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What Does Pacquiao Prove By Beating Diaz?

pacquiao44455.jpgBy Nate Anderson: As this Saturday’s bout between Manny Pacquiao (46-3-2, 35 KOs) and David Diaz (34-1-1, 17 KOs) draws closer, I find myself wondering what’s the point in Pacquiao even wasting his time by moving up and fighting Diaz for his WBC lightweight title. There seems to be no logic to it, since Diaz is largely unknown to most boxing fans, only recently picking up some small notoriety with his narrow 12-round unanimous decision over a badly over-the-hill Erik Morales, who was fighting out of his weight class and had lost four out of his last five fights going into his bout with the bigger Diaz, in August 2007.

Even with those conditions seemingly in his favor, Diaz barely beat Morales. Pacquiao, for his part, had made easy work of Morales in the same time frame, stopping him not once but twice with relative ease. That alone seems to suggest that Diaz is in for big trouble against Pacquiao on Saturday night. Unlike Morales, Diaz has little boxing ability and tends to live solely by his ability to slug it out with his opponents on the inside. His hand speed is poor to say the least, his footwork slow, as if he’s fighting in a big pile of wet sand, and his defense is also quite poor. No matter what way you want to look at this fight, there are no assets that Diaz has with which to deal with Pacquiao’s greater speed, power, work rate, movement and overall boxing skills.

Yet in terms of popularity as a fighter, Diaz doesn’t match up with Pacquiao, or any number of other fighters with which Pacquiao could have chosen from. It seems frankly odd that Pacquiao, instead of fighting a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez, whom he beat on very questionable terms in their recent fight on March 15th, has chosen the mostly unknown Diaz. Sure, some will say he is well known, but he really isn’t, not compared to Marquez, Ricky Hatton or Edwin Valero, fighters that Pacquiao should have been attempting to fight instead of Diaz.

If Pacquiao’s main interest was moving up and claiming a belt in the lightweight division, then why not face the top lightweights in the division like Nate Campbell or Joel Casamayor rather than the champion that is considered to be the weaker of the bunch, in Diaz. I have my guesses why Pacquiao chose Diaz and not those fighters. It’s sad, and so is the fact that he chose not to fight Marquez. What a waste. I see this fight as nothing but a big hole for Pacquiao to stick his head in, wasting time and avoiding something that he needs to do, namely prove that he’s better than Marquez.

So far, he’s fought Marquez twice, earning a draw in 2004, and winning by a controversial split decision in March. In both cases, most boxing fans are in agreement that Marquez should have been awarded the decision. It seems pretty cut dried for anyone that has watched the fight. Marquez looked to have on by a comfortable margin. I couldn’t live with myself if I was the one that one under those kind of conditions, for I would want to prove to myself that I’m the better fighter.

Unfortunately, Pacquiao has shown no such interest and appears to be comfortable his controversial wins. I don’t see too many more wins out there for Pacquiao should he decide upon moving up beyond the lightweight division. He’s simply too short, small and weak compared to the bigger super lightweights, all of which I see easily beating Pacquiao by knockout. I suspect he’ll only fight once in that division, fighting Hatton sometime next year. It will give Pacquiao a huge payday, no doubt the best of his career, with which to heal his wounded pride after he gets brutally knocked out by Hatton.

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