By Carlos Arias
LOS ANGELES --- Former two-time world champion Julio Diaz has been counted out a number of times in his career, but keeps coming back to surprise the boxing world.
The 15-year veteran hasn't had much luck on the scorecards in his past three fights, though many ringside observers would argue about those decisions, but at 34 years old Diaz continues to battle the best young fighters the 147-pound division has to offer.
Diaz's valiant effort in defeats against Shawn Porter and Amir Khan have landed him a fight against rising young star Keith Thurman for the interim WBA welterweight title on Saturday night at StubHub Center in Carson on Showtime.
"This is a big opportunity for me," Diaz said at wednesday's open workout at Westside Boxing Club.
"It's a very dangerous opportunity, but at this point in my career I can't demand much. I gotta take whatever comes my way. I welcome the opportunity. For me, the world title on the line doesn't excite me as much as Thurman's name. He's highly regarded as a feared fighter and dangerous prospect, so a victory over Thurman would wake up the attention of the world again like, 'Wait a minute, who's this guy? He's for real.' I been trying to get that attention with these past fights. I still haven't got it, so I got to take on a dangerous opponent. I gotta take that risk."
Diaz said he has learned to pick himself up after defeats and come back even harder during his 50-fight career.
"To me, I always feel like a champion," Diaz said. "That's when you prove you are a champion. When you get down, you get up and come back. You see so many talented fighters and once they get beat they disappear and go away. I got my world title, lost it, came back and got another world title and lost it. I was knocked out by Kendall Holt and I'm still here making noise.
"The only regret I have and the mistake I did was staying as a lightweight for 12-13 years. I put my body through so much. I was always weak and I started getting dropped and people started getting confident that Julio had no chin. But they forget now that I move to 147 (pounds) I've never been rocked, I've never been moved. I keep on walking through all these guys easily, but there's still no victory. And these are not easy fights."
Follow Carlos Arias on Twitter @PunchyMcGee.Tags: Julio Diaz , Keith Thurman , Thurman-Diaz , Thurman vs. Diaz