By Chris Robinson
During the recent Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley Las Vegas press conference at the MGM Grand, I ran across veteran cut man and trainer Miguel Diaz. The Argentinean is respected by many in the sport and had seen his name in the news recently because of his relationship with countryman Marcos Maidana.
The brutal puncher from Buenos Aires had Diaz as his chief trainer for the better part of the last year and a half but the two men have decided to go their separate ways. Maidana is coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Amir Khan a few months back inside of the Mandalay Bay and decided he needed to change things up within his corner by hiring Nacho Beristain, known best for his work with the Marquez brothers from Mexico City.
Diaz insists that there are no hard feelings between he and 'Chino'.
"It was a friendly situation," Diaz said of the split. "He decided to go with another great trainer, Nacho Beristain. That's life. The main thing is that we had a good running with them. It's very hard to feel happy but on the other hand I'm not completely disrupted. I still have other fighters to work with and Christy Martin has another thing coming up."
Maidana is now in line for an April 9th fight with former three-division champion Erik Morales. Set to take place at the MGM Grand, Maidana-Morales is sure to be entertaining but very few see it as being a competitive matchup. You can sense very little animosity in Diaz's voice as he too is pointing to a clear Maidana victory.
"Of course I wish him well," Diaz continued. "A young lion fighting an old lion who has been through a lot of wars. [Morales] is coming back but in the last fight he fought a kid who came in at the last minute, the Dominican, Lorenzo, and he struggled with Lorenzo. I don't think it's going to be any problems for Maidana to win that fight. It's a no-brainer, let's put it that way."
The talk of the day was of the Pacquiao-Mosley fight, one in which the WBO welterweight champion from the Philippines is a 7-1 betting favorite. Mosley's advanced age and lackluster outings in his two most recent fights have people skeptical of his chances but Diaz seems to feel that 'Sugar' has one go-round left in him.
"It's a very interesting fight," said Diaz. "Like everybody always says, Manny didn't fight a good African-American fighter with the style of other fighters. Different than Margarito, different than Joshua Clottey. It's going to be very interesting. I'm pretty sure, the old-timers, they are always good for one fight. And I think that's the fight for Mosley. He's going to put a hell of an effort against Pacquiao."
During his tenure with Top Rank, Diaz has worked with a wealth of world class fighters from Floyd Mayweather, Jose Luis Castillo, Jorge Arce, and countless others. I asked how the champion compares to the other talent Diaz has assisted and he wasn't shy with his response.
"I think Pacquiao is in a league by himself," Diaz noted. "That's somebody they brought from 112 pounds to 154 pounds. He brought the punch. Not even the great Robert Duran could do it when he came from lightweight to middleweight. He was a great fighter, but he didn't knock them out. Pacquiao destroyed De La Hoya, destroyed Hatton, destroyed Cotto, ya know?"
Diaz has been serving as Pacquiao's cut man ever since he took the reigns from departed Joe Chavez for the December 2008 De La Hoya fight. Diaz was in the headlines recently because of a feud with Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, and there obviously seems to be some conflict brewing between the team.
So does Diaz expect to be in Pacquiao's corner yet again for the Mosley fight?
"As it is, yes."