"I'm more confident than ever!"
His battle against Jose Luis Castillo last month did not go exactly how he had planned, but after a well deserved break with his family, the former IBF lightweight champ Julio “the Kidd” Diaz is now motivated to get back in the ring to prove that he can still bang with the best of the lightweights. BoxingTalk spoke with Diaz recently to get his thoughts on returning to the ring in May on a Ringside by Sycuan card, and how his journey back to a championship title will be different then last time around.BoxingTalk: Julio, what’s the latest with you?
Julio Diaz: They have me scheduled for May 31st. I’ll be fighting near my hometown of Coachella, California. Everybody is really hyping me up over here.BoxingTalk: Would this be a comeback tune-up fight for you or are you wanting to take on someone in the top-ten rankings?
Julio Diaz: Actually, my promoter Ringside by Sycuan haven’t spoken to me about any opponent yet, they just mentioned the dates. They told me about it last Saturday, and I accepted the fight on Monday, and went back to the gym the same day. It’s time to get to work. My cuts have healed, and I want to stay busy. I will perform better when I stay busy.BoxingTalk: How have you been enjoying your time off?
Julio Diaz: I spent a lot of time with my kids and relax. I’m more motivated now to get back in the ring again.BoxingTalk: When I talked to you last, you told me that you could go through anything after having gone up against Castillo. Do you still feel that way?
Julio Diaz: Yeah, because for me Castillo was an oversized lightweight, and he has the most experience out of anybody. He knows all the tricks of the trades, and he knows everything there is to know. I felt I was fighting a “Hopkins.” Besides the cuts to my eye, I was never hurt by Castillo. None of his punches rocked me, and having watched the fight several times on video, I felt the fight was going good until my vision was impaired. I know what we did wrong in that fight. I know what to change, my corner knows what to change, and we’re going to give it another try. BoxingTalk: What do you feel you and your corner needs to change the most before your next fight?
Julio Diaz: That’s a very very hard question, in this case, because things were going well in the beginning, but then I wasn’t doing what I was told to do, what I was trained to do, and what I walked in there to do. After the head butts I got desperate, my eyes started swelling up, and I was losing my vision from the blood in my eyes. That’s why when I went down I banged my fist on the canvas. I was still alive, I was there, and I wasn’t hurt. I was just frustrated. I think my corner should have taken responsibility for the fact that I couldn’t see. I feel it is better for a corner to stop a fight then for a fighter to get knocked out.BoxingTalk: The cuts over you eyes did affect your performance…
Julio Diaz: Plus there were so many shots that Castillo was getting away with. The referee would say, “BREAK!” and I would follow the rules, but Castillo kept on punching, and they never took a point away. Now I know what to do in a fight like that. No more Mr. Nice Guy. I also knew that I wasn’t suppose to be there, and I don’t think the commentators gave me one round on TV. All they talked about was Castillo, Castillo. If you turn down the volume and watch the fight, it’s a total different fight.BoxingTalk: Did this fight with Castillo ever discourage you from coming back to the ring?
Julio Diaz: No way! That’s a very good question. I love that question, because if anything, this fight encouraged me more. I now know where I’m at, and now if I fight some of these younger guys coming up, I’ll be like the “Castillo” because I’ve went through the worst. I’ve gotten more confidence now, and I feel I can walk through anybody now.BoxingTalk: Until we see you in the ring next month, what would you like to tell your fans?
Julio Diaz: I’m still here, and I’m exactly in the same mentality that I was before. I’m coming back ever stronger, my fight with Castillo was a big learning experience that I had to go through, and I’m a better fighter for having gone through it.
BoxingTalk thanks Mr. Diaz for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him continued success both in and out of the ring.
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