By Andreas Hale
Juan Diaz: “I didn’t think this fight would happen after the two fights with Malinaggi but here I am with this great opportunity….I’m taking full advantage of the situation and I’m training my butt off. My intensity is increasing and my sparring partners are feeling it….I know that the game plan I had in the 1st fight was working. It was really close and I had the edge but what I deviated from was when Ronnie said to apply the same amount of pressure. I kept up the pressure but I was leaving myself wide open to uppercuts. I was stubborn, kept pushing forward and squaring up. That’s what led to me losing the fight… What Marquez does well is that he thinks every second of the fight. What you hit him earlier with, you won’t catch him with later…I actually think that Marquez was slowing down in the later rounds. Once I got cut, it was like a lion who pounced on the prey. I think it energized Marquez and helped him out. If I didn’t get cut, I think it would be a different story.”
(On his future whether or not he wins the fight)
“I consider this a win/win situation. This fight is going to prove to me whether I have it or I don’t. This is what’s going to take me to the top in the lightweight division. If it doesn’t happen then its not meant to be and I can move on to bigger and better things. I don’t think it is a do or die fight. It’s either become a champion or it opens up doors to focus on other aspects of my life?
“I’m not going to close any doors. I’m only 26. If my plan is to continue fighting after this fight then that’s what I’ll do. If it’s not the best thing to do, I won’t be stubborn. I have a college degree and I’m smart enough to know not to chase a dream that’s not going to materialize.”
(On whether or not his other ventures affect his hunger in boxing)
In order for me to be successful in all of those aspects of life I have to be hungry. The doors that have opened for me have been because of boxing and world champ. All of the activities I do are because of boxing and because I’ve been a world champion.
I’m hungry for this fight because I want to win it.
Ronnie Shields: “We have to make some adjustments and that’s what we are doing right now. Our gameplan is the same. We have to do it in a way that benefits Juan. I think we definitely will have the benefit by applying pressure and Juan will have to use his boxing skills also.”
“Marquez is such a smart guy. We have to outsmart him. I think Juan has the capability to do that in the rematch.”
“I think Juan took a lot out of Marquez by the way he pushed the fight. Marquez is going to have to keep up with our pace. I feel that Juan’s jab is going to play a key role in the fight.”