Julio “The Kidd” Diaz is the last of the gun-slinging Diaz brothers and he’s not quite ready to hang up his holster yet.
Now 32, the former two-time lightweight titleholder Diaz (39-7, 28 KOs) now fights at welterweight and meets Puerto Rico’s towering Hector “Flaco” Sanchez (19-2, 9 KOs) in the main event at Fantasy Springs Casino on Saturday, Sept. 29. The Golden Boy Promotions fight card will also be televised on Telefutura.
He’s the last of the fighting Diaz brothers still participating in the ring. Brothers Antonio Diaz and Joel Diaz are now retired and mentoring youngsters in the Indio and the Coachella area on the art of boxing. Julio is the youngest and feels he still has bullets remaining in the chamber.
No longer does he possess the crackling speed, nor the fleet footwork of the past, but years of work with the elite over the years has made Diaz a crafty as one can get veteran. Wisdom can pay off against a too aggressive youngster.
The welterweights are boxing’s richest weight division. No other weight division boasts as many stars or dangers as the 147-pound welterweights. It’s no accident that Diaz has moved into Golden Boy’s domain, as they handle most of the best welterweights in the world.
One of the few great welterweights not working with Golden Boy is Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley. Both are trained by Joel Diaz and work in the same gym. It’s a great working environment for someone looking to bust into the upper tier.
This past July, the Coachella product won by knockout in his second venture into the 147-pound division. It wasn’t easy but the likeable prizefighter found the keys to victory by searching and finding the right angle for his attack.
“I don’t have to worry about losing weight,” said Diaz a few months ago while at Indio Boys and Girls Club. “I don’t feel weak.”
Throughout his successful career the youngest of the Diaz brothers showed a combination of speed, power and skill that shot him to the top of the 135-pound lightweight rankings. Now he probes defenses like a drone missile.
In 2004, he was victorious over Mexico’s Javier Jauregui and won the IBF lightweight title. In 2007, he regained the IBF title by knockout over Jesus Chavez. He was subsequently beaten by Juan Diaz in his next fight, but few prizefighters in the world can say they were twice world champions.
It’s been five years since he held a world title. But it only takes one good shot to win a fight and Diaz feels confident his aim is true.
Also, on the same fight card, Andrew Cancio (14-1-2, 11 KOs) of Blythe, Calif. battles Chino’s Roger “Speedy” Gonzalez in a junior lightweight match set for 10 rounds. It’s not an easy fight for either. Cancio has yet to face someone with the experience of Gonzalez.
For more information call Fantasy Springs Casino at (800) 827-2946.
Kaliesha West at Canyon Springs High
Kaliesha “Wild, Wild” West appeared at her old high school Canyon Springs along with boxing superstar-turned-promoter Sugar Shane Mosley last Thursday. A crowd of more than 300 withstood the 100-degree temperatures to see the duo.
West, 24, has vacated the WBO bantamweight world title and moves up to 122-pounds to challenge San Antonio’s Christina Ruiz (6-4-2, 4 KOs) for the vacant IFBA junior featherweight world title. Their fight takes place Oct. 6, at the Finish Line Sports Grill in Pomona.
“I just fell really blessed it came from out of nowhere,” said West (15-1-3, 4 KOs) about receiving the fight opportunity from Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at (909) 622-9092.
Fights on television
Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m., Julian Rivera (12-6) vs. Edgar Jimenez (15-7-1).
Sat. HBO, 9:30 p.m., Luis Del Valle (16-0) vs.Vic Darchinyan (37-5-1).
Sat. Telefutura, 10 p.m., Julio Diaz (39-7) vs. Hector Sanchez (19-2).
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV