What would prompt a champion to vacate his title after working so hard for the major hardware just to fight for another man’s belt? Simple, he wants to prove himself to the fight world and show that he is the man of the hour and he is willing to drop all in the process if need be to get the very chance to do so. Julio Diaz, 30-2 (22), will get that very chance to do the proving on March 5th as the main event only on Showtime at 9 pm ET/PT when he steps in the ring with Jose Luis Castillo, 51-6-1 (45), for Castillo’s WBC lightweight title at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo © German Villasenor
The talented twenty-five year old pugilist known as 'The Kid' started his career in 1999 and defeated twenty-three of his opponents stopping seventeen via knock out when he was matched up against Angel Manfredy in 2001 in an IBF lightweight title eliminator. For twelve rounds the two battled it out in the lightweight showdown but in the end Diaz would suffer his first career loss by split decision, thus setting him back a step or two from the IBF prize. Three years and six fights later Diaz would fight in another IBF eliminator but this time there would be no room for doubt. Julio stopped Courtney Burton in the eleventh round and just two months later he would win the title that he set out long ago for when he got the go ahead by majority decision over fight veteran Javier Jauregui, and this time he strapped on the IBF lightweight title. So why not defend the title Julio endured so much to strap on in the first place? Well, because he wants Castillo, that is plain and simple.
Is it a smart move?
If Diaz can pull off the upset he will be a hero, but if for some reason he can’t capitalize on his attempt it just adds fuel to the fire of the unbelievers. Certainly this is a ballsy move on the part of Diaz, and with Castillo being one tough son of a gun this will be a tremendously rigorous battle for the challenger. But battles are made for warriors and Diaz feels stronger than ever that he will successfully be the victorious warrior of the ring on March 5th. In an exclusive interview conducted by the Doghouse, Diaz gives his reasoning on his actions on the vacating the title as well as his thoughts on the Castillo match-up. Enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: How has your training been going for your upcoming bout against Castillo?
Julio Diaz: It’s going really good, I feel really strong and motivated and I already made weight, so I feel really strong.
BH: You know you really worked hard and went through a lot to get the IBF lightweight belt and now you have vacated it to fight Castillo. Why? Was it for the money, name recognition what exactly is it?
JD: No, it was just to prove myself, a lot of people ask me was it for the money, but I think that has been answered. I have tried to fight Castillo twice three years ago for chump change; I think I already answered that. I think he is the man right now and he is the man to beat, so pretty much I am fighting for his spot.
BH: You know if you win this bout you are the man, I mean you get the title and all the ones who maybe didn’t think it was a good idea for you to vacate the title will have to give you your respect, but if you lose, you know this will put you back on the building block. So with all this in your way do you or are you using it for motivation?
JD: Yeah definitely, because I have pretty much invested in this fight all of my accomplishments which is my world title, my dream, I’m going to make it be worth something.
BH: What do you see in Luis Castillo that you may be able to capitalize on or use against him in this bout?
JD: I just think he has had his time already and I am in my prime and I feel really strong and motivated, it’s really hard to break me I’m not a fighter that just goes out there and gets caught; I’m a warrior and I got heart and I got talent and I got power and speed and I am an intelligent boxer.
BH: What kind of fight are you anticipating on March 5th?
JD: A very exciting fight.
BH: Any predictions?
JD: Well, not really, it is a real risky fight for the both of us.
BH: Anything you would like to add to this or say in closing?
JD: I want to thank all the fans that watch me fight and come March 5th don’t blink.
I would like to thank Michael Marley and Lee Espinoza for their help on setting up this interview. I would also like to give out a big shout out to Julio Diaz for taking the time out of his dinner to sit and chat with the Doghouse, it is greatly appreciated.
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