of conditioning and discipline rather than gaining publicity.
“I’m old (Juan is 30) as far as it goes with boxing. I have to focus on pushing to my next level in my training” Diaz says after his day of training at his Baby Bull Boxing Gym located in East Houston. “It’s not as easy as it was when I was younger. I have to keep pushing myself more and more.” Diaz, while still in the prime of his young adult life, touches on something that many athletes face: Age.
While many fans of the sport point out ageless wonders such as near the near 50-year-old Bernard Hopkins or the reigning 37-year old pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather as examples of boxers being able to “turn back the clock”. Even with this evidence there are more who have succumbed to aging and Diaz is realistic in his assessment. Boxing for its history been a sport where being over the age of 30 years of age is “old”.
The daily wear and tear of training, conditioning, sparring and the maintaining adds years to a fighter’s body. Where many stories have been written of fighters who have stayed too long and suffered too much in the ring, Juan seems to accept that he will not always be to what he has done since the age of 8. He seems to have accepted that reality.
“The three years off (retirement) helped me tremendously. Because of those three years I feel great now. My body needed it.”-Juan Diaz
Diaz hopes to make the rest of 2014 and 2015 as memorable as he can during his championship run in the 2000s. “I’m not taking my opponent Carlos Cardenas lightly. This is boxing. One punch changes everything. One wrong assumption and boom it’s over. I want to fight again before this year is over. I want to fight some of the top lightweights or a belt holder. After November (When there will be some key fights in the lightweight scheduled) I’m going to start calling out names.” With a division full of possibilities like Terrance Crawford or Omar Figueroa, one can only wonder what’s in store for Diaz in this fight game.