Former lightweight titlist Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz is set to make his return to the ring, as he'll headline a Fox Sports Golden Boy card on April 13 from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Diaz, 29, last fought in July 2010, when he lost a wide decision to Juan Manuel Marquez in a rematch that failed to live up to their 2009 Fight of the Year, which Marquez won by ninth round TKO. Between the Marquez fights, Diaz fought Paulie Malignaggi on two occasions, winning a very controversial decision in Texas that was so memorable that Dan Rafael still makes terrible jokes about it, and losing a clear decision in Chicago the second time.
The last clear, undisputed win for Diaz (35-4, 17 KO) came in 2008, when he beat Michael Katsidis, following Diaz's first career loss to Nate Campbell. The Houston native was set to return in summer of 2011 on ESPN Friday Night Fights, but had a change of heart, and announced his retirement instead.
Here's what he said at the time about that decision:
"While boxing, I maintained a full-time academic schedule, graduating from high school and earning my college degree from the University of Houston. I’ve always thought of myself as a student first, and a boxer second, and I am just as proud of my academic achievements as I am of my boxing accomplishments. Along the way, I promised my family and myself that I would retire from boxing as soon as the time was right. So, even though my heart still has the fire to compete, the wars in the ring have taken their toll and it’s time for me to make good on that promise."
Two years later, he's coming back to the sport that made him famous and at least a little bit rich. It's not really a surprising move, because we're talking about a fighter still in what should be his prime years. This isn't Shane Mosley or Roy Jones Jr insisting they should go on, clearly far past their expiration date. While it's perhaps likely that Diaz has peaked in boxing, at his age, a three-year rest and a return that avoids rushing into anything major could work out pretty well.
Cuevas (16-9, 14 KO) can punch, but that's about it. He's about as close in ability to his father, the great Pipino Cuevas, as Salvador Sanchez II is to his uncle. All nine of Cuevas' losses have come by stoppage. He last fought in November, losing in two rounds to Artemio Reyes.