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PACQUIAO WATCH: Who Will Get the Next Crack?


PhilBoxing.com




Manny's less spectacular conquest of Marco Antonio Barrera has driven many in the super featherweight and lightweight classes scampering to the beeline.

Everybody wants to get a piece of Manny and of the money that goes along with him.

From Venezuelan Edwin Velero to Joan Guzman, Englishman Alex Arthur and Juan Manuel Marquez in the 130-lbs class to Joel Casamayor, David Diaz and Juan Diaz in the 135-lbs limit ? all of them champions in their own right.

The catch however is "if the price is right."

Curiously, somebody has yet to challenge Manny in a winner take all fight.

Simply put, they are all willing to take the risk for the love of money.

David Diaz fired first by demanding a seven-figure purse to stake his World Boxing Council belt. At 31 and with another lineal titlist Juan Diaz looming as a potential foe in a unification bout, David Diaz wants to earn megabucks before, perhaps, surrendering his title to his (sur)namesake.

That's a good business sense. Indeed, why fight Juan for a purse far less than fighting the biggest draw in the lightweight division? Juan Diaz, on the other hand, knew too well that there is no money out there except fighting a boxer named Manny Pacquiao. Casamayor could wait. While he may be a sleek fighter, his style will make a boring match. Not good for television.

Marquez? Forget about him. He won't fight Manny if he can't have his retirement pay. Valero won't sell unless the fight is staged in the US where he is banned from fighting because of a head injury suffered in a motorcycle accident several years back. Joan Guzman is a probable but his name doesn't ring a bell and that is bad for HBO's pay per view card. A fight with Alex Arthur is a longshot.

So who should Manny fight next?

A fight Juan Diaz is probably the most lucrative bout for Manny. But it might be too much to soon for Manny to fight him coming off the super featherweight class.

But to satisfy Juan Diaz, why not fight him at a catch weight of 133 pounds for 12 rounds. No title at stake, just bragging rights.

Remember, Juan Diaz started as a welterweight before comfortably settling down at the regular lightweight limit and after the big punchers in the division have faded into irrelevance. Diego Corrales, one of the pure punchers in the division, is already dead. Jose Luis Castillo is already washed up and fans may have seen the last of Anecito Freitas. The triumvirate used to form part of the division's exciting fighters. Not anymore.

Juan Diaz is hungry for money fights which only Manny could provide. His plodding and bullying style fits Manny's. Both throw terrific volume of power punches and a fight with the Filipino southpaw could very well be a candidate for Fight of the Year award if it pushes trough sometime next year.

If Juan Diaz wants it badly and immediately, a non-title fight at 133 pounds will surely be a box office blockbuster.

Don King Promotions (Juan Diaz) versus Top Rank Promotions (Manny Pacquiao)? That's a megabuck card.

Otherwise, Manny may be right. Valero is next if only to shut up the blabber-mouthed Venezuelan and finally give Barrera his peace of mind.

But David Diaz is a good alternative to also give Morales his peace of mind. After all, Pacquiao and Morales have already forged a lasting friendship that vengeance, by way of Manny, is as sweet as his own.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Edwin G. Espejo.


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