By Mark Vester
On Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao made his lightweight debut, busting up David Diaz on route to a ninth-round knockout to capture the WBC lightweight title at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Following the win, promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank was flooded with questions as to the next opponent for Pacquiao. The one name that Arum brought up over and over was Edwin Valero (24-0, 24KOs), the unbeaten, power-punching super featherweight champion.
While trainer Freddie Roach would like to see his fighter move up to 140 and take on Ricky Hatton, that fight will probably not happen until 2009. Hatton is already set to fight IBF junior welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi in November, leaving very little time to get that fight together.
Valero on the other hand is open for business and was recently licensed to fight in the state of Texas. For years Valero was unable to fight in the United States due to a medical suspension over a head injury suffered during a motorcycle accident several years ago. A fight between Pacquiao and Valero has been spoken about in the past and the two fighters have exchanged insults through the media. The fight only became a reality when Valero was able to fight in Texas. Pacquiao is popular in the state, having done some good numbers for his two fights at the Texas Alamodome.
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