By Geoffrey Ciani: With the recent “retirement” of Floyd Mayweather Junior, Manny Pacquiao has inherited the highly coveted “Pound-for-Pound King” label, and rightly so.
After all, he has already gotten the best of three Mexican legends (Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Juan Manuel Marquez), which in itself, warrants consideration for a top spot on the Pound-for-Pound charts. With Mayweather supposedly out of the picture (at least for the time being), Pacquiao is the natural heir to the throne (although, I suspect numerous Calzaghe fans might respectfully disagree).
It is rather interesting that Pacquiao has been elevated to such a status immediately prior to what might well be the toughest challenge of his illustrious career. The newly crowned P4P King will be making his 135 pound debut against WBC lightweight champion, David Diaz in just over a week. Even though Diaz is a huge underdog who lacks the star power of the aforementioned trio of Mexican legends, this should prove to be a tougher challenge for the Filipino pugilist than many seem to realize. In fact, I believe this one might not be the foregone conclusion that many suspect.
The biggest questions entering this contest for Pacquiao are:
1. How will he carry the extra five pounds?
2. Is he taking Diaz too lightly?
Pacquiao is best known for his explosive power and relentless pressure, and although I think it will be somewhat diminished in the jump to 135, I still reckon he will carry enough wallop to easily obtain Diaz’s respect. That would seem to suggest that the biggest issue is whether or not he is taking Diaz too lightly? Again, I tend to view things favorably for Pacquiao—I do not believe he is taking David Diaz too lightly. With Pacquiao’s celebrity status in his native land, questions often arise pertaining to his focus, with all of the distractions constantly placed before him, and yet, Pacquiao has never succumbed to such distractions. Indeed, he always enters the ring and top form and always does what is necessary in his preparations to give himself his best chance at winning.
In total, this all seems to indicate that a Pacquiao victory is the most likely outcome, and it probably is. However, there is something to be said about a fighter’s level of “hunger”, and in recent years, David Diaz seems very determined to advance his career. When he was pitted against Jose Armando Santa Cruz, most observers viewed this as a coronation for Santa Cruz, and few expected Diaz to be triumphant. Things unfolded ‘according to plan’ with Santa Cruz well ahead on the scorecards, until a sensational left uppercut turned the tide, paving the way for a Diaz victory. In his subsequent fight, he defeated Erik Morales in another fight many expected him to lose.
If Diaz comes in with the same type of determination he has exhibited in recent contests, it would not surprise me if he pulled off the upset. Whether or not he will remains to be seen, but if he does some how manage to find a way to continue winning, we will soon be crowning another new P4P King in the form of one Joe Calzaghe.
This article was also published at East Side Boxing