All hail the new king
It was Manny "PacMan" Pacquiao's game from the start; David Diaz was only playing a two-bit role in it. Pacquiao dominated Diaz for nine rounds to wrest the 135-pound title from Diaz on Saturday.
"[The cut] didn't bother me," he said. "But I thought he had a knife. It's like he was hitting me with a blade. I thought [Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach] was in there hitting me too. What can I say? I lost today, I'll win tomorrow. To go like that with a guy like Manny Pacquiao, I think I'm doing pretty good."Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs) was clearly at the top of his game against an outgunned opponent. You can see his pure dominance again when HBO replays the bout on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET/PT) and again on Saturday (10 p.m. ET/PT). "I feel much stronger and more powerful at 135," Pacquiao said. "This is where I plan to stay." That should be scary for the rest of the division. But Pacquiao also brings the golden ticket to the division. He earned at least $3 million and is by far the most bankable attraction in the division. Whomever gets the next crack at him -- possibly junior lightweight beltholder Edwin Valero moving up in weight on Nov. 8 -- will probably make a career-best purse. "Diaz caught a lot of punches," Pacquiao said. "I'm surprised he didn't go down earlier. It's hard to fight a southpaw, but I jabbed, jabbed to set him up for the knockout. I can fight in November. Who I fight is the job of my promoter." Pacquiao likely will defend his new belt in the fall. But beyond that there is talk of his moving up yet again to the 140-pound junior welterweight division, where Ricky Hatton reigns as king. Hatton, of course, faces titleholder Paulie Malignaggi in November. But after that, a fight with Pacquiao could happen in the first part of 2009. So how will Pacquiao fare? "I would think that Manny can fight at 140," Arum said. "But I think going past 140 would be a mistake. Every time I think of Manny in a ring with [welterweights] Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito it begins to look a little ludicrous. Hatton would be OK. He could probably fight a Hatton or [Ricardo] Torres or [Kendall] Holt. He'd be all right there. I wouldn't make him a favorite, but he'd be OK. But going past 140 would be a big problem. Hatton would be a legitimate fight." Roach agrees with Arum. "I would say the right 140-pounder would be OK," Roach said. "I wouldn't take all of them. Ricky Hatton is not a big guy. He's about the same height as Pacquiao, maybe an inch taller. And he's one guy I would let Manny fight at 140. But not the giants." But what about the often-discussed possibility of a move to welterweight (147) to fight Oscar De La Hoya? Although it's a long shot, the possibility of the fight has been tossed around, and Roach said they'd be interested. "Then they talk about De La Hoya," he said. "If De La Hoya said he wants to fight, we'd fight him at 147 because it's the right guy at 147 because he's older. He's not the same guy that he was when he was younger. With the right money, we'd take that fight, yes. You're probably supposed to lose that fight, but I don't think he loses though. I know Oscar pretty well. I like Oscar, I have nothing against him, but it would be a good fight." Isn't every Pacquiao fight? Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
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