Sharkie's Machine: "Baby Bull" Needs to Lose The Diapers

22.01.05 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr - Photo Gallery - Friday night in Houston Texas, WBA Lightweight Champion, Juan "The Baby Bull" Diaz (27-0-13 KO's) lost his Title Belt-but not in the ring. According to him, he left the Belt in his car, which was broken into by thieves who stole it along with his car stereo. But Diaz enjoyed defending his missing Belt anyway. On the menu was aged Canadian veteran, Billy Irwin (42-6-30 KO's), who offered himself up like a sacrificial lamb at a slaughterhouse.

36-year-old Billy Irwin's passive, defensive style enabled the furious punching Diaz to have his way with him. Irwin started each round boxing in the center of the ring, then worked his way to the ropes and just stood in one spot, trying to block and duck shots the entire round. He blocked a lot of Diaz' shots but he also ate lots of leather in the process..

Rarely did Irwin offer up much offense of his own but when he did, he usually landed. I wondered how Diaz would fare against the other Titleholders in the division, like Jose Luis Castillo, Diego Corrales or Julio Diaz.

In the second round, Irwin was downed from a Diaz left hand. After that, he continued to be outworked and outscored in every single round until the referee; Earl Morton finally stopped it midway into the ninth. Watching Diaz attack a heavy bag for nine rounds might have been more entertaining.

Diaz is all offense, always coming forward, punching to the body and the head, outworking and chasing down his carefully selected opponents. He's still young and has a lot to learn, particularly on defense, but because he owns a major Title, he needs to prove that he deserves such an honor. So far, he has not done that. Cherry picked opponents like Billy Irwin does nothing to enhance his stature as a Champion. If anything, it raises questions about his handler's confidence in his ability.

Irwin's style was tailor made for Diaz. He tends to be stationary and relies entirely on his defense, which consists of blocking and waiting for opportunities to counterpunch. Irwin fought this way in every round and never made any adjustments. It was the perfect recipe for maintaining Diaz' unbeaten record.

Before the fight, Irwin vowed that he was going to retire, win or lose, after taking on Juan Diaz. He went out with a bang-only it Diaz who did all the banging. It was kind of sad actually.

During the post fight interview, Irwin said he had been sick all week and thought he'd be able to fight through it. He admitted he felt weak during the fight.

This kind of match making makes me sick.

Billy Irwin is a good guy and I mean him no dishonor but how does a guy that's not even ranked in the top ten get a shot at a Title? It's unfair to the more deserving fighters who didn't get the opportunity Irwin got without earning it. It's not even as if Irwin had put a string of impressive victories together to justify a Title shot.

At 21-years-old, Juan Diaz' handlers are still treating him like a baby, feeding him Puppy Chow-even though he's the WBA Champion. I'd like to see Diaz step up and fight some of the top guys in the division, and answer the question of how he deals with adversity.

A few months ago, the IBF Lightweight Champ, Julio Diaz (absolutely no relation) had publicly issued a challenge to Juan Diaz-but the Baby Bull didn't answer the call. There are plenty of top-notch contenders at 135 that would be more entertaining match ups for Juan Diaz' camp to consider for his next TBA (To Be Announced) bout, scheduled for April 23rd.

Here are some recommendations: Juan Lazcano, Joel Casamayor, Carlos Hernandez, Javier Jauregui, Acelino Freitas, Aldo Rios or at least a Juan Valenzuela. These high quality fighters are more befitting opponents for a World Champion at 135-pounds. These legitimate contenders would bring bigger audiences, bigger bucks and greater respect to the Diaz camp. Beating any of those fighters would erase the idea that Juan Diaz is just a kid who got a lucky break fighting Lakva Sim, who happened to win the vacant WBA Title by beating a guy with a 17-3 record named Miguel Callist. By the way, Sim is currently ranked 25th in the World. Coincidence? I think not.

Agree or disagree? Comments can be emailed to

photos Carlos Kalinchuk

Article posted on 22.01.2005

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