Exclusive Interview with Juan ‘Baby Bull’ Diaz
Before Juan Diaz became one of the youngest lightweight champions in history no one doubted that he was an exciting fighter who produced highly entertaining bouts for his hometown fans in Houston. However, few could have imagined that two months shy of his twenty-first birthday he would easily man handle such a tough veteran as thirty-two year old Lakva Sim.
Even Diaz caught himself off guard.
“Actually I was really surprised. I thought it was gonna be a closer fight. A lot of people had never really seen me box and I never really had a lot of confidence in my boxing but in the Sim fight he forced me to box because he was so aggressive, and I learned that I could use my boxing skills and not have to go in there and just throw punches.”
And did any of those bone crunching power shots that Sim was able to land in the fight faze ‘Baby Bull’?
“Not that I can recall. Not one.”
Now, a little more than three months after his magnificent victory, Diaz will enter the ring once again on November 4th in San Antonio, Texas against another tough veteran in Frenchman, Julien Lorcy 56-3-2 (40).
“Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of films on him. This will be a little different from the Sim fight because Sim was a real aggressive fighter so I had to use my boxing skills but with Lorcy he tends to go back whenever you put pressure on him so for this fight we’ve been working on applying a lot of pressure.”
Will it be of any concern to Diaz that Lorcy has never been decisively beaten in any of his 61 professional fights?
“No it doesn’t concern me, because I fought Lakva Sim and I consider him one of the best fighters in the lightweight division. He was a two-time champion and I beat him. So that gave me a lot of confidence in myself and I know that if I train hard I can be in there with those top guys.”
Business as usual for a world champion who just over a month ago reached the legal drinking age.
So will Diaz try to make a statement by being the first man to stop the rugged Frenchman?
“No I wont. I’m gonna go in there and use my jab and my boxing skills and if the knockout comes then I’ll take it and if it doesn’t then its just another victory over a top guy.”
If Diaz gets past Lorcy, surely he’ll have his eye on another belt, but the Houston native knows he will have his work cut out for him.
“You got Castillo who is a real strong puncher, you got Corrales who is also a really strong puncher and you have Julio Diaz who is a real good boxer. Those would all be pretty tough fights for me. I’ll probably take two more fights and then fight another champion in late 2005.”
Pretty impressive talk from a kid who is balancing his time in the sport with a full course load at the University of Houston. How has superstardom affected his academic life?
“Not much. On a regular basis I live a normal life. I go to school and study. The students there see me as a superstar and when I walk down the hall they say there goes Juan Diaz so it’s not hard to make friends anymore” he says chuckling like, well…a school kid. “But you never know in boxing. Right now I’m the champion. Tomorrow it might be someone else. I might break my leg or my hand so boxing is never guaranteed and school is.”
With so many young phenom fighters succumbing to obvious distractions or running into problems with the law how has Diaz been able to maintain his focus and excel in his personal life?
“Everything comes from my parents. They’re the ones that always keep me focused and they always tell me that school comes first and money’s not everything. As long as you’re dedicated and respectful to other people that’s all that matters.”
So how does one sum up this dedicated college student and WBA lightweight champion they call ‘Baby Bull’? One word comes to mind. Hero.
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