Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com reports this morning that former lightweight titleholder Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz is already in training, preparing for one last title chase.
Diaz's manager Willie Savannah says that the Houston fighter will look for notable opponents. Savannah mentioned Top Rank fighters Brandon Rios (specifically targeting Rios), Urbano Antillon and Humberto Soto, and Golden Boy's Michael Katsidis and Robert Guerrero.
Diaz's deal with Golden Boy that he signed in early 2008 ran through December 2010, so unless he re-upped with the firm, he's a free agent and can go where he wants. I have no doubt whatsoever that both Golden Boy and Top Rank would be interested in working something out with him. For one thing, he makes good fights, and for another thing, he's well-known. He's also very beatable and an old 27, which I think would be the real selling point for anyone looking to match him with their fighters. There is a lot of talent at 135 pounds these days, and Diaz's peak days are in the past. There aren't many notable lightweights I think he matches up well with anymore.
But it would be good to see him back. I've always liked Diaz and enjoyed watching him fight. I will say that he didn't look like himself in either of his last two fights, the rematch loss to Paul Malignaggi in December 2009 and last July's half-hearted effort against Juan Manuel Marquez in another rematch. In his last six fights, he's gone 2-4 and there are a lot of people who will say he's lucky it's not 1-5. The only convincing win he's had in that time period has been over Katsidis, who fought with one of the most bizarre gameplans in recent memory. He's also fought nothing but very good competition in that stretch, and that's worth noting, too.
Of all those guys mentioned above, the best matchup for him is definitely Katsidis, who himself is starting to look very shopworn. I know he put the screws to Kevin Mitchell last year, but in all candor, it was just Kevin Mitchell, who compared to Katsidis looked like a bantamweight. Outside of Katsidis, it's probably Guerrero, who now and again just doesn't show up. Rios and Antillon are too much physically for Diaz anymore, and Soto is probably just good.
I guess if I'm being realistic, I don't see a happy ending in terms of Diaz getting another big win. He kind of reached his ceiling early in his career and overall fell short of expectations, but I think time will be kind to him. He took good fights, had a Fight of the Year, had some good wins, was generally in a good scrap. But once the snowball started going down the hill, it picked up steam pretty fast for him.
Of the mentioned ideas, what's your favorite fight for Diaz, or is there someone else at 135 you'd like to see him fight?