Juan Diaz, Mike Alvarado return to the ring on same card

Former world titleholders Juan Diaz and Mike Alvarado, both sidelined for more than a year for different reasons, will return on the same card on March 19 at the Arena Theater in Diaz's hometown of Houston, hoping to re-ignite their careers.

The bouts will be televised on Spanish-language network UniMas' "Solo Boxeo Tecate" series.

Former unified lightweight titleholder Diaz (40-4, 19 KOs), known as the "Baby Bull," will face Mexico's Fernando Garcia (30-7-2, 19 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight match.

Former junior welterweight titleholder Alvarado (34-4, 23 KOs), of Denver, will face Saul Corral (19-6, 10 KOs), of Mexico, in an eight-round welterweight fight that will open the telecast.

Diaz, who held a lightweight title from 2004-08, including unifying three belts, and was in many exciting fights, retired in 2010 after a his second loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. In 2013, Diaz ended his retirement, won five fights in a row and was on the verge of another world title shot before a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery on his rotator cuff forced him to sit out all of 2015.

"It was a serious rotator cuff injury that caused the long layoff and this is the first step back," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com. "He's hoping to regain the momentum he had before the layoff when he was on the verge of a world title shot. Diaz is ready to go. He feels 100 percent. He's really amped up to get back in the ring and get this going again. Because the fight is in Houston, there's more motivation for him to perform as best as he can. The place holds about 3,500 and I think we'll be full, and Diaz has always loved to fight at home."

Moretti said if the 32-year-old Diaz wins and his shoulder is OK, he would like to have another similar fight in a few months "but we'll see what is out there for him and if any bigger opportunity presents itself after this. If not and he has one more fight of this nature it won't hurt him."

Like Diaz, Alvarado, 35, has also been in several action-packed fights, but he is just 1-4 in his last five fights, including a retiring on his stool and losing his belt in a knockout loss to Ruslan Provodnikov in 2013, a decision loss to Marquez and two losses to rival Brandon Rios.

Alvarado has not fought since January 2015, when he barely trained and got blown out by Rios in the third round of their rubber match in Denver in an embarrassing performance. Alvarado came into the fight facing legal issues stemming from a gun charge and also racked by an alcohol problem.

Alvarado has since been to rehab and is said to be clean and sober as he attempts to salvage his career.

"His issues were outside the ring, not an injury like Diaz had," Moretti said. "But all indications are that he's taken care of them and he's been in the gym. We've had no calls or reason to doubt him. He's stayed on the straight path and he knows he has a lot to prove to himself and to his fans. This is the first step to doing that.

"He doesn't want to go out like he did against Rios. He has pride. It's a different situation that Juan Diaz's situation but how do you not give [Alvarado] another opportunity?"