At the age of 32, Juan is a 16-year pro – he made his debut and had three fights in Mexico when he was 16. Five days after he turned 17, the legal age for professional boxers in the U.S., Juan fought north of the border for the first time.
A former WBA-WBO-IBF lightweight world champion, Juan won the WBA title in July, 2004, and made seven successful title defenses overall. He added the WBO title in April, 2007, and made one successful defense, then won the IBF title in October, 2007.
Juan returned to the ring in April, 2013, after almost three years off and has won five fights in a row since then.
He was preparing to challenge Takahiro Ao for the vacant WBO lightweight world title on May 1, 2015, but tore the rotator cuff in his left shoulder while sparring about a month before the fight and had corrective surgery.
In his last fight on August 6 in Tucson, Arizona, he won by eighth-round TKO against Cesar Vazquez.
Boxing News’ Uli Martinez reported [excerpts]: Former four-time world champion Juan Diaz is ready for another world title shot after dominating Cesar Vazquez.
Juan Diaz returned to the ring three years ago with his eyes set on a fifth world championship opportunity. His impressive performance against Cesar Vasquez brings him one step closer to his goal.
In the end, the former champ’s smothering offense proved too much for Vazquez. Diaz applied relentless pressure throughout the fight, showing us everything in his arsenal and battering Vazquez until his corner stepped in to save their fighter with fifty-one seconds left in the eighth round.
“I’m very grateful for the continued support from my fans and am ready for my 5th championship,” said Diaz post-fight.
Vazquez showed a lot of heart in the early rounds, trying to match Diaz blow for blow, but he ran out of steam and confidence as the “Baby Bull” got the best out of nearly all of their exchanges.
“I was softening him with body punches, little by little. In the seventh round, I really started connecting with big hooks to the liver,” said Diaz.
Those body shots set up beautiful combinations upstairs that hurt Vazquez and may have led to a stoppage a round earlier if it hadn’t been for the bell.
In his corner, Vazquez was warned by his team that they would throw in the towel if he didn’t show them that he was still in the fight. Turns out he wasn’t, as Diaz staggered Vazquez with a barrage of punches that started with a thudding overhand right. A left body hook, right uppercut combo then sent him reeling and Diaz delivered the final deluge of leather in the center of the ring that let to Vazquez’s corner stepping in.
It was a solid performance from Diaz and served as a reminder as to why he was once the man to beat at 135 lbs. [End Martinez item]
Juan told UCNlive.com’s Steve Kim [excerpts]: “One of the reasons for my return to the ring is that the fire that Juan Manuel Marquez turned off in our last encounter in 2010 has lit back up and is alive and well and it’s burning very, very hard at this point. So I’ve got the fire to step back in the ring.
“Juan Manuel Marquez turned off that fire that was lit up and actually Juan Manuel Marquez is the one that brought it back and flared it up because for a whole year, I didn’t watch any fights and then the first fight I attended live was the Juan Manuel Marquez fight versus Manny Pacquiao and when he knocked him out, it’s like something inside of me, just the flame started burning again and I said, ‘Wow, I was in the ring with that man two fights and in the first fight, I almost had him,’ and that fire just started. It flared up again.
“I believe I ended my career a little too soon. Well, actually, I needed the rest. I had been doing it for 18 years since I was eight years old. So at 27, my body was worn out and in my last five fights, I had won one, lost one, won one and finally lost two. I needed a break. I was just sick and tired of the daily grind and the fire wasn’t there anymore. I was mentally fatigued.” [End Kim item]
Juan is experienced against top opposition and has fought world champions Juan Manuel Marquez two times (KOby9, L12), Paulie Malignaggi two times (W12, L12), Nate Campbell (L12), Julio Diaz (TKO9), Acelino Freitas (TKO8), Julien Lorcy (W12), and Lakva Sim (W12).