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List of Articles by Edwin G. Espejo



PACQUIAO WATCH: Why a Diaz Will Be Next

By Edwin G. Espejo
PhilBoxing.com
17 Oct 2007



The die has been cast. Manny Pacquiao will be back atop the ring on March 1 next year in another HBO pay per view offering. The only missing links are that his opponent is yet to be named and the venue is yet to be settled.

Top Rank's Bob Arum made the announcement the other day and mentioned World Boxing Council (WBC) super featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez and titlist WBC lightweight David Diaz as possible opponents. Halfway across the globe, Manny however said he is raring to fight World Boxing Association super featherweight champion Edwin Valero next.

So many has been thrown into the mix that almost everybody is being mentioned as possible next Pacquiao foe. Bob Arum and Manny himself however virtually narrowed down the choices by making a short list.

Whoever gets the crack at a megabuck fight with Manny will largely depend on the promoters of the fighters in the short list.

Manny has definitely arrived as far as PPV ticket is concerned. His last five fights on HBO PPV generated over 15 million buys. Soon, he will surely cross over the 500,000 mark depending on the quality of his opponent.

A much awaited rematch with Marquez has all the elements of a drama and excitement after the two fought to a controversial draw in March 2004.

With erstwhile estranged promoters Golden Boy dela Hoya and Bob Arum smoking the pipe of peace, the chances of the fight becoming a reality increases with each passing of the day. Business-wise, however, Oscar dela Hoya and Bob Arum knew that for both fighters and the promoters to earn their guaranteed millions at the end of the day, the PPV buys should exceed the 350,000 mark.

If Marquez insists on taking the larger pie of the purse and the PPV cut arguing his case as the champion, then the fight is off and will have to take a little longer. So it is crucial for Marquez to get past Rocky Juarez on November 3, and perhaps another big ticket name in the super featherweight division to bolster his box-office stock. His last fight with Barrera fell way below the 350,000 benchmark for box office hit. His next title defense against Juarez is not even on PPV.

Venezuelan knockout artist Edwin Valero is often mentioned as one boxer that could give Manny a fight for his life. But knocking out nondescript opponents outside of the US where he is banned from fighting has largely confined Valero in the fringes of marquee fighters. So near and yet so far. So, there's no money in there although he too is a Golden Boy kid, if he only could fight in the US.

Triple lineal lightweight champion Juan Diaz has called Manny's name with hopes that his macho posturing will lure the Filipino southpaw into the ring. He was formerly promoted by Don King but is now a free agent. Negotiating an immediate fight with him will leave too many quarters to cover. Diaz, however, is too heavy and too soon for Manny who will be going five pounds north should he call the challenge. But undoubtedly, a Juan Diaz-Manny Pacquiao will be a mega-draw.

The other reigning Diaz champion, David, may have the inside track as far as fighting Manny next. He just beat Erik Morales, a two-time knockout victim of Manny. He is less dangerous than his namesake and he is also promoted by Bob Arum. David Diaz, however, is demanding a seven-figure purse to get a taste of Manny's power and dish his own against one of the most feared and most sought boxers in the featherweight and lightweight classes. With a little arm-twisting from Arum, Diaz could settle for six-figure purse somewhere up the $500,000 mark and a lesser cut of the PPV share.

Even if the PPV buys for a David Diaz-Manny Pacquiao bout will only hover around the 300,000 mark, Manny will still get his guaranteed pay plus a bigger cut of the PPV because there is no Golden Boy to share in the proceeds as what happened in his bout with Barrera.

In just of matter of weeks, Pacquiao's next opponent will be known. This corner believes it will be a Diaz, with David having the greater chance, who will be Manny's next punching partner.


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