Former IBF Lightweight World Champion Julio "The Kidd" Diaz (38-6, 27 KOs) says he's still got plenty left to give boxing before he retires to run his construction company.
He will get the chance to prove it tomorrow, Friday, May 13, when he meets former WBO Light Welterweight Champion Kendall "Rated R" Holt (26-4, 14 KOs) in a crossroads battle at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California, and live on Friday Night Fights on ESPN3 at 9 pm, EST.
The two former champions will serve as the main event of a sensational card put together by Gary Shaw Productions in association with Thompson Boxing.
"For a while, I was starting to look old, but my body wasn't getting old, it was my mental state and preparation that were suffering," admits Diaz from his hotel room, waiting to weigh-in. "I lost discipline and focus for a bit and I was just fighting for the scale. But now, I've got my act together and I'm back on track."
31-year-old Diaz says he knows he's not a Kidd anymore and that this is a "loser goes home" type of fight with Holt.
"Yes, it is do-or-die for me and also for Kendall Holt. That's why it'll be such a good fight. The fans will be getting the best of Julio and Kendall because we're both running out of chances, but I would not be here wasting my time if I didn't feel I'm able to fight my way back up to another shot."
Having prepared himself in a way in which he can be proud, says Diaz, will make some significant differences in his game.
"Holt has power with both hands, but in my career I've fought a lot of heavy hitters -- some of the heaviest. Dehydrated, I was knocked out by the lightest puncher in the division, but well-prepared, I never had any problems. I'm going to be a lot stronger for this one than I have been in a while. It's a whole new day. For instance, I just had breakfast. That's a first for me in six years. For other fights, I would have got out of the sauna last night and be back in the sauna this morning and be back in there just before I left for the scale. Right now I'm relaxing in my room. I'm fresh."
Still, should things not go as planned, Diaz says he'll be happy working and running K & A Construction, the business he started with the proceeds from his impressive career.
"Before I turned pro, I worked in construction and then went on my own when I could afford it. I don't rely on boxing because I'm very busy with my company. You don't hear me asking for Pacquiao and trying to get a money fight I don't deserve yet. I'm ready to finish my career in good standing. I would never take a fight against a young prospect as a stepping stone and humiliate my family. I would never do that. I'm here to win because I know I can and it'll be very gratifying to prove it to the non-believers."
Tickets are priced at $35, $45, $55, $65, and $75 and are available at Star Tickets.