MANILA, JUNE 8, 2008
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - A huge win by Manny Pacquiao over David Diaz on June 28 in Las Vegas should settle the issue on who’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the planet today.

“It will depend on the outcome of this fight,” said Pacquiao’s ring adviser Wakee Salud yesterday when news broke out that Floyd Mayweather Jr. had retired.

Mayweather is the welterweight champion of the world, and prior to his sudden retirement has held on to the pound-for-pound title.

Now the question is: Who takes over?

“A big win, a sensational win by Manny over Diaz should provide the answer. Besides, I don’t see any other fighter coming close to Pacquiao who is number two on the list.

“But there’s another question that should be asked. Is this retirement for real? There’s too much money to be made that’s why I still doubt whether Mayweather is really retiring,” said Salud.

Mayweather reportedly earned more than $50 million in his recent wins over Oscar dela Hoya and Ricky Hatton, and is in for an even bigger paycheck in a rematch with dela Hoya in September.

But for the meantime, while Mayweather is “once again” retired, Pacquiao finally laying a legitimate claim to the pound-for-pound list is there for the taking.

“I think the others are far behind. To me, it’s not Kelly Pavlik (middleweight) or Miguel Cotto (welterweight). I think Manny has proven more that these fighters,” Salud added.

But he forgot to mention Joe Calzaghe, the reigning and undefeated super-middleweight champion who is actually crowding Pacquiao up on the list.

The 29-year-old Pacquiao ranks second behind Mayweather, with Calzaghe next.

Fourth on the list is Cotto, followed by Juan Manuel Marquez, junior feather Israel Vasquez, junior feather Rafael Marquez, Pavlik, light-heavyweight Bernard Hopkins and middleweight Winky Wright.

The Cebuano-based boxing promoter said Mayweather’s retirement only raised the stakes for Pacquiao who’s moving up in weight to challenge Diaz for the WBC lightweight crown.

Salud said Pacquiao will try to win it all and become the first Asian boxer to win four crowns in different divisions, and the first Filipino to win the lightweight crown, and the pound-for-pound title.

“I think he’ll get them,” he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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