Pacquiao Leaning Towards Diaz As Next Opponent

21.11.07 - By Matthew Hurley: According to sources at the Manila Times, Manny Pacquiao has decided to fight World Boxing Council lightweight champion David Diaz in his next bout. Pacquiao had flown to the United States to spend the Thanksgiving Holiday with Promoter Bob Arum and to go over proposed contracts for his return to the ring. The two opponents at the top of the list were Diaz and World Boxing Council super featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez whom Pacquiao fought to a draw back in 2004 ..

Diaz became, what appears to be the final choice of camp Pacquiao, after Marquez’s recent somewhat lackluster victory over Rocky Juarez and the third potential opponent Joan Guzman’s less than scintillating performance over Humberto Soto. Diaz himself is coming of a spirited but slightly controversial victory over Mexican icon Erik Morales in August. In that fight, one of the better matches of the year, Diaz again revealed that not only is he a fun fighter to watch but that his pressure style and limited defensive capabilities leave him open to counter punches. Morales dropped him with a wicked right hand counter punch off the ropes in the first round and the two then fought evenly for the remainder of the bout. Diaz threw more punches while Morales’ connects were more accurate. The Chicago based fighter then called out Pacquiao, who represents the biggest payday for any fighter in the super featherweight/lightweight divisions.

“I would love to fight Pacquiao,” he said after the Morales victory. “He would be fighting for another world title and I would get the opportunity to prove I’m the best lightweight out there.”

Diaz’s trainer Jim Strickland concurred. “That would be my choice of a fight. And with those two guys going at each other like Billy goats, it would be another great fight for the fans.”

On paper Diaz would seem to be an easier mark than either Marquez or Guzman, but Manny has never fought at 135 pounds. He began his career as a flyweight, 112 pounds, and like every fighter who rises up in weight in search of multiple championships there is the danger of jumping up one weight class too many. For nearly every fighter who has moved up, no matter how hard a puncher and how fast, the returns against bigger, stronger men become less and less.

Guzman and Marquez represent different problems for Pacquiao and both have the boxing skills to frustrate the Filipino superstar. Marquez in particular has already proven that his skills keep him on an even playing field with Manny after their spirited draw. An immediate rematch seemed to be an absolute must but Marquez priced himself out of the bout. Since then he has signed on with Golden Boy Promotions and recently said that he would accept less money at the negotiating table in order to get Pacquiao back in the ring.

Arum insists that a fight with Marquez will come about eventually, possibly in July because Pacquiao has insisted that he wants to fight three times next year. The first time will be in March and the opportunity to win another championship is something Pacquiao has expressed keen interest in. So a Diaz – Pacquiao showdown is being penciled in for March 18th, 2008. The venue for the bout has not yet been determined but indications are that it will not take place in Diaz’s hometown of Chicago as his fight with Morales did. Look for the bout to end up in Las Vegas.

Article posted on 22.11.2007

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