By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS
Now that he has crossed the river of no return, so to speak, by scaling the 135 pounds to challenge World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight champion David Diaz on June 28 in Las Vegas, there is no turning back now for WBC superfeatherweight (130 pounds) champion Manny Pacquiao.
He has to remain in the lightweight division now for the rest of his fistic career.
Win or lose on June 28, Pacquiao cannot anymore accommodate the saber-rattling Juan Manuel Marquez for Pacquiao to engage Marquez in a trilogy in the division where Pacquiao is currently king.
In a third meeting with Marquez, Pacquiao will have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
If Pacquiao can dethrone Diaz, he will become a permanent lightweight attraction and he can only invade the higher division (junior welterweight and welterweight) at his and Fred Roach’s behest and shoot for a fat payroll, but there is no way for him to scale back to the superfeatheweight division just so he can silence the sore loser Marquez.
Since he will relinquish his WBC superfeatherweight crown (this is mandatory for any champion who will take a stab at another title in the higher division), Pacquiao will enter the ring at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on June 28 as challenger.
If Pacquiao will fail to knock the jewels off from the head of Diaz, he can still continue fighting in the lightweight division or request his benevolent promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank to give him a chance to vie for the junior welterweight fame against Ricky Hatton or face Floyd Mayweather in a Battle Royale in the welterweight division.
If his handlers want Pacquiao to battle the indestructible Oscar dela Hoya in the light middleweight division in his next outing, he must hurt and demolish Diaz convincingly (no more Kelly Pavlik in the middleweight division, please).
Facing the greatest and biggest ring gladiators in the world is the “price” that Pacquiao has to “pay” for leaving the superfeatherweight division and crossing the river of no return.