By Ben Thompson | August 24, 2009

"I'm hoping that I can get a fight by the end of this year. I would definitely love to fight again one more time, but, you know, it all depends. Like I said before, I'm young. I think that right now, it'll take me about a month to heal up from the cuts and I'll be ready to get right back in the ring. It's really going to be up to my manager and the manager mentioned Ricky Hatton," stated former lightweight champion Juan Diaz as he talked about his future plans after his unanimous decision over Paulie Malignaggi this past Saturday. Check out what else he had to say about the fight, the controversial 118-110 scorecard and much more.

BT: First and foremost, congratulations on getting that hard-fought win this past Saturday.

JD: Thanks man. I appreciate that.

BT: What did you think about your performance?

JD: Well, you know what, I went out there, I worked hard for my training camp and I believe that I put on an okay performance. I think I could have done better. I think that I was falling in with my punches. I was chasing him instead of cutting the ring off, but overall, it turned out to be a pretty succcessful night.

BT: You got cut early in this fight and it looked like it didn't cause you any problems at all. Do you think you finally put to rest all the questions about whether or not getting cut affects your performance.

JD: Yeah, I believe so; I believe that I did. I had two cuts, one under my eyelid and one on my eyebrow. As you can see in the fight, it didn't bother me. I kept on boxing, I kept on pressuring Paul Malignaggi and I didn't let the cut stop me.

BT: Was there anything about Paulie that surprised you when you got inside the ring with him?

JD: He was a little bit faster than I thought because he looked a lot different than when he fought Ricky Hatton. He went back to his old trainer and I believe that's what helped him to be more of a faster, skillful puncher. Yeah, it was a pretty tough one. He was pretty fast.

BT: What was the gameplan going into the fight?

JD: I was expecting more of a Paul Malignaggi that fought Ricky Hatton and also Miguel Cotto; he was staying in the pocket and not really letting his hands go or being real elusive. Against me, he really gave it everything and it showed that he had a real good training camp because he came out firing.

BT: It was a great fight man. No matter who would've won or lost, I don't think any one of you guys lost any stock. You both fought your butts off. Having said that, I was wondering what your initial reaction was when you heard that score of 118-110 announced.

JD: Well, you know what, I didn't get to see the fight until this morning and obviously I don't agree with that score myself. I know it was a real close fight and I gave myself 7 rounds and I gave Paulie 5 rounds. I watched the fight and I think that was more of the accurate score; 7 rounds to 5.

BT: I think most fans, when they get upset and say Paulie was robbed, I don't know if it was so much that he was robbed, but I think they have a problem with seeing a scorecard like 118-110. Do you think Paulie was kind of justified before the fight when he was airing his concern that some of the judges might have a hometown bias.

JD: Well, that's one of the mistakes that he committed, coming down here and downtalking all the judges. I would never do that because then, if the judges plan on scoring a fight fairly and then here comes a guy who downtalks all the judges and downgrades them and calls them all kinds of names, I don't believe that they were trying to...if they were trying to help me, I don't think that even mattered. I think that maybe he put something against himself and if anything, maybe the judges were just trying to take it out on him; not really help me, but just take it all on him. That could have been a possibility as well, but I was in there to fight my fight. This is what I want to tell all the boxing people. They say that I've been fighting here in Houston and...Paul Malignaggi accepted the fight here in Houston. I wasn't the one that said let's fight in Houston. I've been fighting here in Houston because Golden Boy Promotions wants to put the fights out here. I don't care where I fight, you know? It doesn't matter if I fight in Vegas, New York, New Jersey; it doesn't matter to me. I don't beg for the promotional company to bring the fights out here. They just happen to do it.

BT: Yeah, that's true. Paulie may have hurt himself a bit just by bringing it up. Whether or not there was any bias before the fight, calling the judges out, you're kind of asking for trouble.

JD: Yeah, I believe so.

BT: Even if a judge might not mean to do something like that, when someone is questioning your integrity, you can't help but to be a little irritated.

JD: Yeah, against that guy...I don't care how bad of a judge or a referee someone is, I'm not going to call them out. That's their profession. That's their job. If they suck at it, then eventually, it's going to come out. The boxing commission is going to find out and they're going to make him leave or do whatever they have to do, but I would never call out any judge or referee that I think is doing a bad job because maybe to them, they may believe that they're doing a good job.

BT: Having said that, do you think that's something you might ever be concerned about in the future, like say if you're fighting Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines and you ended up getting three Filipino judges?

JD: Well, you know, if that's the case, then that's the case. I'm not going to go down there and make all kinds of excuses. Whatever the circumstances are, I'm going in there to fight and to give the fans a good fight. That's what I do. I give fans a good fight. I had two of my losses in the past year and I gave the fans great fights, which caused me to be back on HBO and I'm still one of the fan's favorites to watch.

BT: From your standpoint, as a fighter, you'd probably rather not even leave the fight in the judges' hands anyway. You're going in there to take care of business with your own fists.

JD: Yeah, that's exactly what I do. When I go into fights, I go in there with the mentality, "Hey, I'm going to give it all got. If it's not my night, I'm going to go down punching." If I have to go down or whatever, if I have to take risks, if I have to leave myself open to land a good shot, then I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna try to do whatever it takes to try to get the victory.

BT: No doubt. Well, I don't want to dwell on that. I thought it was a great fight. Considering that a lot of fights we've had recently haven't been very entertaining, they've been stopped early or people have quit, I'm just glad you two guys went the full 12 and fought your hearts out the whole time. Again, congratulations on the win, but looking forward...

JD: (Cutting in) Yeah, I mean, that's not my job. I'm not a referee, I'm not a judge and I can't control the outcome of what they do. I can only control what I do in the ring. If last night they would've saw that I lost, then I would've lost, but they saw that I won, so I won. Either way, I wouldn't question it because my job is just to fight. The judges, their job is to judge and the referee, his job is to referee.

BT: Well, like you said, you go in there to fight and that's what you did and you got the win. You control your own destiny. Having said that, what's next? Who are you targeting next? I know in the post-fight and even before the fight, you mentioned a rematch with Marquez. Is that the plan, to go after Marquez next?

JD: Well, my manager told me, "Don't even dwell on that because Marquez is going to fight in September and it might not be until maybe next year even if he considers a fight with me. If he wins, obviously you know who he's going to go after. He's going to go after Manny Pacquiao. He may not even consider you so don't even dwell on that. Whatever happens happens from here on out. Don't be like he was and start chasing a guy like he's been chasing Manny Pacquiao. Don't be like him and start chasing him. You worry about what you're going to do in the near future and whatever fight comes up in the lightweight division or super lightweight division, then that's what we have to worry about." I said, "You know what? You're right. I mean, you're the manager, you handle that and let's get ready for fights."

BT: That's true. Are you going to go out to the Mayweather-Marquez fight? Are you going to watch it on TV?

JD: Well, I'm not sure yet man because I have to talk to my family. My birthday is September 17th and I'll be 26 years old...

BT: (Cutting in) Oh yeah? Get out of here. My birthday is September 19th.

JD: Oh yeah? Saturday? Very cool. Yeah, I always celebrate with my family and I don't know if they plan on doing something so I don't want to have to leave that day if they're planning something big. Family comes first.

BT: Yeah, definitely. I'm not even heading out there. Figured I'd skip it, watch it on TV and just party out here with the fam and friends.

JD: (Laughing) You and a lot of people man. What's going on with that?

BT: Man, I don't know. You know, Mayweather's never really been...hey, I guess when it comes to excitement, there's only so many Juan Diaz's out there and Mayweather's not one of them (laughing).

JD: (Laughing) Well thanks a lot for that man; for that support. I know a lot of fans are already criticizing me over this victory, but hey, it's boxing. It's over and done with. My biggest concern is just to give the fans a good fight and a crowd-pleasing fight. As long as I'm in boxing, as long as I'm breathing and living in this sport, I'm going to continue to do that; just give the fans great fights and make the fights. If the fighter doesn't want to fight, I'm going to make something happen.

BT: Definitely bro. (Laughing) Yeah, I don't know what's going on with that Mayweather fight, but that's funny. I know I talked to you before about this, but you got Mayweather beating him, right?

JD: Yes, yes. I have Mayweather beating him and I think by decision. I believe by decision.

BT: Yeah, I do too. I think Floyd's going to look a little more rusty than people expect; I think Juan's going to get a little work done, but probably not enough to win. Floyd will probably beat him by unanimous decision, but...

JD: Yeah, Juan's not naturally an agressive fighter. For someone to beat Floyd, they will have to be agressive because you can't outbox him. That's for sure. I don't think there's a guy out there that can outbox or has the fast hands that he does. If Marquez wants to win, he's going to have to just go after him and just put it on him.

BT: You're right. And I don't think that's going to happen. I think it's just going to be a chess match for all 12 rounds.

JD: Right. I think so too. You never know man. Boxing is boxing. In that chess match, Marquez might be able to sneak something in.

BT: That's true man. If you're going to catch Floyd, now's the time to catch him after that long layoff. But yeah man, I know you said even if Marquez loses, you still want to fight him. I have a feeling that they're going to try and put together a Juan Diaz vs. Juan Manuel Marquez fight on Cinco de Mayo.

JD: Oh yeah. Next year? Yeah, that would be great.

BT: That would be perfect if you're Golden Boy Promotions (laughing).

JD: Yeah, that would be an awesome thing.

BT: That would be huge for them and it would probably be a pay-per-view that they would want to do. I definitely wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. Would you want to wait that long though? When's the soonest you're trying to get back in? Are you trying to get another fight by the end of this year?

JD: Ben, I'm hoping that I can get a fight by the end of this year. I would definitely love to fight again one more time, but, you know, it all depends. Like I said before, I'm young. I think that right now, it'll take me about a month to heal up from the cuts and I'll be ready to get right back in the ring. It's really going to be up to my manager and the promoter. I told my manager I would love a fight in December, but if not, whenever the next one comes about.

BT: Other than Marquez, is there anyone else you have in mind?

JD: Well, my manager mentioned Ricky Hatton. When Max Kellerman was interviewing me and he was asking me who I wanted next, him and Oscar shouted into my ear, "Ricky Hatton!" I said, "Is he still fighting?" (Laughing) I don't even know if he's still fighting, but that's a name he threw at me. If that's the case, then so be it.

BT: That's a good fight.

JD: I think one of the reporters in the ring asked me if I would be willing to go to Manchester and I said, "Why not?" He draws a crowd down there. I mean, wherever the fight happens, you know, I'm a fighter. I'm not going to worry about anything else but getting in the ring and fighting.

BT: Yeah, that's a good fight. That's a great scrap. If Oscar told you to say "Ricky Hatton" then Ricky Hatton is still probably fighting I'm sure.

JD: Well, only time will tell. There's so many great fights out there at lightweight and super lightweight and I'm ready. I'm ready to face those guys. I just gotta get back in the ring and tune-up my skills a little better and just learn as the months go by and just keep learning more and more and more to perfect my style.

BT: Well I don't want to hold you up champ. Again, congratulations on the win. I'll definitely hit you up after the Mayweather-Marquez fight to get your take on that. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans in closing?

JD: Well, I want to thank all the fans all around the country, especially here in Houston, Texas, for showing great support for me. I understand that Rocky wasn't on the card and I wasn't fighting another Juan Manuel Marquez, but we still had about 7500 to 8000 people here to support me. It was an amazing crowd and I want to thank them. I want to tell my fans to stay tuned because I expect big things at the end of this year or maybe next year. It all depends. I think there's a championship fight coming pretty soon my way.

[ Follow Ben Thompson on Twitter @fighthype ]

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