“People are going to say that Castillo would be the harder opponent, but I think he would be easier than Levander Johnson.”
Before the powers-that-be were done pointing fingers at who was to blame for the collapse of the March 5th Jose Luis Castillo-Diego Corrales fight this past weekend, IBF champ Julio “the Kidd” Diaz was being penciled in to take over “Chico’s” spot for Castillo’s WBC title. With “the Kidd” already slated to take on Levander Johnson in less than three weeks, BoxingTalk spoke with Diaz Sunday night to get his take on the matter, and clarification on whom exactly he will be fighting next.
BoxingTalk: Your name was mentioned this past weekend about fighting Jose Luis Castillo. Can you tell on us what exactly you have heard on this matter?
Julio Diaz: It’s kind of surprising actually. I pretty much know what everyone else knows, which have just been rumors. My promoters at Sycuan Ringside called me and told me just to keep it in mind, and that a fight with Castillo might happen.
BT: If you were to fight Castillo it would take place on March 5th. What would happen with your February 11th bout against Levander Johnson?
JD: It would either be Johnson or Castillo. It wouldn’t be both. As of now, I’m getting ready for Levander Johnson, and that’s all I have in my mind. I don’t want to get distracted from fighting Johnson or get out of my plan because I’m thinking about Castillo. Right now I have a date, and I have to be there. Until I see some proof that a Castillo fight is going to happen then we’ll go from there, but right now it’s just talk. I pretty much am ignoring it right now and staying focused on my scheduled fight with Johnson.
BT: When do you expect to hear some sort of certainty on fighting Castillo?
JD: I should know by today (Monday) or Tuesday. Everyone will be back in the office, and a lot of decisions will have to be made soon. I’ve been hearing that I might have to leave my title if I take on Castillo. That’s a big decision. I already know what I went through in order to get the title, and just to leave it like that would be a tough decision.
BT: From what you know about the IBF, do you feel they would strip you of your title if you decided to face Castillo?
JD: Yeah, from what I understood from my promoter we would try to get an extension for March in order to put Levander aside, and then work a deal with him if he moves the fight. Something like that is what I understood.
BT: I know Showtime was talking about your fight with Castillo being a title unification bout. Which means you would obviously need your IBF belt for that to happen…
JD: …Hopefully I will have my title when I face Castillo. That would be like a dream, that would be perfect, but it’s just a matter if it will come true. I would love to show up and have my title, and put it on the line against Castillo’s title. I know Levander will put up a battle, and bug the hell out of us, but I don’t blame him. He is there for an opportunity.
BT: Would you be willing to give Levander some money to step aside in order to take on Castillo?
JD: That would be my promoter’s job. I’m sure if it came down to it they would do something like that, or they could talk about me taking on Castillo and then giving Johnson a chance for the first defense.
BT: You personally have had a lot of your fights, even title fights, get cancelled for situations like this. How do you rationalize doing the same thing to Johnson?
JD: It’s really messed up. I mean, I’ve never cancelled on a fight in my life, so I don’t know what to say right now. It’s a business move, but in all honesty, since this has all just happened, I’m not really ready to answer that question. I feel I don’t have the right answer, because even I don’t have the answers yet.
BT: I understand. Let me ask you this then, who do you want to fight? You have been scheduled to fight Levander Johnson, but now you are being mentioned to fight Castillo. If it was entirely up to you, who would you decide to take on?
JD: I would definitely want to fight Castillo. Money hasn’t been discussed yet, but if they offered the same money for fighting either Johnson or Castillo I would definitely go with Castillo. People are going to say that Castillo would be the harder opponent, but I think he would be easier than Levander Johnson. I would have no problem with Castillo. Two years ago I was going to fight Castillo, and then I was an undefeated prospect. I was being offered change, so it wasn’t about the money. In fact, Castillo didn’t even have the title when I was challenging him. But I want to fight Castillo because I know I would get a lot of credit for it. I like it when people say that I’m no danger for Castillo. I want that satisfaction of beating him. It would be an easy fight.
BT: Why would taking on Castillo be easier than fighting Johnson?
JD: Because the hype of fighting Castillo, which is a fight I always wanted. I am so close to proving my point after all these years to him and all his people, and I wouldn’t even have to train. I would just perform at my best. When the competition is there, I automatically perform at my best. I’m not saying that Levander Johnson is any less of a fighter, he’s just a different name, and it’s about the credit I’d get. It just pumps me up more to hear Castillo’s name than Johnson’s. If you look at my record, every fighter who has supposedly been a danger and when I was expected to lose, I won easy by knockout, against undefeated people in their hometown. They were young and strong, and no matter what I won all of them because I performed at my best, because the competition was there. I love it when they say it will be hard for me to win. When some says that I might lose, that’s when I perform at my best.
BT: What would be the greatest satisfaction for you taking on Castillo?
JD: That I’m a truer fighter. I’m in a different level now, and I have always been like that. I have always trained with strong fighters, and I have matured in the ring, and I want to prove that. No matter how I look on TV or how you think I might look in the ring, only the fighters that are in there with me will know and feel it. That’s why they can’t beat me.
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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