Manny Pacquiao won the WBC lightweight title by stopping David Diaz in the ninth round with a devastating short left, picking up a world title in a fourth weight class and putting together a fantastic claim to be the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
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Pacquiao was perfect on the night, outpunching and outboxing his opponent with blows from the first bell and winning every round.
Many worried whether Pacquiao would be able to retain his power and be able to take the punches of a top-level opponent at almost two stone heavier than the weight class he began his career but from the beginning Pac-Man showed he belonged.
Diaz just could not handle Pacquiao’s handspeed, being caught with right hooks and lefts from early on in the bout and being made to look crude as he looked to hit back with his own.
As the fight moved into the second half, Pacquiao’s speed slowed down a little with Diaz, despite a gruesome cut above his right eye and across his nose, having a little success of his own but he was still losing each round.
In the first half of the ninth round, Diaz was getting through with some left hands of his own and gaining in confidence before Pacquiao resumed control at the midway point and then ended the bout with a punch his opponent did not see.
The blow saw Diaz falling face-first into the canvas and the referee immediately called an end to the bout though it seemed very unlikely that the temporarily parylysed Mexican would ever get to his feet.
Classily, Pac-Man waited to check on his felled opponent before joining his corner in wild celebration.
Diaz may have been an opponent made for Pacquiao, lacking the skills and subtlety of his previous opponent Juan Manuel Marquez, but he is certainly not as bad as he was made to look on the night and Miguel Angel Cotto will have to put in a similarly superb performance against Antonio Margarito next month to retain claims to be boxing’s pound-for-pound best.