DIAZ ENTERTAINS PACQUIAO FANS
MANILA, JUNE 2, 2008 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao let his gloves do the talking Saturday as his trainer Freddie Roach and opponent David Diaz traded jabs at the West Wind High School in Berkeley, California.
Pacquiao and Diaz, who will lock horns on June 28 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, were in the Bay Area to promote the fight, separately holding open workouts before a packed gym.
Diaz was first to climb the ring, doing his stuff before a dominant Filipino crowd, which gave the reigning WBC lightweight champion a warm, friendly welcome.
Diaz, according to the Associated Press, played with the crowd, at one time pretending to cut his workout, and saying, “If you show too much, then Manny knows too much.”
Later on he took the microphone and jokingly addressed the crowd.
“I know you guys really came here to see me and not Manny,” eliciting laughter. “I know most people don’t give me a chance, but I know I can do it, and my corner knows, and that’s all that matters.”
Diaz said he’s ready for anything even as Roach had boldly predicted a knockout win for Pacquiao who is aiming to become the first Filipino to win the world lightweight crown.
A few days ago, Diaz said he’s training in such a way that if Pacquiao throws three punches, he’d counter with four. But Roach said that won’t happen because if his ward lands three (straight) punches, Diaz would go down.
Shortly after the public workout Diaz said, “It’s not Roach I’m fighting. But should they elect to go for it, I’ll be there for sure to return their firepower.”
“People can underestimate me all they want,” he said. “I don’t think Manny underestimates me, but we’ll see next month.”
Pacquiao got up the ring at around noon and treated his fans to a great show.
“My fans are very important to me, especially the fans in San Francisco and the Bay Area,” Pacquiao said in the AP report. “I fight for them, and they always support me, even when I lived in California.”
He worked the mitts with Roach, and was impressive with both his quickness and strength. Then he treated his friends at the Skates by the Bay restaurant where the boxer feasted on steak and rice.
Pacquiao resumes training at the Wild Card Gym on Monday, and should be back sparring T-TH-S, after a change in schedule last week to give way to the Bay Area promotional gig.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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