MASHANTUCKET, Conn.—World Boxing Association lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz added the World Boxing Organization championship to his list of accomplishments tonight after Acelino “Popo” Freitas’s trainer Oscar Suarez threw in the towel during the one-minute break between the eighth and ninth rounds at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Juan Diaz: “I’m really happy to become a two-time world champion. I’m very elated right now. This was the biggest fight of my career but I have faced opponents who hit harder than Freitas did tonight. I took his best punches and gave back five or six when he got in two or three..
“My corner kept telling me to jab because it was effective but my inner-Mexican kept coming out.
“I was surprised he was willing to stay in there and fight with me as much as he did. I thought he would try to box me more. He hit me with some clean punches and I stepped back a few steps when he did but he never seriously hurt me.
“My ultimate goal is to unify all the lightweight titles. In the people’s eyes you’re not the champion until you have all the belts. That’s what I want to give them.
“I’m just a college student from Houston, Texas [University of Houston-Downtown]. I’m still a young champion. I still have a lot to learn.
“I want to thank Popo Frietas for giving me the opportunity to face one of the greatest champions in the world.
“I want to tell all kids to stay in school and listen to your parents. That’s what I did.”
Don King [Promoter of Juan Diaz]: “It looks like Juan Diaz might be the next Julio Cesar Chavez.”
Ronnie Shields [Head Trainer of Juan Diaz] “The whole game plan was to break down Freitas. The way to do that was for Juan to use his left jab to get close, and then bang to the body.
“When Juan got hit with a clean shot he came back and gave more than he got. Nothing demoralizes an opponent more than that. You can’t coach this into a fighter. It’s in the heart of all great champions. It’s embedded in Juan as part of his natural instincts and anyone he faces is going to have to deal with it.”