Diaz - Pacquiao Prediction
By JE Grant
Saturday in Las Vegas boxing megastar Manny Pacquiao attempts to gain a belt in a fourth weight division when he meets David Diaz at lightweight.
Pacquiao’s most recent outing, a tough split decision over Juan Manuel Marquez. The bout gained revenge for a previous draw but did little to indicate Manny’s prospective success at lightweight.
When Pacquiao, 29, gained his first belt, in 1999 against Chatchai Sasakul, he weighed-in at a sharp and ready 112 pounds. In his 51 bout career “Pac Man,” 46-3-2 (35 KOs), has in fact never exceeded the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds and as recently as 2005 had not weighed-in above the featherweight limit of 126 pounds.
No one can question why he wants to climb yet another mountain. His victories over Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera (twice), Erik Morales (twice), Oscar Larios, represents a virtual sweep of every south of 135.
Yet in his recent victories over Barrera and Marquez went limit, perhaps suggesting his punching power may have peaked at the lower weight classes.
His bona fides as a fighter are not in question. His ability to handle a career-long lightweight may prove another matter.
In Diaz, 34-1 (17 KOs), he faces a fighter who has never fought below the lightweight limit. His only loss, a stoppage at the hands of junior welterweight Kendall Holt, has been followed by a 9-fight unbeaten streak. A fellow southpaw, Diaz, 32, is not an especially hard hitter (perhaps the reason Pacquiao is targeting him). He is a well-rounded tactician with a proven ability to fight well late into a fight.
Diaz’ record isn’t populated by names as recognizable as the stars on Pacquiao’s, and his 12-round decision win over Morales came on the heels of a Morales’ 3-fight losing streak. After the bout Morales retired.
Undoubtedly Pacquiao’s trainer Freddy Roach is fully aware of the pitfalls that may haunt his fighter. Pacquiao will start fast and seek to outwork Diaz from angles. Despite their careers being at different weight classes, both are about the same height (about 5’6”) and have similar reach. Diaz will press the attack and will try to establish that he is the physically stronger fighter. Manny is sometimes given to reckless attacks but is often able to avoid trouble because of his overwhelming speed and high-volume attack. In this bout Pacquiao will jump in often and Diaz will be there with an answer more often than not. Diaz will learn early that he can take whatever Pac Man brings and he will stay close to take advantage of Manny’s mistakes. It won’t be easy, but Diaz will counter-punch his way to a lop-sided decision win.
Diaz by 12-round decision.
Editor's Post-Fight Note: Couldn't have been more wrong on this one. Pacquiao dominated throughout and destroyed a very solid fighter in David Diaz. I'm note sure I've seen Pacquiao as sharp --- at any weight.