June 29, 2008 Sunday
MANNY PACQUIAO and David Diaz's statistics
Manny Pacquiao of Manila Philippines can be found in the pages of boxing's history book.
The Filipino ring icon, successfully controlling the match with his right jab, ended David Diaz's sovereignty with a crisp left shot to win the WBC lightweight belt via an amazing knockout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao snapped Diaz's head with a mean right jab, moved in closer to his opponent and unleashed a 1-2 capped by his powerful left that sent the Mexican-American down. Referee Vic Drakulich waved the fight off at the 2:24 mark of the round.
Leading on the scorecards by a mile, Pacquiao decided to put the pressure on Diaz, who surprised the Filipino with a granite chin that took a lot of beating.
"I gave a lot of power shots and he's still standing," an amazed Pacquiao told a television interviewer. "I was very surprised that Diaz was so tough. He's the toughest opponent."
Even more amazed was Diaz, who was hoping to stretch the match into the late rounds, where he is more comfortable fighting.
"I was saying he doesn't hit that hard and all of a sudden I was on the floor and what the heck," a gracious Diaz said. "He was fast," Diaz said. "I didn't see the left hand coming." But the left hand was just part of the whole package.
When the NBA champions Boston Celtics visited him at the dugout, Pacquiao got the surprise of his life after the match. Pacquiao had expected the Celtics to win in six games and the world champions repaid that faith by watching the match and cheering for him.
"I'm his No. 1 fan," Kevin Garnett, standing beside Pacquiao, said.
With Garnett were Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, two members of the Big Three, and the likes of Rajon Rondo and Sam Cassell.
Pacquiao went to work early, controlling the first three rounds behind the jab before the left started to find its mark starting the fifth.
Diaz was in trouble in the eighth as Pacquiao twice had him rolling against the ropes. The Chicago-raised boxer kept bleeding out of his right eyebrow, but said the cut never troubled him.
"I kept telling the doctors that I could see perfectly," Diaz said. "At the end of the day, he caught me with a good shot and you just have to say that he was the better man."
Pacquiao's lightweight invasion comes after wresting the WBC super featherweight crown from Juan Manuel Marquez last March.