Juan Diaz Sees Fight With Katsidis As “Do Or Die” For His Credibility

juan diaz03.07.08 - By John Martinez, - In a Houston gym that felt as hot and humid as the daily temperature outside was, there was a workman like volley of punches in rapid succession finding their way onto at first a speed bag and then a heavy bag. The man responsible for the quick, rhythmic snare drum sounds on the speed bag and thudding shots to the heavy was none other than the former ruler of the lightweight division, Juan Diaz (33,1,17 KO’s).

We found Diaz in the midst of his preparations for his next assignment scheduled on September 6 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas against the very dangerous and always entertaining fighter, Michael Katsidis (23,1, 20KO’s).

The young boxer that has already experienced success in the squared circle has taken that approach to the classroom as well.. Despite having to train for a very risky opponent and in what could be a “make or break” fight for him, the former champion spent most of the morning taking his final exam in criminal justice.

Juan is coming off the experience of losing for the first time in his storied career when he saw his belts go to the current IBF and WBO lightweight champion Nate Campbell via a split decision.

Diaz said that looking back on the Campbell fight, he felt that his loss was a mixture of Nate’s skill and outside pressures leading up to the fight: especially with his very public contractual dispute with his former promoter Don King.

He said that his “ head wasn’t in the fight because of everything that Don was doing.”

“He (Don) put out 24x30 signs at the press conference saying that I stole money from him and that I was this and that and it was our last fight and it was a lot for me.”

Diaz also admitted that he didn’t expect Campbell to be so aggressive and effective as he was that night and that he failed in listening to his corner’s instruction.

“ I thought Campbell was going to come out and I would pressure him and he’d box me. But it didn’t work that way and he came right at me. I didn’t listen to my corner like I usually do either.

They kept telling me to box more and be patient, but I didn’t. They are the one’s that can see better than I can about what is going on in there. They can see it from a different angle from the outside and I’ve learned to listen from now on to Ronnie (Shields) and my corner and what they are telling me.”

Diaz sees his date with Katsidis as a “do or die” situation in regards to his boxing career.

“You know we both need a win. It’s kind of like a ‘do or die’ situation for Katsidis and myself even though we’re both great fighters. But both of us are coming off a loss and we need a win to reestablish ourselves at the lightweight division.”

“I think that a loss would set me back even more than the Campbell fight did. Another loss would take away my credibility and really hurt me.”

As we close out a year of boxing for 2008, many potentially explosive brawls are on the schedule. The Diaz/Katsidis fight is one of those fights that many believe is on the short list for possible “fight of the year”.

According to Diaz, he plans on testing the Australian puncher all night and if this is true, then this fight is a must see.

“I know that he’s (Katsidis) very aggressive. You know, a lot of these guys haven’t been taken to the limit and when we’re in that situation I’m going to test him.”

“I’m going to see if he can go toe to toe with me for twelve rounds. I know that I can go twelve.

I also know that I know how to box and that my conditioning is one of my biggest advantages too.”

“So I’m going to test him and see if he can go toe to toe for twelve rounds and if that doesn’t work, then I’ll just box him.”

With all the impending implications of the outcome in Diaz’s next fight, his demeanor was calm and focused, much like the approach that he took heading into his final exam.

Maybe that’s why he was able to ace his criminal justice test that morning as he informed me.

With one test conquered in the classroom, you can bet that the gleam in Diaz’s eye as he worked the heavy bag was also telling the on lookers that he won’t fail his test on September 6 either.

As a matter of fact, he’s doing his homework now to score another “A” that night.

Article posted on 04.07.2008

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