By Chris Robinson
There are some things that will never leave a fighter.
Sure, father time always has a way of catching up with us and taking away our greatest physical assets but the temperament, will, and psyche of a boxer are things they carry with them from day one until the show is all over. When thinking of Chicago's David Diaz, there was one word that rose to the surface after our conversation on Wednesday afternoon; pride.
Diaz is currently being rumored as the next logical opponent for WBA and WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez but is being looked at as somewhat of a 'stay busy' type of fight while the Mexico City star eyes the real prize, a third fight with Manny Pacquiao this coming November in Las Vegas. The simple fact that Marquez is overlooking him seems to be the biggest intrigue for Diaz heading into the fight, as an upset over one of this generation's finest technicians is something he would relish.
Diaz is no stranger to tasting championship glory, having held the WBC lightweight title starting in August of 2006 with a come-from-behind knockout over Jose Armando Santa Cruz. Diaz would defend the title in a high-pitched battle with Erik Morales one year later before being systematically picked apart by Manny Pacquiao in June of 2008 inside of nine rounds at the MGM Grand.
While he has never gotten back to that same level dating back to his defeat at the hands of Pacquiao, at 34 years old a chance to pull an upset against Marquez is something that still motivates and pushes Diaz.
Continue reading below for Diaz's thoughts on a fight with Marquez, why he feels he would never be a tune up fighter for anyone, his memories from his battle with Pacquiao, and much more...
Facing Juan Manuel Marquez on July 2nd...
"It's just rumors. I haven't gotten the confirmation or anything like that. They haven't reached out to me or my manager. Right now it's just speculation. If it comes through I would be very happy and I would be looking forward to a great fight between Juan Manuel and I."
"I didn't catch his last fight with Katsidis but with Juan Diaz he looked phenomenal, he looked awesome. So I'm going to have to go back and check out that Katsidis fight and see what he did there. I still think the guy is a very dangerous fighter, a great champion, and has done a lot for boxing. It would be an honor to share the same ring with him."
Finding a way to defeat Marquez...
"To try and beat a technical fighter like that I guess you would have to smother his punches and not let him get off. So, just beating him to the punch is how I can explain to try to beat Juan Manuel Marquez. Not let him set up because he's such a technician and give him room to pick you apart, which he has done so well and he's done with a lot of fighters."
Marquez looking past him?
"Yeah, of course. I'm supposed to be a tune up fight or something like that, he said. But, you know what? I'm not a tune up fighter. I don't plan to be. And that night, if it does happen, it will be a very interesting night."
Reflecting on his June 2008 loss to Manny Pacquiao...Tags: Juan Manuel Marquez , David Diaz , Marquez vs Diaz , Marquez-Diaz
"For me, speaking on my experience with Manny Pacquiao, it was his speed. His speed was just something I've never experienced before. I can remember going back to the corner and the corner men where asking me if I was ok and I'm like 'Look, he doesn't hit hard but he throws a lot of punches'. And that was definitely it. I couldn't handle it. Most of the time when you get knocked out it's the punch you don't see coming and that's the one that got me."
Checking out Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley last weekend...
"Yeah, I saw his fight with Mosley. I thought Mosley was actually going to do more than what he did. You could see from the first round he was stepping back. He opened up a little bit but then in the third round I believe he was trying to make his move and then he just got caught. Once he felt that I believe his instincts of just surviving took over. Basically he was defeated after that third round to me."
Nothing but respect for Manny...
"The guy is trying to do everything from moving up from the minimum weight classes to 154 pounds and he's doing great. What can you say about someone like that? He's just doing an awesome thing for the sport."
What kind of style would defeat Pacquiao?
"I think it's a boxer. A boxer, definitely. I thought it was going to be Mosley in the sense that he was going to give him a challenge. But maybe if you take a younger guy with Mosley's type of boxing he would have been able to do it. But that's what I think, it's just a guy that doesn't come at Pacquiao as much and makes him come in. That's the key. Everybody has gone after him and we came up short. So maybe if we run away from him and box him it would be a different story."
Being WBC lightweight champion of the world...
"It was an awesome feeling. Winning the title alone was great but then defending it against Erik Morales and doing what I did with it, it was a good feeling for me. When you are boxing as an amateur people call you a champion and now when they call me champion there is meaning behind it, definitely. And it feels great."
What keeps him going...
"Becoming champion and trying to get that feeling again. Hopefully this fight turns out the way it is supposed to be."