by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
LAS VEGAS – The Pride of the Philippines will live up to this moniker come fight night Saturday. Win or lose, Manny Pacquiao announced that he would be fighting in honor of the survivors and victims of the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines last week.
“I feel sad about what happened,” said Pacquiao during Wednesday’s last press conference before the much-anticipated fight against David Diaz at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. “I’m just thankful to God that I’m in a position to help them. This fight is for them.”
Typhoon Fengshen capsized the seven-story Princess of the Stars ferry carrying about 900 people near Sibuyan Island in San Fernando, Romblon, Philippines last June 21. A little less than four-dozen people survived the typhoon, according to the Associated Press. More than 800 have yet to be found.
Pacquiao is known for fighting with the Filipino people in the back of his mind. His last match against Juan Manuel Marquez, he told the Asian Journal he would fight to help calm the situation against the Philippine government regarding the controversial ZTE broadband scandal. Prior to that, he ran for Congress hoping to be elected.
Pacquiao said that he would do whatever he could to help the victims.
“When I come back to the Philippines [after the fight] I’m going to help them any way I can,” he said.
Pacquiao also wanted to reassure those victims and survivors to keep praying.
“I just want to tell them to believe in God,” he added. “Pray to the Lord everything will be okay.”
Not to be outdone, David Diaz also dedicated his fight to a special somebody in his life. Diaz was about to breakdown in tears after he announced that he would dedicate this fight to his father.
“You know I just wanted to do it,” said Diaz to the Asian Journal. “My dad has been with me through everything. He’s the one who got me started in the sport of boxing. I owe everything to him.”
“He is Mexico,” added Diaz.
Diaz said that he announced the dedication because of the magnitude of the fight against Pacquiao. He wanted to let his father know just how special he is to his life.
“It’s true what I feel,” said Diaz. “I wasn’t being fake. I just wanted him to know that I’m fighting for him win or lose. Don’t get me wrong. We want to win.”
Diaz’s father was also on hand to witness his son’s declaration. How did the elder Diaz feel about the dedication?
“Muy Bien,” said the elder Diaz, who does not speak English.
Other Boxing Notes
Current IBF and IBO Flyweight Champion Nonito Donaire Jr., who was on hand at the press conference, said that he has left Gary Shaw Promotions and would most likely sign with Top Rank.
“He [Gary Shaw] wasn’t giving me any fights,” said Donaire Jr. about why he left his promotion.
Top Rank President Bob Arum made a more vague announcement regarding Donaire’s signing.
“Thursday, we will announce that we have signed another Filipino fighter,” he said to the media horde.
When pressed to discuss whom he was referring to, if in fact it was Donaire, Arum declined to discuss the matter further with the Asian Journal.
“No comment,” he said with a smile.
Donaire Jr. said that he was surprised hearing that news from Arum.
“I usually just let my manager take care of that,” said Donaire, believing he is whom Arum is referring to. “I won’t believe it until it happens. But I’m very excited.”
If Donaire signs with Top Rank, it would give the promotion company a solid Filipino championship lineup with Pacquiao headlining and upcoming Filipino prospect Bernabe Concepcion on the rise.
Roach Predicts Knockout
Trainer Freddie Roach expects Pacquiao to knockout Diaz in “less than nine rounds.”
Roach said that Pacquiao isn’t going to slug it out with the Chicago brawler. Rather, Pacquiao will use his speed and quickness to outbox the 31-year-old Mexican American champion.
“Manny’s in great shape,” said Roach. “We had a good solid seven-week training camp. Diaz is going to be tough. He’s a former Olympian and a World Champion and those things don’t happen by accident [but] I think Manny’s speed will be too much for him.”