Pacquiao looks good, Top Rank looks even better

By Sharief Ali


Pacquiao looks good, Top Rank looks even better

Anyone who knows a thing or two about the sweet science of boxing knows that Manny Pacquiao is by far, the best pound for pound fighter in the world, especially now that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has decided to retire.  But what did last Saturday’s bout with David Diaz really prove?

Well, for starters, it proved to us that Manny Pacquiao could hang with guys in the 135-pound division without a problem.   From the opening bell, Pacquiao just destroyed every inch of David Diaz.  And going into the fight, we know Diaz had an impressive background, having defeated the Mexican legend – Erik Morales – by a unanimous decision in 2007.  So, with the fight looming on the horizon, one would think, “wow, Pacquiao is moving up to lightweight and challenging one of the division’s champions right off the bat?  This is impressive.”

Unfortunately, after the first round, the one thing that was proven to me was not how impressive Pacquiao’s skills are, but rather, the matchmaking skills of Top Rank’s chief matchmaker – Bruce Trampler.

First off, let me give a background about myself.  I’ve been a boxing fan my entire life, especially given that my father was and is good friends with legendary fighter, Mustafa Hamsho.  Although I’ll admit, while I do love Uncle Mustafa, I did root for my favorite fighter of all-time, “marvelous” Marvin Hagler, but who can blame me?

With a close family friend being a boxing legend, as well as having a boxing-junkie for an older brother, it was impossible not to be a fan of boxing growing up.  Currently, I am a graduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas studying comparative politics, and I’m also the Managing Editor of the UNLV Rebel Yell student newspaper.  As the Managing Editor of the “Yell,” I’m lucky enough to write for any section I’m interested in.

I’m interested in all sections – news, lifestyles, opinion, arts & entertainment, and of course – sports.  I’ve taken to writing about boxing over the last year, and the more I write about the sport, the more I grasp the inner workings of its politics, and there is no better of an example, than the June 29th fight between WBC Champion David Diaz, and challenger Manny Pacquiao (although they’d switch those titles by the night’s end).
After the first rounds it was apparent that Pacquiao was out of Diaz’s league.  However, Diaz did throw some hellacious body shots that made you wonder if Pacquiao would slow down in the later rounds.  A few rounds later, it was obvious that he wasn’t, and that the referee was going to let Diaz take a severe beating.
By the time the fight got into its later rounds, most of us were asking what business did Diaz have being in the ring with Pacquiao, and it reminded me of a scene from “Rocky III,” when Rocky’s trainer, Mickey, tells Rocky that his title defenses were handpicked.  But unlike the movie, Pacquiao must’ve known he was getting to fight a champion who wasn’t a patsy, exactly, he just wasn’t the most competitive match up out there.  But why would his promoters want to give Pacquiao a tough fight for his first bout at 135Ibs?
They didn’t, and that’s the beauty of Bruce Trampler’s craft.  Manny Pacquiao is new to Top Rank, and what better way to make a splash then to win a title in his first appearance at 135Ibs, in dominating fashion.  Bob Arum is no fool, and neither is Trampler, his chief matchmaker.  David Diaz is tough as nails, no doubt about it.  But he’s slow, very slow, and to put him in with the lightening quick Pacquiao was the smartest thing Top Rank could’ve done.
Now you have the best pound for pound fighter in the world, coming off what looked like the best performance of his career (which it really wasn’t), and with that knockout over Diaz, Pacquiao has a huge slate of potential mega-fights available.  A fight with division champion, Joel Casamayor would be a huge payday, no doubt about it.  And if Pacquiao is to win that fight, which presumably, he would, he could either stay at 135 and fight Nate Campbell, or even move to 140Ibs, for a career defining bout with superstar, Ricky Hatton.
And how is this all possible?  It’s not only possible because of Pacquiao’s extraordinary boxing skills, but because of the matchmaking and marketing genius of Bob Arum, Bruce Trampler and Top Rank.
Now that Pacquiao’s stock is as high as it’s ever been, let’s hope that Top Rank is willing to take some chances and put him up against the best there is, for the fans, not just for the promoters.