Julio Diaz, One Last Run!
It’s no surprise that former world champion Julio “The Kidd” Diaz would eventually join his two brothers, Joel and Antonio and try his hand at training. The 32 year old has become a regular figure at the Indio Boys and Girls club and is now sharing his knowledge with the kids of the Coachella Valley, the same place he developed his craft.
Though he has recently been helping out his older brother Antonio, who runs the boxing program at the Indio B&G, he admits he’s not fully ready to commit.
The former lightweight world champion wants to make one last run at a world title, but this time at welterweight. He says that killing himself to make weight for most of his career has left him with questions and wants there to be no doubt in his mind once he decides to make the transition to full time trainer.
Standnfight’s Dominic Serna caught up with Diaz at a multi-club sparring session at the Indio Gym.
Follow the lead!
Diaz: So far it’s going good. I’m enjoying the process of working with the kids. I’m Here trying to make my brother (Antonio Diaz) a little stronger, backing him up as much as I can and getting involved.
DS: What’s it like, helping the kids out and starting a little prodigy of your own?
Diaz: It’s very exciting now that I’m starting to get attached to the kids and getting to know them a little bit more. As the days go by, I find myself getting more and more into it.
I’m starting to realize why trainers do this. Your responsible for someone’s dream and they’re putting that into your hands. It feels good to think that I could help someone realize those dreams.
DS: How is it, when that kid is finally ready and you put him in there to spar, seeing it all come together?
Diaz: It feels really good. Now I’m seeing it from a trainers point of view. Not that I didn’t appreciate my trainers or those that got me ready but now I see what they went through.
There’s kids that just started here and I’ve been helping them out for a couple of weeks and now that I put them to spar, seeing the product of my work and what I’ve been teaching, It makes me proud. It’s a really good feeling.
DS: Is this your way of giving back to the community?
Diaz: Not only that but I feel like I was gifted the opportunity to be here, have a good career and still be healthy enough to give something back.
Diaz: It’s really easy. We can work together without even saying many words. We have a slightly different style of training but with the same concept in mind. My brother has been here for a while and I’m not trying to push him aside or be better than him. I’m just here to help him be better.
DS: With the two of you training together, do you feel you could put together a solid team that could produce some future world champions?
Diaz: I really do think so. I believe so. With the kind of experiences that we’ve been through. Not just inside the ring and inside the gym but outside the ring. You know… the business of boxing. I know we could lead a lot of kids to a world title. The mistakes we made, we paid the price for them. All the things we failed in, we can make sure they don’t.
These kids are getting trainers that have been there and done it and that’s crucial, that’s important. I can assure you, they won’t make those mistakes because we have already paid that price.
One more Run!
DS: Do you plan on getting back into the ring?
Diaz: Yes, I have a fight in Canada on March 30th. It’s not secured yet but the plan is to make one last run, 100% at 147, see how I feel and how my body reacts now that there will be no weight issues.
I want to see how I respond when I’m healthy. When I’m healthy I can’t be beat. The losses I have were because my body couldn’t handle the punch. I got buckled, dropped or I was just too weak physically. So before I retire I’m going to give it one last run at 147, just for me.
I’m not telling you I’m coming back as the best fighter in the world or I’m going to do this or that. I’m just giving it a shot… for myself. So there’s no doubts.
I think I’ve accomplished enough, two world titles and other continental titles. I have a decent record and had a good run. I enjoyed my career and I did very well.
It’s just that I’m curious to see how I’ll do when I’m healthy.
DS: Do you feel like you were losing the fight at the scale?
Diaz: Yea, my problem was that my whole training camp was a battle with the scale. No game plan, nothing. If I did more rounds, It was because I needed to sweat more not because we needed more work. Even on my days off, I had to run. My body never had time to rest because I constantly needed to sweat.
I want to see how I perform when I can train properly and eat healthy because I’m a great fighter. I don’t care who you are, when your dead before you even get in the ring, they’re going to knock you out.
DS: Your last fight was with Kendall Holt after a nine month lay off.
Diaz: Yea, that night a lot of things went wrong, you can’t give everybody every detail because then it looks unprofessional, like we were looking for ways out or excuses. It is what it is. I lost a lot of weight. I struggled but I made my weight.
I’ve always tried to be a straight up fighter. I have a lot of pride and it is what it is, there’s nothing I can do about it. You win nothing by nagging about it. So I’ve moved on.
I can woulda, shoulda coulda but lets just move on. Only god knows why certain things happen and I can’t complain.
I’m still young and life goes on.
DS: You’ve been working with your brother Antonio on some different things, kind of bringing him into your corner. How do you feel about trying something new?
Diaz: Look, right now I’m not officially changing trainers, It’s the same team. My brother Joel has always trained me but now Antonio is helping out with the pad work and some training.
Everybody brings something different. Antonio pays more attention because he’s the new guy, he wants to impress and he has a goal in mind. He cuts me no slack.
When you’ve trained with somebody for a long time it becomes a routine, it’s the same thing and they don’t catch the little things anymore. You get blinded. I don’t care what trainer you are, It happens. It becomes a routine and its day to day, just going through the motions and talking but when you bring in a new guy, he takes that extra step and he’s excited.
DS: So your exploring every option, If Antonio catches one little thing or gives you that extra push, there will be no doubts that you gave it your all?
Diaz: Yea, the problem is that I’m a veteran fighter, there’s nothing I haven’t seen but every now and then I need a slap in the face because a fighter with my experience doesn’t even get nervous anymore. It’s like just another day, a walk in the park and that’s a mistake. With that confidence I can become lazy and make mistakes because I think I know it all. That’s why I need a slap in the face sometimes to pay attention.
It’s like when your a new employee somewhere. The new employee is always on time, working hard and trying to impress. The guy that has been working there forever, he know the whole routine, he’s the slacker, right there killing time because he knows the ins and outs and how to manipulate the system.
I’m getting back to doing things I haven’t done since I was eight years old and I’m having trouble doing them. I feel like I have to get back to the basics.
DS: Being that you have a name and being a two-time world champion, do you think there going to be putting you in with prospects?
Diaz: Yea they are. All the fights that I’ve been offered felt like I was being used as a stepping stone but I don’t mind. I know how the boxing world is and you have to do what you have to do. I’m up for it, I’m ready to take those risks now.
I could go out and beat bum fighters every week but who’s that fooling? where’s that going to get me? I want that upset. I’m coming for somebody’s position. An upset will put me back where I need to be!