By Luis Sandoval
Former Lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz is set to make his return to the ring after an almost 3 year hiatus on April 13th as he takes on Pipino Cuevas Jr in Corpus Christi, TX. Diaz’s last fight was a loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2010 as he suffered back to back losses for the first time in his career.
Diaz was on the most recent edition of BoxingScene’s official radio show The Boxing Lab as he discussed his return back to the ring. During his interview, Diaz revealed he is no longer with long time trainer Ronnie Shields.
“One little key point that I'd like to mention is that Ronnie Shields, he's no longer with me. Ronnie and I we still talk, we still see each other. I don't have nothing against Ronnie, Ronnie doesn't have anything against me. We still communicate whenever we see each other” Diaz would tell The Boxing Lab.
“The only thing is he moved to another gym down in Sugarland, TX and that's where Edwin Rodriguez, [Erislandy] Lara, and [Guillermo] Rigondeaux are working out now. But I had already made up my mind when I returned that I wanted Derwin Richards who was Ronnie's assistant and who had been with me since [the] amateurs. I knew right then and there regarding my comeback that he was going to be the lead trainer. The reason why is because I saw different things in him that could really help me out in this return - he just never had the freedom to express himself being the assistant”.
Diaz reassures there is no hard feeling between him and Shields and feels that having worked with Richards since the amateurs, he’s still retaining the benefit of having someone in his corner that he’s familiar with. Diaz was also asked what he felt were the differences between his former and now new trainer.
“Ronnie is a great technician and he's a great trainer that can game plan but I think the difference here is that [Richards] is younger, he's hungrier, he's more motivated. So every round that we do the hand pads or he works with me; every single minute and every single second of the round he's motivating me and pushing me to the next level. He's pushing my limits to better myself. And his assistant Tim Knight, he works with me on basics and fundamentals. You know, keeping my hands up, stepping in with my punches and turning my punches. So that's a good combination that I have an actually need at this point” shared Diaz.
Diaz has chosen to remain at the 135 pounds and feels he can make some real noise again in a division that seems wide open at the moment. While his goal is to be a champion again, he also realizes he needs to take things slow and get himself back in the groove of things after such a long break.
You can listen to Juan Diaz’s interview in its entirety by listening to The Boxing Lab podcast: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/boxingsceneradio/2013/03/13/the-boxing-lab-boxingscenes-official-audio-show
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007. You can also tune in to The Boxing Lab, Boxingscene’s official audio show every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.