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Mike Alvarado and Juan Diaz in action on March 19 in Houston, TX

alvarado665By Dan Ambrose: Former WBO light welterweight champion Mike Alvarado (34-4, 23 KOs) and former IBF/WBA/WBO lightweight Juan Diaz (40-4, 19 KOs) will be sharing the same card in separate fights next month on March 19 in Houston, Texas.

Houston native Diaz will be in the main event. Alvarado will be competing in the co-feature bout. Hopefully both fighters don’t disappoint the local boxing fans that will be showing up to see them perform.

The opponents for Alvarado and Diaz are still unknown at this point, but they’re not likely to be world beaters because both guys are trying to get back to fighting at the world level after missing a lot of action.

Alvarado, 35, was stopped in the 3rd round last year in January 2015 by Brandon Rios. Alvarado hasn’t fought since then. He looked terrible in that fight, as if he hadn’t trained properly. That was Alvarado’s fourth defeat in his last five fights. Before losing to Rios, he had been beaten by Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez in addition to another loss to Rios in 2012.

It’s going to be difficult for Alvarado to be able to comeback to the level he was at years ago. He was a pretty good light welterweight several years years ago. His last good performance was his 12 round decision win over Rios in March 2013. However, since that fight, Alvarado has looked poor in losing to Provodnikov, Juan Manuel Marquez and Rios in three consecutive losses.

For a four year before, Diaz was considered by some to be the best lightweight in the world from 2004 to 2008. Diaz, now 32, is no longer the young fighter that beat the likes of Acelino Freitas, Julio Diaz, Michael Katsidis and Paulie Malignaggi. Diaz stopped fighting from 2010 to 2013.

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Diaz had a shoulder problem that sidelined his comeback last year in keeping him out of the ring for the entire year. The layoff obviously isn’t going to help Diaz, and he’s going to need to take it slow in building back up to where he was before the shoulder injury. Diaz will need to get back into the rankings if he wants to get a crack at a world title.

Since making a comeback in 2013, Diaz has won his last five fights against lower level opposition. He’s looked good, but it’s taken him some time to get back to the form that he had in the past. The question now is whether Diaz still has enough left in the tank to compete against the best lightweights in the world. If so, then Diaz will need to be able to compete against the likes of Jorge Linares, Terry Flanagan, Rances Barthelemy, Anthony Crolla, Felix Verdejo, Ismael Barroso, Ricky Burns, and Yuriorkis Gamboa.

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Those would be very tough fights for a guy like Diaz, who isn’t hard to hit. It would be in Diaz’s best interest to go for the weakest lightweight champion of the bunch rather than the best. I would say that Diaz should target Crolla for his WBA title, but he’ll likely be beaten by Barroso in the near future. Diaz should probably stay away from Barroso because he’s a dangerous guy.

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