It's no surprise after two mixed bag performances near the junior welterweight limit against Paulie Malignaggi, but Juan Diaz says he's going back to lightweight.
BoxingScene.com: You just had two fights close to junior welterweight limit. Are you looking to go back down to lightweight?
Juan Diaz: I am definitely not going to fight at junior welterweight again. I am going to go back down to lightweight. I feel like I have better chance there against the stronger guys. If you look at Paulie's career we know he has always been the smaller guy when he fights. In these two fights he looked like the much bigger guy. I feel that my size and fighting skills would be a lot better at lightweight instead of junior welterweight.
He's right, of course, and it's exactly what he should do. Honestly, I don't know why people were ranking him as a junior welterweight at all. He never gave any impression he really wanted to fight at that weight. If he had wanted to fight there, he wouldn't have pressed for catchweights of 138.5 and 139 for the two Malignaggi fights. The only 140-pound fighter they called out was Ricky Hatton, felt by many to be severely damaged goods, and also known by everyone (including Diaz) to be a major money opponent.
Diaz also considers his options at 135:
BoxingScene.com: Is there anyone in particular you are looking to fight at lightweight?
Juan Diaz: We have Juan Manuel Marquez who would be my number one pick. There is also Michael Katsidis and a lot of other great fighters in the lightweight division.
BoxingScene.com: What about Joel Casamayor or a chance to avenge your loss with Nate Campbell now that it looks like he is signing with Golden Boy?
Juan Diaz: You have Joel Casamayor and Guzman as well who is under Golden Boy. There are a lot of big names out there I would definitely love to fight. There are two guys out there that I haven't beat that I have fought and Marquez and Campbell are those guys. I would love to avenge either one of those losses.
Of the five guys mentioned here, he's already fought three of them, and one of them is for sure not stepping below 140 again (Campbell) because he just can't. Casamayor is also campaigning at 140 now, or at least that was his stated intention upon his lackluster November return to the ring. Casamayor looked rusty and slow at the weight against a really inferior but game opponent, and his manager did say just before that bout that if something came up at 135, they could still make the weight. Diaz-Casamayor would be somewhat interesting at least.
Marquez-Diaz II would be a rematch of one of the best fights of 2009, so of course I'd welcome it. They were dynamite together. And I actually think I'd like to see Diaz-Katsidis II, as well. That was the worst performance of Katsidis' career by far, as too much of the fight was spent with him just standing there. He tried to box Diaz, which wound up being a really predictable and huge mistake. Though Diaz isn't the best pure boxer, he's sure as hell better at it than the lumbering Katsidis. Katsidis with the right gameplan could make a very exciting fight (which we expected the first time and didn't get) and give Juan some real trouble. He's tremendously strong.
Maybe the most interesting thing, though, is that Juan says he doesn't want to fight in Houston again:
Well after all the controversy with the first fight with Malignaggi and all the talk about the judges I really wouldn't want to fight in Houston. I feel that once a fighter comes down to Houston to fight against me everyone is going to assume that the judges are going to be against him and show me favoritism. Instead of helping me it might hinder me with the judges and the referees. If it's up to me I am not fighting in Houston. It all depends on what my manager and Golden Boy want to do.