Tag Archives: David Diaz

Pacquiao’s Speed No Match for Slower Diaz

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

LAS VEGAS – “If you guys give me the license plate of the truck that hit me, I’d appreciate it.”

The crowd in the media room laughed but it wasn’t funny. It was a reality.

The quote was David Diaz’s sarcastic opening statement in the post fight press conference. His pale face bruised blue and battered red. He had a large black gash from the coagulated blood over his right eye that required stitches, another one above his nose and a swollen left lip the size of a quarter. In fact, just minutes before, Diaz was laid out face fi rst on the canvas like a truck really did come in and hit him.

But this truck’s name was Manny Pacquiao and he even stopped and offered him a hand.

“Today, was the day we lost, no excuses,” said Diaz. “That [expletive] was fast. He came in pretty good. He’s a champion. He’s a good fighter; my respect and my hats off to him.”

The Super Featherweight Champion Pacquiao, the fighting pride of the Philippines, came out fast and strong demolishing the Mexican American Diaz for nine solid rounds in front of 8,362 mostly Filipino crowds at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, last Saturday night.

Pacquiao captured Diaz’s World Boxing Council’s [WBC] Lightweight title, making him the first Asian and Filipino to win four world titles in four different weight divisions. He also continued his streak of besting Mexican opponents.

After starting his career at the age of 16 as a 106-pound strawweight, there were reservations whether Pacquiao would be able to stand up to the former Olympian Diaz at 135 pounds. Last Saturday, those who doubted were obviously wrong.

“I feel very comfortable in that weight,” said Pacquiao. “I feel stronger at 135.” And it showed.

If Pacquiao were a truck, he would have finished Diaz off with one swift punch. It was too bad for Diaz. Pacquiao’s not a truck and Diaz took a pounding all nightlong.

It was a beautiful massacre for those who follow the sweet science. At times, painful to watch but artistically well performed.

From the opening bell, Pacquiao danced and threw combinations while eluding Diaz’s looping left hooks. Right, right jab, left cross, in-and-out, Pacquiao moved. He swayed left. He swayed right. Pacquiao might as well have been doing the waltz.

Towards the end of the first round, blood was already dripping from the top of Diaz’s nose.

It was a sign of things to come.

By the mid-rounds, Pacquiao continued to land his combinations at a ferocious rate. He parried Diaz’s attacks. His counter right hands were accurately timed. He showed poised and patience. He danced like a butterfly around Diaz, and stung like a bee ala Muhammed Ali.

As a result, Diaz’s face was flush red. His white trunks were soaked pink from the dripping blood. Diaz had a cut above his nose, a gash above his right eye, black eye in his left, and a swollen left lip. The cut above Diaz’s right eye was so serious it required a number of mid-round doctor stoppages.

It was truly a bloody mess, a one-sided affair.

The crowd wondered when referee Vic Drakulich would stop the fight.

Pacquiao admits he wondered about that too.

“There was one round [when] I told the referee, ‘look at this guy, he has a bad cut. You need to stop this fight.’ The referee told me no and to continue.”

The Chicago native son, Diaz continued to fight on. It was a resilient Rocky I performance. He trudged towards Pacquiao lunging punches but to no avail.

Finally, the 32-year-old succumbed to the beating. Pacquiao’s speed was just too much for the slower Diaz.

In the 2:24th minute of the ninth round, Pacquiao landed a perfectly timed left hook to Diaz’s iron jaw. Diaz face planted the canvas before rolling over on his back. Referee Drakulich didn’t bother to count and waved the fight off immediately. As a sign of good faith, Pacquiao on his way to the corner tried to help the ailing Diaz before celebrating.

“He’s so fast. I had no idea,” said Diaz. “Fast, fast, fast. Amazingly, fast. He’s just faster than I expected. I got tricked by his speed.”

“Manny’s best performance of his life,” said Trainer Freddie Roach. “We fought a great fight. We had a great game plan… this was the best Pacquiao yet. At 135 pounds, he looks great.” Roach said coming into the fight, he was cautious of the stronger Diaz.

“We knew Diaz is a strong guy,” he added. “If we stood there and traded with him, we knew it would give him a chance to win the fight. It was better to hit him then step off to the side before landing a combination. And it worked perfectly.”

The 29-year-old Filipino improves his record to (47-3-2, 35 KOs).

Pacquiao said that this fight meant more to him not just because he made boxing history but wanted to win for his kababayans at home.

“I’m just so happy that I made history,” said Pacquiao. “I’m really glad I won this fight. I dedicate this [win] to my countrymen that suffered from the typhoon [Fengshen]. I’m just really happy that I won tonight.”


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Manny Talks to the Asian Journal

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

LOS ANGELES – As the gentle waves of the Pacific Ocean break across the Santa Monica beach and a smooth calm breeze cools hundreds of onlookers, the Pride of the Philippines Manny Pacquiao stood solemnly along the Mariasol Cocina Mexicana restaurant porch with a horde of media clamoring for his attention.

The 29-year-old speaks slowly and softly. He stands with a sort of innocence about him ignoring his surroundings. The calming and relaxing beach scene is quite a contrasting image to the hectic media onslaught that all converged for Pacquiao. (Not to discredit Pacquiao’s opponent David Diaz, but he’s never experienced this kind of media attention in any of his previous fights.)

His quiet nature is also a discrepancy in Pacquiao’s own life. From the outside, he’s a gentle human being who would always take the time to sign a boxing glove or take a picture with a fan. But inside him is a competitive fire, one that burns and drives Pacquiao to success in the boxing ring.

He knows his spot in boxing history is solidified. Come Saturday, June 28, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Pacquiao can further enhance his stranglehold in the below welterweight division in boxing. A win against David Diaz, a formidable opponent, will take Pacquiao’s popularity to greater heights.

The three-time World Division champion (four titles if you count the 126-pound Ring Magazine title), Pacquiao has his eyes set on Diaz’s WBC Lightweight (135-pounds) Title. He would become the first ever Asian and Filipino boxer to accomplish such feat.

Looking at Pacquiao now with a ripped toned body similar to Bruce Lee’s, it’s hard to imagine that he started out as a scrawny 16-year-old strawweight of 106-pounds hailing from General Santos, Philippines.

At the age of 19, Pacquiao captured his first of three titles after knocking out Chatchai Sasakul of Thailand for the WBC Flyweight title. He then went up in weight and won the WBC International Superbantamweight title, and most recently, the WBC Super Featherweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez.

Top Rank President Bob Arum said that Pacquiao’s attempt to move up in weight for the world title should be even more reason why fans should come out and watch this “historic” fight.

“Moving up in weight is hard because nobody does that anymore,” said Top Rank President Bob Arum. “These aren’t Mickey Mouse belts. All four belts will be World Boxing Council belts, which arguably are the most important belts.

“Come Saturday, we’re going to see Manny make possibly history if he beats David Diaz.”

This fight also marks the first time Pacquiao will have the label “pound-4-pound” top boxer. Ring Magazine, the bible of boxing, bestowed the Filipino with the honor after Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his retirement.

Trainer Freddie Roach said he and Pacquiao would need to prove that moniker.

“To be pound-4-pound the best boxer in the world, we’re going to need to knock Diaz out,” said Roach.

What are Pacquiao’s thoughts about this historic fight? Recently, Pacquiao sat down with the Asian Journal to discuss his fight against Diaz and future in boxing.

Asian Journal: Four world titles in four-weight division. What does that accomplishment mean to you?

MP: It’s a big honor for me to get four title belts in four different divisions. It’s a very big deal. Being the first Asian and Filipino is even a bigger honor because nobody has done it before.

AJ: Everybody is expecting you to win this fight against David Diaz. How do you prevent yourself from underestimating your opponent?

MP: For me, I’m not underestimating him. Everybody thinks this is going to be an easy fight. This is a hard fight. Diaz is a good fighter and better boxer. I’m training hard because this is going to be a tough fight.

AJ: Since you are moving up in weight, do you think you can carry your speed and punching power over to the next division?

MP: Yes. I think I can do that. I’m still fast and the power will still be there. I just need to maintain my conditioning.

AJ: Diaz is a bigger fighter than you. Many boxing experts expect Diaz to attack your body. Are you doing anything to work against that?

MP: I’ve been preparing very hard on my body. (Pacquiao does over 1,000 reps of sit-ups in the morning and the afternoon). Both of my ribs (midsection) feel strong.

AJ: There’s a lot of talk that after this fight with Diaz, you’re going to move up in weight to 140-pounds to fight Ricky Hatton. Are there talks underway with the Hatton camp about a possible fight?

MP: There’s a lot of conversation with Hatton but I don’t pay attention to that. That’s my promoter’s job. Whatever decisions my promoter chooses I’ll do it. [But] We will talk about it (a Hatton fight) after this fight. Right now, I’m concentrating against Diaz.

AJ: Lastly, your friend Oscar De La Hoya recently announced that he is going to retire after his next fight, you’ve heard that Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his retirement, is there a possibility that you are going to retire early?

MP: I don’t know. It’s hard to tell. As long as I have power in my punch and I can still box, I’ll continue my boxing career.


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Pacquiao and Diaz Have Much to Prove

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – Mexican American boxer David Diaz sat uncomfortably next to the brown podium squirming like a child who cannot sit straight. He put his head down on the table. He hunched over and covered his face with his hands. At times, his trainer Jim Strickland would rub his back sensing his fighter’s nervous energy.

His nervousness wasn’t because his next opponent Manny Pacquiao sat across from him. Diaz is just not used to all this media attention.

“Obviously, I haven’t been covered this much,” said Diaz, the World Boxing Council (WBC) Lightweight Champion. “I don’t like this. I don’t like the media. I don’t like it. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t do this. We would just stick to training and that would be it. If I can be in the gym or do something else that’s what I’d rather be doing; not be in the media.”

Diaz better get used to it. He is fighting perhaps one of the most celebrated and popular fighters in Philippine boxing history. Pacquiao is like blood in the water when it comes to the media feeding frenzy. Diaz, is more like  a fish out of water when it comes to the attention.

Diaz and Pacquiao met for the first time on Tuesday at a crowded Downtown press conference announcing their championship bout at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas set for June 28. Diaz will defend his WBC Lightweight Championship bout.

Despite being the bigger fighter (Pacquiao has to move up to 135 pounds) and carrying one of the premiere championship belts in the division, Diaz is an overwhelming underdog in the bout.

Diaz has two knocks against him coming into the fight – he’s Mexican and will be in his first high profile fight.

“Manny Pacquiao has beaten many great fighters, especially Mexicans like [Erik] Morales, [Marco Antonio] Barrera, [Juan Manuel] Marquez, [Oscar] Larios, and [Jorge] Solis,” said Diaz, a Chicago native. “That’s why they call him the ‘Mexicutioner.’”

“My fight with Manny Pacquiao is by far the biggest fight in my career, the toughest in my career,” he added. “It’s a fight that every fighter should want to have and every fighter needs so he can prove himself that he belongs to be with the best.”

While Diaz squirmed around the media, to his right sat a confident Pacquiao with his back straight, flashing a wide grin. Pacquiao relished the moment despite having a paparazzi style crowd photograph his every movement.

For Pacquiao, this fight is about solidifying his boxing legacy.

After capturing the WBC Super featherweight title against Marquez in a grueling battle last month, a win against Diaz would give the Filipino boxer four world titles in four different weight classes. He would be the first Filipino and Asian boxer to ever accomplish the feat. It’s the reason why he and Top Rank President Bob Arum opted not to pursue a Marquez III rematch – right away.

“I’ve said it before if you know what you’re doing as a promoter, you don’t do a rematch right away,” said Arum. “You let Manny fight a tough fight against Diaz. Marquez can fight a Nate Campbell and then next year they can fight each other. It’ll be a much more interesting fight.”

Despite the favorable odds, Arum knows Pacquiao’s fight against Diaz won’t be easy.

“[Trying to win four titles] is a big task but that’s the mountain that he set to climb,” he said. “David Diaz is a rough and tough guy who throws a lot of punches, who doesn’t get discouraged and is dangerous throughout the fight.”

Pacquiao said that he matches up well against Diaz. He expects an all action-packed bout come fight night.

“He’s a good fighter because he’s going to fight toe-to-toe,” said Pacquiao. “And that’s what I want – to fight toe-to-toe… I need to win this fight because I’ll be the first Filipino/ Asian fighter to win four championships in four different weight divisions.”

Trainer Freddie Roach is cautiously optimistic approaching the Diaz match. Roach said that Pacquiao can knockout Diaz if he sticks to the game plan, something he didn’t do especially in the last Marquez match.

“Diaz is a very strong durable guy. He’s not a knockout artist but he’s physically strong. He uses his elbows and shoulders when he gets inside,” said Roach. “I was just talking to Manny about that. I said, ‘Manny the way to beat this guy is to keep on your toes similar to the Marquez fight.’ We have to do that all fight long.’

Roach is going to be sure to stress the power of Pacquiao’s right hand.

“He’s fighting against a southpaw so we’ll use the right hand as a good counterpunch against Diaz,” added Roach.

Meanwhile, Diaz said he expects Pacquiao’s punching power to lessen as he moves up in weight.

“I will shock the world and beat Pacquiao at his own game, power for power. He’s a great champion but he’s fighting in my division – lightweight,” he said. “I have worked too hard for this world title and I will not give it up to him.”

“I have nothing but utmost respect for him but we plan on keeping the WBC lightweight championship belt,” he added. “I’m sorry to tell you guys that especially to the Filipino people. I’m sorry. I just can’t allow that. That’s just in me. I don’t want to lose, I’m going to pray not to lose, I’m going to work out so I don’t lose, I’m going to run, eat, train and think of Manny Pacquiao from now on.”


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