Alex "El Guero" Diaz is a barman as well as a whiskey guardian with Angel's Envy, and he's faced the type of familiar uphill battles that many in the industry know all too well. "I've been in the bar industry for five years, and I suppose my [health challenges] are the typical ones," he says.
"Long hours, with little sleep, and not much time to eat more than something unhealthy—and quickly at that," Diaz continues. "Coupled with the encouragement to use, and abuse, alcohol profusely—amongst other things—in what can easily become an extremely stressful environment. That's the reason we as a working culture are generally so unhealthy."
Prior to this, Diaz jokes he only had "informal experience" with the Sweet Science, and that he hasn't been keeping himself fighting fit, as they say. "This is the first time I've really been motivated to get fit since high school athletics," he says.
As a result, Diaz has been eager to receive real training. "I've been working hard, and I feel determined to win all the way," he says.
It's been a bit more daunting of a process than he anticipated though. "To be honest, when I signed up, I thought this was going to be a bit easier going than it is — take a couple of shots and box some friends," Diaz says. "It turns out it's a lot more involved and I feel like that has been a fun challenge to rise to."
To meet the challenge, he sees his strengths behind the bar playing out in the squared circle as well. "I think my ability to multitask, and to think creatively on the fly will serve me well both behind the bar and in the ring," Diaz says. "[And] a sort of natural toughness and ability to wait out long strenuous periods kind of prevails in the physical activity required in the ring."
He's not just coming in winging shots, either, El Guero is a man with a plan that he's bringing into the ring with him. "I've got to take advantage of my height and wingspan to keep my opponent at a distance until I can land some heavy blows in succession," Diaz says.
As for that nickname, it's a nod to his heritage. "I'm half white and half Mexican," Diaz says. "It's always been a unique dichotomy, being Mexican but always with the assumption from others that I was white. Guero literally means 'white one' or 'white guy' and my grandfather used to call my mother 'a guerita pecosa.' It just seemed to fit perfectly with the whole theme of things."
Now with the actual competition drawing closer, Diaz is simply ready for that bell to ring already. "It's really a combination of emotions—I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm confident, I'm f***ing scared out of my wits," he says. "I'm ready for the real competition, though, that's for sure. It's a feeling like waiting to take a hard test in school that you know you studied for, or being at the top of one of those big waterslides, you just want to take the plunge already."
In addition to gains in fitness, Diaz believes he'll come away with a few added bonuses as well. "An increased sense of determination," he says. "As our trainers are apt to say, 'who wants it more?' That and, ya know, if I don't have a bouncer sometime, I can rely on my new fists of fury."
And while he's not making any predictions, if you take it from Diaz, it sounds like he'll be the one who wants it more. "I'm going to fight hard, and the other guy better pray he can fight harder, or I'm going to win," he says.