Former lightweight champ Diaz wants to be champion again.
Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz faces Gerardo Robles on March 1 in San Antonio, Texas. The bout is part of the untelevised undercard of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Bryan Vera 2, which will be shown live on HBO.
Diaz is no stranger to headlining big shows but said he's content working his way back to the limelight the right way.
"It's not about money," Diaz told Bleacher Report. "It's about world titles."
Diaz works the speed bag.
Diaz has become quite the businessman since 2010. He owns and operates a trucking company and has many outside ventures including his own brand of coffee.
But none of that matters inside the ring, so Diaz works hard on the speed bag in his recently opened boxing gym, Baby Bull Boxing.
Diaz works on his footwork.
Diaz is no longer trained by longtime mentors Willie Savannah and Ronnie Shields. Instead, he decided his comeback needed a fresh approach. He hired local Houston boxing stalwarts Derwin Richards and Timothy Knight to help him reach the top of the sport again.
Diaz works fundamentals with Knight.
Assistant trainer Timothy Knight said the difference between the old Diaz and the new one is a focus on fundamentals. He believes Diaz needs to jab more and get hit less. The trainer and boxer focus much on these two things during training.
Fitness is key.
Though 30, Diaz is still able to make lightweight, which is something important to him and manager/fitness coach Brian Caldwell (in corner above). Caldwell and Diaz have been together for the long haul, and they expect him to compete for a world title this year.
Diaz takes one on the belt.
Team Diaz brings in multiple sparring partners to help him prepare. On Saturday, Diaz worked with local lightweights Danny Garcia (above) and Lanard "The Fighting Fireman" Lane. Diaz went eight rounds total with both guys.
All in a day's work.
The life of a sparring partner can be hard, but Garcia said it's important for fighters to get the best work they can get. He shares the same name as a more famous fighter, but he's no stranger to boxing fans in Houston where the 35-year-old frequently headlines shows.
"We're here for Juan," said Garcia about the part he and Lane will help play for Diaz.
Still the Baby Bull.
While Diaz and team have been working on the jab, he still is the aggressive fighter fans saw back in 2010. During sparring, he came forward with hooks and uppercuts to make his mark, while Garcia tried to keep him away with jabs.
View from the corner.
While Diaz worked with Garcia, Richards and Knight watched on from his corner, shouting instructions to him. While they want Diaz to keep his hands up, they also want him to pivot more and move up and down as he approaches punching range.
Working the body.
Like any good body puncher, Diaz knows he needs to be able to take punches to the midsection to get close enough to give them. After sparring, he worked his core muscles via standard floor exercises.
Done for the day.
The last thing Diaz did before hitting the showers was meet and greet the 30-40 fans who showed up to watch him train. He is a local celebrity in Houston, which he seems to enjoy. He thanked everyone for coming out in support of him and said he feels as good as ever.
Kelsey McCarson covers boxing for Bleacher Report and The Sweet Science. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand. Pictures are courtesy of Rachel McCarson, boxing photographer.