Manny Pacquiao knocked out Mexican-American David Diaz in the 9th round to grab the WBC lightweight championship in Las Vegas and become the first Asian to hold four different titles at different weights and the first Filipino to hold the crown. Even the late, great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde failed in his 2 attempts to wrest the world lightweight crown.
An animated Diaz, surprising for someone who just kissed the canvas, admitted after the fight that he never saw Pacquiao’s right-left jab combination coming and walked right into it. Diaz was lavish in his praise of Pacquiao. Manny won it on speed and accuracy, rather than power, putting to rest speculations that he might have slowed down as he went up a heavier weight class. He also mixed a solid body attack with combination shots to the head, but the sturdy Diaz refused to go down. Until the decisive 9th round.
It was a battle of lefties, and Manny outfoxed Diaz by coming out with his “secret weapon”, a crushing right jab which he followed with his left, thereby putting his opponent off guard. Pacquiao first snapped Diaz’s head with a mean right jab, moved in closer to his opponent and unleashed a 1-2 combo capped by a powerful left cross that decked Diaz. In Diaz’ words:
He was fucking fast, I didn’t see [the left hand] coming.
Boxing writers have dubbed Pacquiao the “Mexecutioner“, for obvious reasons.
Pacquio’s stock has undoubtedly risen with this latest victory and pound-for-pound, is now the most prized and marketable boxer on the planet. As I write this, he’s having his picture taken with his fans, the stars of the NBA champs Boston Celtics.
Pacquiao is an ardent Celtics fan and predicted the Celtics would win the NBA Finals behind Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. The C’s repaid that faith by watching the match and cheering for him.
What’s next for the PacMan ? Promoter Bob Arum has in mind Edwin Valero, the undefeated (24-0, 24 KOs) power-punching WBA super featherweight champion. Trainer Freddy Roach thinks he should move up to 140 pounds and take on Brit Ricky “the Hitman” Hatton, in what promises to be a blockbuster match-up.
The AP/Canadian Press on Manny’s coronation:
The WBC lightweight title belt looked perfectly natural hanging off Manny Pacquiao’s shoulder after he battered David Diaz.
That invisible crown on his head seemed like a perfect fit as well.
From the first too-quick combination to the decisive left cross to the jaw, Pacquiao’s ninth-round TKO victory at the Mandalay Bay Events Center also seemed to be a coronation. Most observers left the fight convinced the Filipino star deserves the unofficial honour of being known as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, even if Pacquiao himself still doesn’t care about that particular title.
“It is not for me to say,” Pacquiao said. “I just want the fans to be happy with me.”
With a championship belt in his fourth weight class and a landmark victory in his fifth division, Pacquiao showed he’s only getting better as he gets bigger. The next few years will determine just how big he can get as he embarks on what’s sure to be an eventful tour of the talented lightweight division – with perhaps an incredibly lucrative side trip to junior welterweight for a fight against Ricky Hatton.
Columnist Beth Celis on the possibility that Pacquiao would retire next year.
Ricky Hatton wants a bout with Pacquiao before retiring.
Manny hates to lose at anything, says he has given up drinking and gambling in favor of surfing the internet.
Pacman-Diaz: ROUND 9 Pacquiao’s POWER UNLEASHED KO’s Diaz