JOHN MARTINEZ, Boxingrealm.com: A proposed unification bout is rumored to be taking place on October 13 on HBO’s Boxing After Dark series pitting WBA/WBO lightweight king Juan Diaz against IBF champion Julio Diaz. The fight has all the credentials for being a candidate for “ Fight of The Year” and will know doubt solidify bragging rights for the victor. I spoke with Julio moments ago and asked him to size up his opponent and speak about what this fight means to him professionally and personally..
JM: Julio talk a little bit about what you were going through mentally while waiting for a big name fight to come your way?
JD: Man, we were waiting and waiting for a good fight and then all the guys that we wanted went their own way and that left me alone in the dark with no scheduled fights and no hope. But now, I’ve got Juan and I’m in a fight that now is gonna put me in the upper levels of boxing. I was so frustrated all this time but now I’m in a big fight that’s gonna take me to another level. This fight is gonna make me or break me.
JM: Despite having a stellar performance against then titlist Jesus Chavez and becoming champion along with a solid ring record to boot, why do you believe that you haven’t gained the recognition that you deserve so far?
JD: That’s a good question. You know it’s a sad situation for me because everybody was saying “ well he wasn’t a 100 percent with his messed up knee and he was smaller than you” and I just think that with this fight I’m gonna show everybody who I am and I’m gonna give everything I got in order to beat Juan. You know everybody wants to talk about Jesus’ problems, but nobody wants to see how good I really was that night.
JM: What does this fight mean to you and what are your thoughts on Juan?
JD: Well first off, Juan is the hot one in the division right now and he’s undefeated. I respect him a lot. This fight is big for me because with this win, I’ll be known and I’ll be the one featured on HBO and in boxing magazines. Juan could’ve fought anyone out there, but instead he chose me and I give him all the respect for that.
You know, I really respect Juan a lot. I can relate to him as far as why he’s boxing and where he came from you know? I’ve seen his Mom and family in the front row of his fights and I can relate to that because I have my Mom and family with me ringside too. We’re just two young guys trying to make it not for us, but to help our families.
JM: Julio, what are you prepared to do in this upcoming fight in order to gain the victory and unify the titles?
JD: I’m looking to put on a great performance especially since its HBO. I am definitely willing to give up all my advantages against Juan to get that win and give the fans what they want. I could easily outbox him because I know I have the tools to do that easy, but I want to go to war with him. I don’t want this to be a boring fight for the fans or HBO. I’d rather give a great war and lose than me be in a boring fight and a get a victory.
JM: What does this fight mean to you on a personal level?
JD: Well you know, I’ve been fighting for so long and have never crossed over into the “big name” level of boxing you know? My brothers have been fighting a long time too and they never got to the big time either. Now all their hopes are falling on me for this fight to take the Diaz name to that next level. I’ve dedicated my whole life to boxing and it’s all I got. Juan, he has something to fall back on. He’s dedicated himself to his books and boxing, but what happens to him when he has to show his true heart? He can say ‘ oh well, I’ll just go back to my books” where as for me, this is all I got so I’m gonna pull two hearts out of me and I’m going to give it more and more.
All I’ve ever wanted was to take the big challenges that were going to cause me the most trouble. I never wanted the easy way to success. I could’ve taken a few easy fights after winning the title, but what would that have done for me and my career? With just this one fight against Juan, this will do more for my career and my family than 20 title defenses would’ve done for me in a lifetime and the same for Juan Diaz too. He could’ve taken easier fights but he knows that he wants that challenge just like me, and he don’t want fight no one easy, he’s got a warriors spirit and he wants to earn that title just like me.