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Living the American Dream: The “Baby Bull” Juan Diaz Speaks to RSR

Interview by Marc Anthony

(Managing Editor’s Note: Marc Anthony is our newest Interviewer/Feature Writer here at RSR.  He will be bringing you the biggest names in boxing in the weeks and months to come.  I, along with the rest of the team, welcome him aboard!)

“It’s not about being/having motivation it’s about having a goal in mind and once you realize what your goal is and you go for it then everything else just falls in place.”- Juan Diaz
Diaz story tells a tale of overcoming odds and, by doing so, inspiring those around him. Growing up, he was not an athletic kid…at 8 years old and overweight learning his craft at Savannah’s gym, which would have closed had Juan quit boxing!

At 16, he qualified to compete in the Olympics for Mexico but two countries protested so he was unable to do so. Juan did not let that discourage him. Where others might have only seen this as bad news, Juan saw this as an opportunity to become a Pro. By age 20, Juan Diaz also known as “Baby Bull” became a world lightweight champion, one of the youngest ever. By age 24, he became WBO, IBF and WBA Super World Title holder.  One year later a graduate with a political science degree from University of Houston.

Now Juan’s getting ready to take the LSAT in December 11th to enter a new chapter in his life: Law School. 

MA:  Bring us up to speed on what you have been doing since your last fight?

Well I have been contemplating a lot on what my next event is, as far as boxing is concerned, especially lately. Because I know the year is almost up, it’s time for me to make some serious decisions, and I am definitely going do it because I have been doing a lot of business with the construction industry. My brother and I have a construction company here in Houston, and it’s been going extremely well and, at the same time, I have been studying for the LSAT.

You know, I have been giving myself an opportunity to do different things outside of boxing. I really enjoy everything that I am doing and I am taking the LSAT test to get into law school December 11th and my whole plan is to get accepted into law school. And I think that once I am successful doing that at the end of December that is when I am really going to know what you know what I am going do, whether I am going pursue my law degree and dedicate myself 100 percent or do I feel like I need to fight again just to you know just to ah (inaudible) …I mean it’s still inside of me but I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore.

MA:  Like they say: Fighting careers are shorter and law would definitely last longer.

Yeah, especially seeing the fight between Michael Katsidis and Juan Manuel Marquez…it was a great fight. I got to give it up to both those guys but, at the same time, you know I wish I was in there, but I also know that everything that I am doing outside of the ring I am being pretty successful at it, so I am being successful, making money without getting beat up.

MA: (Laughter) Yeah, I wanted to ask you if you have any pre-fight rituals before you go out into the ring.

Well, not rituals per say, but I guess I…it’s not even a superstition, I don’t know…I guess more for good luck, I started doing it a few fights ago.  What you know, I lace up my shoes, my boots, my boxing boots and for some reason I always skip the second to last belt.  Also when you tie in, where you lace them up and the last two, I mean the second one before the last two, I skip it and I jump into the last two holes and I lace them up.  For some reason I don’t do that with tennis shoes or my sneakers…none of that, but when I am boxing, especially for a fight, I skip those two for some reason.

MA: Has your dad ever given you advice on boxing and have you ever used it?

Well, all the time (laughter) really.  He tells me lately, in my last few fights, he kind of stepped away from telling me what to do.  He tells me that my trainers know what to do and that I already know what to do, but in the past, he did use to tell me about maybe I need a little bit more pressure or the way to throw my combinations, but in my last few fights, he just became more of a spectator and a fan than anything else.

MA: What is the best advice that Willie Savannah or Ronnie Shields have given you?

Well the best advice that they have gave me in the near future: If I want to keep boxing, do it because I love it and if I don’t feel like I am doing it for the love of the sport then go ahead and just retire and concentrate in being a lawyer. I would say that is the best advice that both those guys have given me.

MA: What mental tricks do you use to stay motivated in everything you do?

Well when you wake up in the morning, a lot of guys, people, friends, family members, they ask me why? What’s my motivation to everything I do? And I tell them: “Look guys, when I wake up at five in the morning six in the morning, you know getting my daily run in or drive to Port Arthur, which is two hours away from Houston, I am not motivated I am just like you guys…I have like no motivation to wake up at five in the morning and drive or go work out.  There is no motivation, but what I do have …is goals, and that is what I wake up to!” My goal is to be the best at what I am doing! So if there is a fight and I wake up early in the morning to work out, and I don’t think about you know being motivated but I think about the end result that in two or three months, I win and the referee picks up my hand as the winner and that’s going be the end result.  That’s going be the goal so every time I wake up in the morning.

I wake up with a goal in mind. So whether it’s getting ready for a fight or getting ready to drive to Port Arthur, my goal is: Okay I am going drive to Port Arthur to make it on time to the meeting so that these people see that I am a professional and that I am really dedicated at what I do so they will keep giving me jobs and that cash flow keeps coming in. So you always have to have a goal in mind that is what I tell my family and friends, it’s not that I am motivated it’s just that I have a goal in mind.

MA: If you do decide to continue in boxing, are you going to stick fight at 135, is that were you feel your best at?

I feel that I am best at 135, yes I definitely do. I tried that 140 pounds with Paul Malignaggi and he was obviously the bigger guy at 140. So, as of right now, I feel that you know if I was to fight again, then it definitely would have to be at 135.

MA: Do you have any favorite movies you want to share?

Yeah I do, I actually like that movie “A Knight’s Tale” with Heath Ledger. Yeah it’s my favorite movie off all time, really!

MA: I read on your twitter that you have two new contracts?

Yeah, yeah right now we have our crew painting a high school in Port Arthur and these two jobs require painting as well and a little bit of construction but we just got awarded those two jobs.  They like our work…they like how well the guys are doing right there right now.

MA: What is the name of your construction company that you have with your brother?

It’s called JD Services

MA: I noticed that you have a YouTube channel that you do fight predictions? Can you give us a brief prediction what you think between Amir Kahn vs. Marcos Maidana how that will go down?

Kahn and Maidana?

Well, I believe that Khan is going have the advantage here because, especially on what he showed on his previous fight against Paul Malignaggi, that the way he basically kept Paul Malignaggi at bay with his jab he was just really using his height to his advantage.

Because, in the past we’ve seen Khan fight he is a tall guy, but he was fighting like a short fighter.  He will be in there, mixing it up and get caught with pretty clean punches and I think that now that he has gone with Freddie Roach he has developed a good style, boxing a little bit more and being more smart.

So I think that that is why he has the advantage over Maidana. It is the fact that he has his height and he is using his height to his advantage now! But Maidana you can’t really fall asleep on him because he does have power and he has proven that with Victor Ortiz. So if Khan lets him get in and fight in the close range then I think that it’s going be in early night for the fans, because you know that Khan can’t take a hit. I mean, doesn’t really have a good chin. But overall, I think that Khan could be the clear winner on this fight, I am picking Khan

MA: (laughter) so money on Khan!

Yeah,  because like I just broke down those guys…both those guys have good qualities in them but you also have to see that you know with Maidana is what if? Khan brings more of a technical boxing style that can beat a lot of fighters and Maidana is kind of an awkward guy who has a lot of power but it’s always what if… what if he catches this guy? What if he doesn’t? You know.

MA: Yeah, that’s true.   Well I like to thank you so much and thank you Jose, both you guys giving me the time, do you have any final words for the fans?

Well I want to wish the fans a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! The holidays are right around the corner. And, like I said earlier when you asked me about motivation… And I want to give everyone a little bit of advice, It’s not about being/having motivation it’s about having a goal in mind and once you realize what your goal is and you go for it then everything else just falls in place.

Juan Diaz
Nickname: “Baby Bull”
Division: Lightweight
Professional Record: 35- 4-0, 17 KO’s

07-31 — Juan Manuel Marquez, Las Vegas, NV, L 12
(For WBA lightweight title)
(For WBO lightweight title)

12-12 — Paulie Malignaggi, Chicago, IL, L 12
08-22 — Paulie Malignaggi, Houston, Texas, W 12
02-28 — Juan Manuel Marquez, Houston, Texas, TKO by 9
(For vacant WBA lightweight title)
(For vacant WBO lightweight title)

09-06 — Michael Katsidis, Houston, Texas, W 12
03-08 — Nate Campbell, Cancun, Mexico, L 12
(Lost IBF lightweight title)
(Lost WBA lightweight title)
(Lost WBO lightweight title)

10-13 — Julio Diaz, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, TKO 9
(Won IBF lightweight title)
(Retained WBA lightweight title)
(Retained WBO lightweight title)
04-28 — Acelino Freitas, Mashantucket, Connecticut, TKO 8
(Won WBO lightweight title)
(Retained WBA lightweight title)

11-06 — Fernando Angulo, Phoenix, Arizona, W 12
(Retained WBA lightweight title)
07-15 — Randy Suico, Las Vegas, Nevada, TKO 9
(Retained WBA lightweight title)
04-08 — Jose Miguel Cotto, Las Vegas, Nevada, W 12
(Retained WBA lightweight title)

07-16 — Arthur Cruz, Kinder, Louisiana, TKO 5
01-21 — Billy Irwin, Houston, Texas, TKO 9
(Retained WBA lightweight title)

11-04 — Julien Lorcy, San Antonio, Texas, W 12
(Retained WBA lightweight title)
07-17 — Lakva Sim, Houston, Texas, W 12
(Won WBA lightweight title)
04-17 — Martin O’Malley, Temecula, California, TKO 2

11-22 — Joel Perez, Houston, Texas, TKO 6
07-19 — Francisco Lorenzo, Houston, Texas, W 10
05-10 — Eleazar Contreras Jr., Temecula, California, W 10
02-01 — John Bailey, Uncasville, Connecticut, TKO 7

11-22 — Arthur Cruz, Atlantic City, New Jersey, TKO 4
10-19 — Roy Delgado, Houston, Texas, TKO 6
08-24 — Peter Nieves, Atlantic City, New Jersey, W 10
07-05 — Michael Davis, Laredo, Texas, W 10
04-27 — Nelson Ramon Medina, Uncasville, Connecticut, W 8
02-15 — Juan Carlos Juarez, Houston, Texas, W 8

11-10 — Rudolfo Lunsford, Houston, Texas, W 4
09-01 — Ubaldo Hernandez, El Paso, Texas, W 8
07-27 — Scott Buck, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, TKO 1
06-23 — John Trigg, Uncasville, Connecticut, W 6
05-19 — Carlos Horacio Nevarez, Uncasville, Connecticut, KO 1
03-02 — Mahan Washington, Las Vegas, Nevada, W 6
01-13 — Bradley Jensen, Uncasville, Connecticut, W 6

12-01 — Michael Lucero, Las Vegas, Nevada, W 6
11-10 — Antonio Young, Las Vegas, Nevada, TKO 2
09-22 — Starr Johnson, Houston, Texas, TKO 3
09-02 — Juan Carlos Alvarez, Mexicali, Mexico, TKO 1
07-22 — Miller Vazquez, Mexico City, Mexico, KO 1
06-23 — Rafael Ortiz, Yucatán, Mexico, TKO 1

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