Juan ‘Baby Bull’ Diaz may not have been the biggest name in boxing, but he sure gave the fans their money’s worth with his entertaining, non-stop punching style. Diaz gave everything he had in the ring, but he’s left it there now as he recently announced his retirement from the sport.
Diaz, who’s just 27 years old, enjoyed an excellent career that consisted of 110 amateur bouts and 39 pro fights. He compiled a record of 35-4 with 17 KOs. He was knocked out in one of his losses, which was 2009’s fight of the year against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Diaz was just 16 when he made his pro debut back in 2000 with a first-round TKO over Rafael Ortiz. He stayed active after his debut and fought five more times in 2000, seven times in 2001, six times in 2002, and four times in 2003. He won his first lightweight world title in 2004 when he captured the WBA version with a 12-round unanimous decision over Lavka Sim.
When defending the WBA title for the sixth time he added the WBO belt by stopping Acelino Freitas in eight rounds in 2007. He added the IBF belt to his collection six months later in his next fight when he stopped Julio Diaz in the ninth round. However, he lost all three of them in March of 2008 when veteran Nate Campbell beat him by a 12-round split decision. Diaz came back six months later to claim the vacant IBO title with a split decision over Michael Katsidis.
Then came the thrilling bout against Marquez in which Diaz eventually folded under his opponent’s power in a remarkable fight. That seemed to be the turning point in Diaz’s career as things went slightly downhill from there. He won the vacant WBO Jr. Welterweight crown against Paulie Malignaggi with a unanimous decision in August of 2009 and then lost it by the same way in a rematch four months later. He took on Marquez again in a rematch in July of 2010 and ended up losing a unanimous decision in what would turn out to be his last pro fight.
Although he only lost four career pro bouts, they all came in his last six fights. This prompted Diaz to think hard about what he wanted out of life and led to his retirement after talking at length with his family.
Diaz had a remarkable, but quiet career with four world championships, two national silver medals, and 13 national gold medals. He also earned a spot on the Mexican Olympic team in 2000. But for all his ring accomplishments, Diaz wasn’t your typical pugilist. He was interested in educating himself and paid for college tuition with his boxing earnings. This enabled him to graduate from the University of Houston with a degree.
Diaz wrote an open letter to fans when retiring and said he still loves boxing, but the wars have taken their toll on him and he’d like to start a new professional chapter in his life. So far, Diaz is off to an exciting start with a weekly radio show on boxing which will soon be available on his upcoming website at www.babybull.com. His Baby Bull LLC company is also involved in soccer schools and he’s involved in his brother Jose’s business venture called JD Trucking. Diaz also plans on continuing his education
While numerous boxers have retired before and made comebacks as soon as the money or fame was starting to dry up, don’t expect Diaz to be one of them. He’s seems to be a young man who’s just as determined to succeed outside of the ring as he was in it.