Diaz could and did take a lot of punishment, but it was clear, long before the fight ended, that Diaz was outmatched.
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, styled the Philippines’ pambansang kamao (“national fist”), just defeated Chicago-based boxer David Diaz by a knockout in the 9th round, after a match that the Filipino boxer largely dominated. (For more detail, please see the reports of the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and The Sports Network.) The result, one must note, jived pretty well with Craig Philipps’ prediction (reported at Seconds Out.com) that Pacquiao would win the match in the last quarter.
As I understand it, Diaz’s main advantage going into the fight had been his reported ability to launch lethal combinations at high speed, as well as the resilience he displayed against the famous Erik Morales; whereas there had been some concern about Pacquiao’s speed going into a new weight class. Pacquiao’s failure to administer his patented early knockout might therefore have been problematic, but this was well compensated by the speed and aggressiveness with which he launched his sallies at Diaz. The latter could and did take a lot of punishment, but it was clear, long before Pacquiao’s left fist ended the fight, that Diaz was outmatched.
Congratulations, therefore, to the “new WBC Lightweight champion of the wooorld, Manny ‘Pacmaaaaaaan’ Pacquiaaao!” (and yes, I always like the way it’s announced), now holding 4 titles and reportedly dominant in 5 weight classes. Pacquiao has achieved a status that the great Filipino boxers of old had only dreamed of–Tim Starks considers him and his exciting fighting style a great asset to the sport–; and it seems that, as long as he keeps to form and doesn’t lax out as with the mediocre bout with Marquez, there’s very little to stop Pacquiao from becoming and staying a veritable legend in boxing.
Congratulations too to Dennis Laurente for winning his undercard fight against Steve Quinonez (for which, see ABS-CBN). Gentlemen, mabuhay kayo!
<Victory spoiler warning: Political comments follow.>
I must add, by way of political commentary, that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should thank heaven with all her strength for Pacquiao’s victory. Considering her much-criticized refusal to cut her US trip short despite the massive devastation caused by typhoon Fengshen/Frank (allegedly so that she could watch the match; though, in truth, GMA actually watched the bout on TV), her return with a losing Pacquiao could have focused public disaffection over defeat, storm, and rising prices on the vagabond President. With the win, Arroyo will return to a country that would, in its euphoria, more readily forgive its leader; for heaven knows, the Philippines needed something to feel good about, and Pacquiao has long proven his mettle as an opiate of the people (on which point, see Reminiscences).
In any case, since I too am vulnerable to opiates–and c’mon, politics aside, kababayan natin ‘to–, I must conclude with a sober mabuhay si Manny! Mabuhay si Manny!:) and may God bless us all