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Julio Diaz-The Kidd


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Julio Diaz was a talented fighter whose career was rather successful, but not as successful as it perhaps could've been. He was an all-around fighter who could box and punch and loved to mix it up. He was also rather fast. Born in a famous boxing family, Diaz became the most successful of his siblings as a pro boxer. He however experienced a few upsetting losses and lost too many fights for his level. He did however managed to win the IBF lightweight title twice, but both times held it briefly. He still had a rather long career and was a never say die fighter, who always came back from a loss and was ready to fight. This is his story.


Born 24 December 1979 in Jiquilpan, Michoacan, Mexico, Julio was as already mentioned born into a boxing family; his two older brothers Joel and Antonio both fought professionally, but none of them were able to capture a world title. Joel also fought for the IBF lightweight title but lost the fight to champion Philip Holiday. Antonio was a welterweight who famously fought Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBO title in 2002 and was stopped after a great fight, in the 10th. The family relocated to Coachella, California, when Julio was 5 and it was there the young Julio also started fighting. At 5'8 he was a rather tall lightweight (some sources also state 5'9) and he also had good looks which made him popular. After a short amateur career, he embarked on a professional one and had his first fight there at the age of 19, 6 February '99, winning by a KO1 against Carlos Rodriguez. He pretty much steamrolled thru most of his early opponents and racked up a record of 23-0 with 17 ko's, winning the NABF title by KO9 against then-16-0 Justo Sencion, before fighting Angel Manfredy in an IBF-eliminator. It was 6 October '01 at Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi, TX, when Diaz found himself the loser after getting two points deducted for low blows, losing by split decision in what otherwise would've ended as a draw. He would experience an even worse loss in his second fight after that, when he was caught by surprise against the 14-4 Juan Valenzuela and bashed along the ropes before being stopped in round 1. He came back by decisioning James Crayton, whom his brother Antonio knocked out previously. In March '03 he won the WBC Latino title by a TKO7 against Ernesto Zepeda; both fighters were down before Zepeda got stopped due to cuts. On 19 March next year, he fought against Courtney Burton, who previously stopped Angel Manfredy, in another IBF-eliminator. This time, The Kidd was victorious by a TKO11 after dropping Burton with a right-left-right to the head. He finally got to fight for that IBF title against Javier Jauregui, a fellow Mexican, who had stopped Leavander Johnson to win it. The fight was at Sports Arena in San Diego, 13 May '04, and Diaz finally achieved his goal by beating Jauregui by a majority decision. Two of the judges scored the fight 118-110 for him.


However, this title wasn't meant to be kept long for him back then. He vacated it to fight the WBC-champion and back then no.1 lightweight in the world-Jose Luis Castillo. That fight happened on 5 March '05 at Mandalay Bay and Diaz started it well, winning a couple rounds, before the hard-hitting and strong Castillo took over and then pounded him into defeat. However, Diaz got a badly swollen left eye from round 4, due to accidental headbutt and was cut over the right eye in round 7. Castillo was then able to dominate and finally drop him twice in round 10 before it was over. He returned only 3 months later and scored an impressive TKO1 over Marco Angel Perez, stopping him with a single right uppercut. He also scored a first-round ko in his next fight, against Russel Stoner Jones, when he hit him with a left hook in the eye. He then got a chance to fight for the interim IBF title against Ricky Quiles, a slick Puerto Rican fighter, 18 May '06 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. He was victorious with lopsided scores and was thus a two-time world champion. He then faced Jesus Chavez for the full title on 3 February next year, at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida. Chavez had been absent from the ring for over a year after the tragic death of Leavander Johnson, whom he beat for the same title. He came in as the defending champion, but was known to be unlucky with injuries, and here he suddenly collapsed from an injured knee, early in round 3, and was counted out. Thus, Diaz won the world title without trying this time. He then faced another Diaz, Juan "Baby Bull", in a major title unification fight, as Baby Bull held the WBA and WBO belts. The fight happened 13 October that same year and though it was competitive, Baby Bull's torrid pace and aggression eventually wore The Kidd out and he ended surrendering on his stool after round 8. This fight pretty much spelled the end of his prime and he would never reach the same level again or have as much success. After stopping the 20-0 David Torres by TKO5 and decisioning Fernando Trejo, he was surprisingly stopped by a TKO5 against Rolando Reyes on 4 April '09, in what was surely his worst performance, which was booed by the crowd. He also lost by UD10 to Victor Manuel Cayo, who was back then undefeated, getting outpunched by the Dominican, on 31 July that same year. That was his first fight at super lightweight. He came back with a victory over solid contender Herman Ngoudjo on 14 May '10, winning by UD10. However, next year on 13 May, he was knocked out by Kendall Holt in 3 rounds; after first rocking Holt in the same round, he was hit by a perfect left hook to the body-left hook to the chin and couldn't beat the count. He came back with stoppage victories over Henry Auraad and Hector Sanchez, before fighting Shawn Porter at 147 for the first time, 15 December '12. After 10 rounds, the fight was judged a draw.


He was then chosen as the next opponent of Amir Khan, who was still fighting at 140. He went to Sheffield in England as the underdog but gave Khan a lot trouble, knocking him down in round 4 and hurting him several times, but Khan managed to bounce back and win enough rounds to get a close UD. That was on 27 April '13 and on 12 September that year, he again fought Shawn Porter and this time was outboxed, in a fight at 147. He lost clearly after 10 rounds on all scorecards. His last fight was for the WBA interim welter title against Keith Thurman-One Time, 26 April '14, at StubHub Center in Carson. Diaz was by then just a shadow of his old self and was rather easily beaten down and dropped in round 2, before surrendering on his stool after round 3. That final upsetting loss made him retire at the age of 34 and with a record of 40 wins, 29 by ko, 10 losses and 1 draw.

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