Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Baby Bull Prepares for The Magic Man

Juan "The Baby Bull" Diaz and Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi ham it up at the press conference to announce their upcoming fight.

Former world lightweight champion Juan Diaz is currently in hard training for his fight against Paulie Malignaggi that will take place on Aug. 22 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

It is a crossroads bout featuring the former world lightweight champion in Diaz and a former super lightweight belt-holder in Malignaggi. Both fighters are using the fight to to resurrect themselves after recent losses (Malignaggi to Ricky Hatton and Diaz to Juan Manuel Marquez) but for his part Diaz says he is ready to return.

“I went back to the gym three weeks after the Marquez fight,” said Diaz. “I went and did some light stuff, shadowboxing, running and stuff like that. I feel good. I lost to a fighter that is going to one day be in the hall of fame and if you're in boxing long enough, chances are you'll probably lose at one time or another.”

Diaz, 25, who has a record of 34-2, 17 KOs doesn't seem as though the loss to Marquez, which will be a candidate for the fight of the year, has had much of an effect on him. “The biggest thing hurt on me was my pride,” he says. “I got knocked out for the first time in my career but my spirits are high. I'm not down about it [the loss] because I gave it everything I had. I got caught and that was that. I felt as though I was winning the fight going into the ninth round, but those thing happen in boxing.”

Even though he was battered against Marquez, Diaz was not broken. Here he cracks a smile for the press after suffering his first knockout loss.

In Malignaggi, Diaz will be faced with a savvy, light punching, slickster who will bring a record of 26-2, 5 KOs into the ring. In fact, Malignaggi has only scored one knockout in the past seven years, but Diaz sees strength in his opponent and he looks beyond his paltry knockout number.

“He has a great style, really. He's a great boxer, counter-puncher and he moves around the ring a lot. I see a very awkward fighter,” said Diaz. “They don't consider him a big puncher, but sometimes it's different when you're in the ring. People don't consider me a big puncher either, but I've been in there with the best and I've been able to back them up, so...but the thing about me is that I come ahead and apply pressure and I think that is going to slow him down and I think that will be the key thing in me winning.”

Diaz notes he has stayed in good shape since the Marquez fight which took place in February. He indicated that he doesn't like his weight to get too high and that he does a variety of exercises from swimming to weight-lifting to roadwork even when he doesn't have a fight scheduled. However, one aspect of his game that Diaz says he has been concentrating on is getting hit less.

“I've gone back to the basics in some respects,” he says. “I've been working on my defense and my movement and just trying to become an all-round boxer. But I'm recovered now and I'm ready to get back in the ring.”

July 2009

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