Juan ‘Babybull’ Diaz: I was a 170lb businessman, now I’ll be champ again!
Back from a three-year absence and looking refreshed in his comeback win against Pipino Cuevas, Juan Diaz is intent on getting back in the lightweight mix as soon as possible.
The 29 year-old, who unified three title belts in the division six years ago, had taken time out of the sport after defeats to Juan Manuel Marquez and Paulie Malignaggi, but is now firmly embedded back into the boxing scene.
The Texan had become disillusioned with the fight game, concentrating on his desire to be somebody outside of the ring, although Diaz has now deferred his target on reclaiming the world championship he once possessed in the near future.
“When I retired three years ago I wanted nothing to do with boxing,” Diaz told World Boxing News
“I had lost the fire and passion for the sport and concentrated on graduating from the University of Houston Downtown with a political science degree. I then contemplated back and forth about attending law school or starting my own business and eventually decided to take a shot at the business world.
“I started my own trucking company and have a fleet of ten 18 wheelers and 10 hot shot trucks which I have successfully been overseeing. But I became bored of the day to day operations which it consisted of, with the long calls, lunches and meetings with customers after becoming your typical everyday business man.
“But boredom began to consume my life and I was not being challenged enough.”
An overwhelming majority of fight fans and experts had expressed their surprise that the obviously talented Diaz would even consider step away from boxing at just 26 and rumours have swirled constantly since that the ‘Babybull’ would return.
The truth was that Diaz had gotten way out of shape and had completely left the sport behind, until a different kind of office meeting changed the path of his future once more and reignited that burning desire to fight.
“I had my annual physical with my doctor three years after my retirement as I had gained a lot of weight,” explained Diaz.
“I tip the scales at a whooping 170 lbs, which wasn’t good for my cholesterol. The doctor recommended a lifestyle change and a vast improvement to my diet.
“I then thought to my self; ‘man the only way I lost weight for years was boxing’ and that’s when I called my strength and conditioning coach, Brian Caldwell
“We started working on my conditioning with two months of intense training and thereafter, we added some boxing. The boxing workout ignited a new flames in my heart and every punch I threw motivated me more and more to come back to boxing.
“I then talked to my boxing trainer Derwin Richards and told him, I was thinking about returning. He was very supportive and happy for me to consider the possibility of returning to the ring.
“I then begun working with him for three months to see if I still had what is needed to become champ again and after three weeks, he was certain that I had not lost a beat and that I could be champion again.
“My final process was talking to my family, the hardest part for me because when I retired the first time my mom was delighted and I knew telling her would be hard for her to accept. I had a long family meeting with my mom, dad and brother and after a few hours of intense negotiations, my mom gave me the blessing to return.
“I then made the decision to come back and do what I love; which is to box and I plan of becoming a world champion again. Believe me, I am back for the long haul!”
The two-time world title holder making a seemless comeback after three years is one thing, but to return to same weight division that he successfully competed at in what is considered his hey day is a remarkable feat in itself.
Diaz is probably just a couple of fights away from being considered for challenges against the likes of Ricky Burns and Richard Abril, which is just where the talented fighter wants to be after taking just six rounds to record his first win in four years in April.
“I will become a world champion, but not just a world champion. I want be better than before and become an even greater world champion.
“I am focused on winning and then whoever is the champion at 135 lbs – that is who I want and I thank the fans who have followed my career and continue to support me,” added Diaz.
With WBC champion and undoubted world’s best at lightweight, Adrien Broner moving up to 147lbs, Diaz is a welcome addition to the ranks and it surely won’t be long until he works his way into contention for another title chance.