Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Monday, June 30, 2008

What a masterpiece!

Pacquiao KOs Diaz, bags 4th world title

LAS VEGAS—Once the left hook landed, Manny Pacquiao knew David Diaz was out.

True enough, referee Vic Drakulich didn’t bother to count as Diaz fell to the canvas face first with 2:24 gone in the ninth round, handing Pacquiao the World Boxing Council lightweight crown on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila) and making him the first Asian to win major titles in four weights.

“What a masterpiece,” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said after watching the fight on television in San Francisco, California, while waiting for her flight to Manila, according to Press Secretary Jesus Dureza.

“Manny once again showed the sterling quality of excellence of a Filipino at his best. We rejoice with the whole nation in his victory,” Ms Arroyo said in a statement at the end of her 10-day US visit.

The 29-year-old Pacquiao enshrined himself as the first Filipino to rule the 135-pound division.

Pacquiao threw 788 punches to Diaz’s 463, also landing 10 percent more of his blows. Pacquiao also jabbed well with remarkable discipline for an instinctual brawler, but the 32-year-old Diaz was hurt most by Pacquiao’s 180 power shots that connected.

Pacquiao’s victory added to the evidence in his favor in the contentious argument over who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. What is beyond dispute, however, is Pacquiao deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Joe Calzaghe, Bernard Hopkins and Kelly Pavlik.

After starting his career 13 years ago as a flyweight, Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs) has evolved into a dominant fighter in every division in which he fought.

His lightweight debut was every bit as action-packed as his long history of brawls at lower weights—and like most of his opponents, Diaz (34-2-1) couldn’t match Pacman’s ferocious pace.

Diaz was game but was outclassed by Pacquiao, the former WBC flyweight and International Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion and current WBC super featherweight titlist.

Bloody mess
Pacquiao swept all rounds in the Philippine Daily Inquirer scorecard.

From the first bell, Pacquiao dictated the tempo, peppering the slower Diaz with jabs and straights in the pay-per-view bout shown in the United States and Canada.

Diaz plodded on but couldn’t catch up with the Filipino ring icon, who alternately dug into the body and face, opening up a small cut on Diaz’s right eyelid.

All the exasperated Diaz, blood dripping from the cut, could do in the third and fourth rounds was hit Pacquiao during clinches.

By the fifth, Diaz’s face was a bloody mess. By the sixth, a mouse had appeared over his left eye, requiring a lookover by the ring physician.

A closing flurry of punches in the seventh jarred Diaz, who also sustained a cut on the bridge of his nose and he sneezed and spat blood.

Concern for fallen foe
In the eighth, Pacquiao staggered Diaz with left-right combinations that sent the Mexican-American reeling to the ropes.

Diaz sprang forward in the ninth, sneaking a right which infuriated Pacquiao, who unleashed combinations to the body and head.

Then Diaz, a 4-1 underdog, opened up. As Pacquiao grazed him with a right, Diaz got caught with the left.

As soon as Pacquiao saw Diaz down, he tugged on the fallen man’s arms, concerned he was badly hurt. Upon learning that Diaz was OK, Pacquiao rushed to a corner, said a prayer and then climbed the ropes, raising his arms and glancing upward in gratitude.

The fight lured 8,362 paying patrons, majority of them Filipinos, to the Mandalay Bay Events Center here.

For typhoon victims
“I’m dedicating this victory to my countrymen, especially the typhoon victims,” said Pacquiao. “Don’t worry, when I come back (to the Philippines), I’ll try to be of help.”

With the knockout, Pacquiao established himself as a solid force in the division even as he expressed willingness to move up in weight once more to challenge British light welterweight superstar Rick Hatton.

According to Top Rank president Bob Arum, Pacquiao will defend his lightweight title first in November against a yet to be named opponent.

“I feel much, much stronger and more powerful at 135,” Pacquiao was quoted by The Associated Press as saying. “This is where I plan to stay. I did real well. I was really surprised it wasn’t stopped sooner.”

‘It was all his speed’
Diaz, the likable but unlikely champion from Chicago, knew he faced long odds in his second title defense. The former US Olympian hung in despite severe cuts and weary legs that wobbled with each of Pacquiao’s big punches.

“His punches are just too fast,” Diaz told his corner after the sixth round, his face dripping blood.

“It was his speed,” Diaz said. “It was all his speed. I could see the punches perfectly, but he was just too fast. He boxed me more than I thought he was going to box. I said to Freddie (Roach), ‘It’s the best I’ve ever seen him box.’ Freddie said, ‘Me too. That was our game plan.”’

Pacquiao started fighting as a scrawny 16-year-old in the Philippines, but he grew into a dynamic competitor who won world titles at 112, 122 and 130 pounds.

“That was beautiful,” Roach said after the knockout. “The game plan was not to stand and trade, because Diaz is too dangerous. The plan was to go in and out, out-box him, do what Manny does best. He did everything that we asked him to do.”

‘Marry me!’
Some thought Pacquiao’s next move could be to bulk up even further for a wildly lucrative fight with England’s Hatton.

But Pacquiao seems more likely to stick around to fight other lightweights, at least for now.

It was an electrifying evening as rival sections in the crowd, which included the NBA champion Boston Celtics and about a hundred Chicagoans, traded jeers before the fight.

Shouts of “Manny, Manny” reverberated in the arena as Pacquiao made his entrance clad in a red robe and white shorts.

Manila-based teener Nicole Angela sang the Philippine anthem while Fil-Am Jasmin Villegas sang the Star Spangled Banner.

Mandalay Bay was filled largely with Filipino fans, including an overly optimistic man whose sign read, “Pac-Man, Marry Me!” (With reports from Juliet Labog-Javellana and Associated Press)

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