MANILA, MARCH 29, 2008
(STAR) By Joaquin Henson - Newly crowned WBC superfeatherweight champion Manny Pacquiao is establishing a legacy that will likely be unsurpassed in his lifetime and wresting the WBC lightweight crown from David Diaz to become the first Asian to win four titles in different divisions is a major step in rewriting history.

Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz told The STAR the other day in a phone call from Los Angeles that promoter Bob Arum is looking forward to staging the milestone bout against Diaz in Las Vegas on June 28.

Pacquiao is expected to confer with Arum in Los Angeles or Las Vegas in mid-April to finalize details of his next fight.

“Diaz is tailor-made for Manny,” said Koncz. “He swings wide, he bends his head down, he fights straight up and he’s not a huge power puncher. It’ll be a good test for Manny to find out how he’ll do as a lightweight. Manny came in weighing 146 for (Juan Manuel) Marquez and he’s been struggling to make 130 so the move up is timely. It’ll be another big money fight for Manny.”

Koncz was hesitant to speculate what could be next for Pacquiao after Diaz. WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight champion Nate Campbell has been mentioned as an option before the year ends in Macau. Even Marquez was suggested as a candidate.

But if Koncz has his way, Marquez will be ruled out.

“Marquez should’ve lost by split decision in their first fight and a judge admitted he made a mistake in scoring a draw instead of a one-point advantage for Manny,” said Koncz. “I don’t think there was any controversy in the second fight, except in the minds of Marquez’ people. Because of their styles, every time Manny and Marquez fight, it’ll always be close. Why give Marquez a chance to win? Marquez is begging for a third fight because he’s got nowhere else to go for a big purse. He’s 34 and from where I sit, Manny’s beaten him twice.”

Diaz, 31, has a 34-1-1 record, with 17 KOs. His only setback was a knockout loss to Kendall Holt three years ago. Diaz is coming off an unimpressive win by majority decision over Ramon Montano in the Pacquiao-Marquez undercard two weeks ago.

Campbell, 36, beat Juan Diaz by split decision to capture the WBA, IBF and WBO titles in Cancun last March 8. His record is 32-5-1, with 25 KOs. His losses were to Joel Casamayor, Robbie Peden twice by knockout, Francisco Lorenzo by split decision and Isaac Hlatswayo by split decision.

Casamayor, 36, is the WBO interim titlist and also in the queue for a Pacquiao meal ticket. The Cuban defector halted previously unbeaten Michael Katsidis last week to surface as a worthy opponent. His record is 36-3-1, with 22 KOs. Casamayor has never been stopped but dropped split decisions to Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales and a unanimous verdict to Acelino Freitas.

Invading the lightweight division will mean using 10-ounce gloves if the fight is in Nevada but Koncz said it won’t make a difference because Pacquiao’s power will remain potent.

Pacquiao has used eight-ounce gloves since turning pro as a 105-pounder in 1995. His power never diminished when moving up to flyweight, superbantamweight, featherweight and superfeatherweight.

There have been three Filipino world lightweight champions in history – Amado Cabato of the International Boxing Organization (IBO), Andy Ganigan of the World Athletic Association (WAA) and Miguel Arrozal of the World Boxing Board (WBB) – but their reigns were not recognized by any of the four major governing bodies – WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO.

Former world superfeatherweight or junior lightweight champion Flash Elorde tried unsuccessfully to dethrone lightweight titleholder Carlos Ortiz twice. Other Filipinos who failed in bids to win the 135-pound belt were Bert Somodio, Dindo Canoy and Randy Suico. Ganigan attempted to annex the WBC belt but was knocked out by Alexis Arguello in 1982.

Marquez or Hatton next in line after Diaz By Abac Cordero Saturday, March 29, 2008

A race could develop between Juan Manuel Marquez and Ricky Hatton should Manny Pacquiao get past David Diaz in their scheduled bout on June 28 in Las Vegas.

Freddie Roach, trainer of the WBC super-featherweight champion from the Philippines, looks like he’s torn between Marquez and Diaz as Pacquiao’s next opponent

That’s after Diaz – of course.

“We want to fight him (Marquez) again,” Roach told Ron Borges of Sweet Science recently. “Pacquiao and Marquez will meet again and it won’t take four years this time.’’

Roach feels that business was left unfinished when Pacquiao defeated Marquez last March 15 in Vegas by the slimmest of margins, a split decision that raised some questions.

“It was too close. A lot of people think Marquez won and rightfully so. It was very close. It could have gone either way. There’s controversy. I still don’t like controversy,” said Roach.

He said a third fight between the two great warriors, at any weight agreeable to both, would be just as close.

“If those guys fought 10 times in a row there would be one point between them either way. They’re both such good fighters and they come in such great shape they know what the other guy’s capable of,” he said.

Still, Roach couldn’t get his mind off a big fight with the bigger Hatton of England.

“My dream fight for Manny is with Ricky Hatton at 140. That would be a great fight for Manny,” said Roach of Hatton, 29, who fights Jun Lazacano of Mexico on May 24 in Manchester.

It will be for the IBO light-welterweight title, and it comes after Hatton lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. via TKO last December for the WBC welterweight crown.

Roach said Hatton should be a good fight for Pacquiao, too. “Hatton’s not that big a guy and with their styles it would be all action but Golden Boy (which has signed Hatton) already told me they’re going in a different direction with Hatton.

“They told me not to even think about it but if Manny wins the title at 135 it would make a fight with Hatton at 140 legitimate. Boxing purists love Juan Manuel Marquez because he’s so technically sound,” said Roach.

But a Hatton-Pacquiao is just as good, according to Roach.

“Hatton-Pacquiao would be more of a brawl but fans would love it. It would just be for that one fight. We certainly wouldn’t stay at 140, that’s for sure,” he said.

If Hatton comes first, and it could come sometime in November, Roach said Marquez should wait.

After Hatton, Pacquiao should slide down to the lightweight division (135 lbs) where Marquez should “be waiting” and willing to face the Filipino a third time, even at a catch weight of 133 lbs.

There’s just too many things in store for Pacquiao.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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