Manny Pacquiao and the Jr. Lightweight title

By Cesar Pancorvo: Sometimes, a disputed decision can be enough and the controversial winner can enter the history books as the new Champion –this is clearly the case of Manny Pacquiao, after winning a close decision against Juan Manuel Marquez and claiming the Jr. Lightweight title, that was vacant since Floyd Mayweather jumped to the 135 division in 2002..

Manny PacquiaoMayweather, without a doubt the last outstanding Jr. Lightweight Lineal Champ, defended the title eight times before going up to face Jose Luis Castillo and left a division that was, during several years, without a Champion. Acelino Freitas and Joel Casamayor looked like the future of that category. A lot of fighters moved up from lower divisions, a lot of great fighters: Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales completed their electrifying trilogy in the 130-pound division, and, for some months, Barrera was seen as the man at 130, although not the Champ.

In 2005, Manny Pacquiao came into the scene and, with wins over the shot Erik Morales, made Barrera’s dominance tremble. Then, a rematch between Barrera and Pacquiao materialized and Juan Manuel Marquez also became a contender at 130, and finally a fight that would cease the anarchy of the division was signed. I’m talking about the recent rematch between Pacquiao and Marquez, of course. (And it is curious, of course, that after many years of Barrera/Morales “supremacy” at jr. lightweight, two other fighters ended up fighting for the Championship.) Pacquiao fought Marquez in another exciting fight and, in a controversial decision that the majority of fans have condemned, won the Jr. Lightweight crown that was vacant since 2002. Finally, a Champion, a successor to Floyd Mayweather in that division.

Manny Pacquiao doesn’t waste time and it has been announced that he will campaign in his 5th division, which would be Lightweight.

But his opponent in his first fight in that division won’t be a number 1 contender or the Champion, Casamayor, but the WBC titlist David Diaz, who is ranked highly but whose resume is very questionable, and has shot Erik Morales and Armando Santa Cruz as his top victories; Pacquiao could have chosen a better opponent for his Lightweight debut, like Joel Casamayor, Nate Campbell, Julio Diaz and Juan Diaz, but I don’t blame him because it must be difficult to fight the best in every weight class –let’s remember that Haye’s debut at Heavyweight was against Bonin and that Mayweather’s debut at Welterweight was against Sharmba Mitchell. Lightweight would be Pacquiao’s 5th division, so we have to be more comprehensible.

Maybe he will fight Campbell after Diaz, or Joel Casamayor for the lineal title…We don’t know. Let’s remember that Pacquiao already has three lineal titles in his pocket and could become the first man in history to win a fourth one. Of course, the controversial result of the second Marquez-Pacquiao fight will always be the specter that haunts him. I think that, if Pacquiao has the talent to have success at Lightweight, he should fight Joel Casamayor, and then complete his trilogy with Juan Manuel Marquez in that weight division.

-I am surprised that a rematch between Ruslan Chagaev and Nikolay Valuev is signed so soon, especially after the unfortunate and infaust rumors of a Chagaev-Krasniqi fight. I like Krasniqi, but he already had two chances: against Lamon Brewster and Tony Thompson. I will rank the Valuev-Chagaev II winner as the second best heavyweight, below Klitschko. Another unification fight should happen in late 2008 or 2009. Klitschko has to fight Peter or the WBA champion.

-Everything indicates that Ricky Hatton has signed a three-fight deal with HBO. He will fight Juan Lazcano, a 140 contender, in May and then probably Paulie Malignaggi in the fall. After that, there will be talks of a fight against Manny Pacquiao or against his Super Lightweight nemesis, Junior Witter.

Article posted on 24.03.2008

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