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Thursday, February 27, 2014
Juan Diaz continues comeback

By Dan Rafael

Juan 'Baby Bull' Diaz, Derwin Richards
Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz returns to the ring Saturday on the Chavez-Vera II undercard in San Antonio.
SAN ANTONIO -- The next stop on the comeback trail for former unified lightweight titleholder Juan Diaz comes Saturday night.

"The Baby Bull" made the 200-mile drive from his hometown of Houston to San Antonio in order to face Gerardo Robles in a 10-round lightweight bout at the Alamodome on the undercard of the super middleweight rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera.

A lot of people don't even realize that Diaz is on the show, as his fight is not going to be televised (although it will stream live on Top Rank's website), and that's OK with Diaz.

He has taken the time to make a comeback the right way -- slowly but surely as he works his way back to a title fight. He knows the TV coverage and attention will come if he keeps winning. Right now it's about getting back into top shape and getting sharp.

"A lot of people don't know that I am fighting on here and I don't take offense to that," Diaz told before Thursday's final news conference. "It doesn’t bother me. But one thing I'm not feeling is excitement because that's for when you're an 18- or 19-year-old and you're fighting on these big undercards. That's excitement. Right now what I'm feeling is motivation.

"I'm motivated to become champion again. I don't care if I'm the first fight of the night. I'm motivated to be back on top and be the main event again."

The fight against Robles (16-12, 7 KOs), 31, of Mexico, will be the fourth of Diaz's comeback. He retired in 2010
after a second loss to Juan Manuel Marquez -- and a third loss in four fights -- but came out of retirement last April, feeling hungry to box again and hoping to make another run at a world title.

Diaz (38-4, 19 KOs), 30, won a 135-pound world title in 2004 and made seven defenses, including unifying three of the major belts, and established himself as a consistently crowd-pleasing brawler before losing his belts to Nate Campbell via split decision in 2008.

A college graduate who also has had success in business during retirement -- he owns both a trucking and coffee company -- Diaz wants another title opportunity. As much as he enjoys business, he doesn't get the same excitement out of it as he does boxing.

"After this fight I feel I will be ready to step into the ring against a champion or a top contender, so that's what I'm looking for," Diaz said. "I've been speaking with Carl [Moretti] at Top Rank and we're confident I can be ready for a title shot in the summer or the maybe in the fall. I'm ready."

Diaz said when he thought about his plans for a comeback, he wanted to take it slowly, to get a few fights under his belt to work off the rust and get back into top shape, and he feels like he has done that.

"I'm a smart fighter. I know that after being retired for three years I wasn't going to come in and be the fighter that I once was," Diaz said. "This will be my fourth fight [of the comeback]. I feel I've done it right. This is the way you should do it when you come out of retirement and I will be more than ready for the championship fight."