Two former world titlists, Juan Diaz and Mike Alvarado are ready to make their returns in a couple weeks on a UniMas-televised card on March 19th. The two men will lace 'em up in Houston, TX at the Arena Theater after both being out of action for more than a year.
Juan Diaz (40-4, 19 KOs), a former unified lightweight champion, will go up against Fernando Garcia (30-7-2, 19 KOs) of Mexico. Their bout is scheduled as a 10-round lightweight match. Denver's Mike Alvarado (34-4, 23 KOs) will face another Mexican fighter in Saul Corral (19-6, 10 KOs), which will be a scheduled 8-round welterweight bout that will kick off the telecast.
Diaz, 32, was known as a fan-friendly fighter who retired in 2010 after losing his second fight Juan Manuel Marquez. He ended his retirement in 2013 and reeled off five consecutive wins, albeit against pedestrian opposition, until a rotator cuff injury forced him to be on the sidelines for all of 2015.
"It was a serious rotator cuff injury that caused the long layoff and this is the first step back," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com. "He's hoping to regain the momentum he had before the layoff when he was on the verge of a world title shot. Diaz is ready to go. He feels 100 percent. He's really amped up to get back in the ring and get this going again. Because the fight is in Houston, there's more motivation for him to perform as best as he can. The place holds about 3,500 and I think we'll be full, and Diaz has always loved to fight at home."
Mike Alvarado, 35, is another action fighter who has been in some seriously good fights. But for the past few years, the fights that have been really good for the fans haven't been so good for Alvarado, as he's taken some hellacious punishment in last five fights, winning only one of them. Alvarado is now riding a three-fight losing streak where he's been stopped twice. Alvarado hasn't fought since getting blown out by Brandon Rios during their rubber match in January 2015.
"[Alvarado's] issues were outside the ring, not an injury like Diaz had," Moretti said. "But all indications are that he's taken care of them and he's been in the gym. We've had no calls or reason to doubt him. He's stayed on the straight path and he knows he has a lot to prove to himself and to his fans. This is the first step to doing that."
The outside of the ring issues were primarily related to drugs and alcohol, not to mention a number of run-in's with the long arm of the law. But Alvarado has owned-up to his past indiscretions and says he's changed his life for the better, hoping to regain form.