By Chris Robinson
Typically, when a trainer scores the biggest victory of his career, it is a time to celebrate and soak everything in. That certainly hasn’t been the case for Joel Diaz.
On June 9th, Diaz led unbeaten Timothy Bradley into battle inside of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as they attempted to snatch the WBO welterweight crown from Manny Pacquiao. After twelve tough rounds, Bradley would indeed emerge with a split-decision victory but there has been a severe amount of backlash that has come with his win.
And it is that exact criticism that has spoiled the moment for the Indio, Calif.-based trainer.
“It hasn’t been fun,” Diaz would tell me on Thursday evening. “I’m just isolated from everything. I just try to mind my own business and be on my own.”
Continuing to open up on the subject, Diaz’s frustrations begin to truly resonate.
“There’s no way we can enjoy a victory like that,” stated Diaz. “It sucks because we did our job and at the end of the day, it wasn’t our fault. In my mind, beating Manny Pacquiao in Vegas, the biggest boxing icon, it was going to be hard. They gave us the decision and we’re being attacked, even death threats. All I can say is this; at the end of the fight I was happy with my fighter’s performance. To me, that was a win.”
Perhaps it is the fact that Diaz has been one of the few men to stick with Bradley throughout his entire professional career and witness his sacrifice along the way. Maybe it’s the fact that he is protective of somebody he has grown to care for over the years.
No matter how you cut it, there’s no cheering up Diaz at the moment and he admits that boxing is the furthest thing from his mind, even pointing out that Bradley and him have not yet discussed their future.
“Nobody gives us the credit,” Diaz would explain. “A lot of people are saying that we didn’t win. Timothy’s a champion, they gave him the belt, but it doesn’t feel like it. I run into people and even though they gave us the support, I just hate the fact that they say ‘Hey, congratulations, it wasn’t your fault’. You never hear ‘Congratulations, you guys did a great job’. Maybe one out of ten times I hear that.
“But we won the fight, the judges saw Bradley winning and it was hard beating Manny Pacquiao there,” Diaz added. “I just think that Timothy did his job. He didn’t get beat up like people expected him to. People never thought Timothy was going to survive the fight.”