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Juan Manuel Marquez Protégé hails Pacquiao, Nietes

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Iran Diaz (ONE Championship photo)

Iran Diaz (ONE Championship photo)

By Brian Yalung

ONE Championship recently held an open workout session featuring WBC Super Flyweight World Championship title-holder Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand and Iran “MagnifiKO” Diaz of Mexico. Both are slated to get it on at ONE: Kingdom of Heroes on October 6 at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

With most of the Thai local media focused on their hometown hero, Manila Bulletin Sports Online was able to have a brief chat with Diaz. The 28-year-old boxer is one of the fastest rising talents looking to follow the footsteps of Mexican boxing legends such as Ricardo Lopez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and Julio Cesar Chavez.

Needing all the help he can get, Diaz has tapped the services of Marquez for guidance. He admitted already being given tips by “El Dinamita” but revealed that he is also a big fan of Manny Pacquiao.

‘Pacquiao is my idol’ – Iran Diaz

MB Sports Online asked Diaz if Marquez mentioned anything about Pacquiao – particularly after their last clash.

“Pacquiao is like a man of steel. Juan Manuel (Marquez) always lost in their previous fights. That is why after the fourth fight (December 8, 2012), he never wanted any piece of PacMan again,” shared Diaz as translated by his coach, Alfonso Nava Carillo.

He adds that Pacquiao is one of his idols and that the Filipino boxer is one of the greatest in boxing history. Diaz feels that Pacquiao can fight until the age of 45 (to 50).

“He is one of the greatest boxers in history and my idol,” he said. “Pacquiao can fight until he is 45 to 50.”

Diaz added that Marquez is his idol too and how “El Dinamita” benefitted from their classic showdowns.

“Juan Manuel Marquez is my idol too. With Manny, he had a great history too,” explained Diaz.

It remains to be seen who Pacquiao will fight next. Vasyl Lomachenko has been mentioned although both Carillo and Diaz believe Terrence Crawford would be an interesting fight.

Who will succeed Pacquiao?

With Pacquiao’s boxing career winding down, Diaz and Carillo have kept tabs with other Pinoy fighters on the rise. This includes the likes of Donnie Nietes, Jerwin Ancajas, Mark Magsayo and Nonito Donaire.

Asked on who among the boxers had the best chance of succeeding Pacquiao, Diaz believes Nietes had better chances because of how he operates in the ring.

“Nietes because he thinks and has better technique inside the ring,” said Diaz.

However, coach Carillo begged to differ. He felt that Ancajas had better chances because of his speed.

“Nietes is an intelligent boxer while Ancajas has lightning quick speed,” he said.

Nietes is set to face Aston Palicte for the vacant WBO title on September 8 in Los Angeles. Despite Nietes facing a bigger opponent, Diaz believes that Nietes will come out on top.

“Nietes by knockout in 5,” said Diaz.

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