Interview by Byron Spurlock
“I’m not going to let him use his little tricks with tying me and trying to slip punches and throw some weird counter-punches; I’m going to bring the action to him, so this should make for a good fight.”—Juan Diaz
Former lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz (34-2, 17 KOs) spoke to FightNews earlier this week as he finished his preparations for his showdown against Brooklyn native and former junior welterweight champ Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (26-2, 5 KOs) this Saturday.
Diaz talked about why he chose Malignaggi, what the fight against Marquez has meant to him, and who he wants to fight next.
How has camp been coming along for your up and coming fight this Saturday?
Things have been great, I’ve had great sparring partners, and they have been a big part of my preparations for this upcoming fight. I normally use two sparring partners, but this time we used three and it has made a lot of difference getting ready.
You suffered a tough knockout loss in your last fight against Marquez. What went into the decision to face another tough fighter like Malignaggi in your first fight back?
The reason why is that I’m a young guy right now and a lot of what happens in the ring is in the fighters head; meaning it’s the fighter thinking too much about what happened last to them. A lot of guys once they get their first loss or they get knocked out for the first time, it’s all in the head about what just happened to them.
What I had to realize is that I’m in a sport of pain, where we get paid to stop the other guy whether that comes by knockout or decision. You learn to deal with that, that you’re going to get hurt, you’re going to get beat, and if you fight long enough you might even get knocked out, but so what. We are boxers and that’s the sport we are in, you have to just get up and keep fighting.
I will give you an example. In my fight against Nate Campbell, I got beat up probably the worst that I have ever been since being a pro. Even in my last fight I wasn’t beat up as bad as my fight against Campbell. But if you look at what happened since then I came back and beat Katsidis for the lightweight IBO title, (then) I lost against a legendary fighter in Juan Manuel Marquez and now I’m going to come back and I will beat Malignaggi. The reason for Malignaggi is that I’m twenty-five years old right now and I’ve been preparing for a lot of world title shots. If I had faced someone that wasn’t ranked that high or didn’t have that much experience or didn’t have a name in the sport, I might not have been motivated that much to train hard and sweat every day.
How have you perceived by the fans since the loss against Marquez?
Well, I believe that my last fight made me even more famous with the fans for I didn’t go in there and just give it up. Some fighters feel that if the fight isn’t going their way they sort of give up in the ring. I didn’t do that, I gave it all that I had in the ring, and I wanted to show the fans a great fight and that is what they got. When I step into the ring, I’m in there to have a good time and not worry about anything else.
Talk about your awkward opponent in Malignaggi.
Well, I think what we have here is two fighters that have different styles coming into this fight and that is good for something to happen. He is a boxer and I consider myself a boxer too, but I’m going to bring the action to him, so I guess that makes me the brawler. I’m not going to let him use his little tricks with tying me and trying to slip punches and throw some weird punches; I’m going to bring the action to him, so this should make for a good fight.
Are you looking past Malignaggi?
I’m going to be honest………I’m looking past Malignaggi, because I don’t have anything to lose. I know that I’m going to beat him! The fight that I really want in boxing is a rematch against Juan Manuel Marquez. I feel that I was close in beating him the last time we fought. I know that coming close doesn’t get it done in boxing, but I know in my heart that I can beat him. No matter what the outcome of his fight against Mayweather is later this year, I want a rematch with Marquez!