If you recall back in September of last year Manny Pacquiao stated he had a real interest in giving it a go in the MMA world. He also said what we all know, that Bob Arum doesn't want him to, therefor it likely will never happen. But, some things have changed since then. Pacquiaio and his management team moved the star and his PPV bouts over to SHO Sports and Zuffa/Forza purchased Strikeforce. Maybe it makes a bit more sense now than it did in September. It's a long shot but let me lay out how I think it could play out.
We are a few weeks away from Manny's debut on SHO PPV as he prepares to take on Sugar Shane Mosley. With Floyd Mayweather on an extended vacation, permanent you might say when it comes to fighting the Pac-Man, there are few money fights for Manny left. He has cleared out his competitors in a way that a fighter of his rare abilities can do. He needs an opponent after Sugar Shane, given that he beats the welterweight. Why not Nick Diaz in the Strikeforce hexagon?
Nick Diaz stated today that he might focus his attention on boxing. We witnessed a brilliant display of Diaz's technical prowess this past weekend. He went to the body of Daley in a way that would make Mick proud. Now, Diaz finds himself in an unusual position in Strikeforce. Who does he face next? What is the next big money fight for the promotion's biggest star? He can't go to the UFC, he has a Strikeforce contract and I'm almost certain that SHO is going to make sure the Strikeforce fighters stick to their contracts while there is a deal between the two companies. UFC can potentially shuffle over some of their welterweights or the Zuffa hats can roll up their sleeves with Ken Hershman and Bob Arum to set up two separate fights with Nick Diaz.
The only way it works, in my eyes, is if there are two fights set up. The first fight would be Manny's debut in the cage against Diaz. The hype leading up to such an event would be huge. It would burst MMA into the mainstream spotlight in a way no other event could. That alone would be worth it for the Strikeforce/Forza/Zuffa crowd. Fill the card with some of the other stars of the promotion and put the MMA product on display for the world to see and let it shine. It would advance the sport light years. The match itself could be very entertaining. Diaz would stand with Manny for a while and then it would go to the ground where Diaz would likely work out a victory. This sets up the second fight, Diaz vs Manny in a boxing match. A great revenge match and one that the boxing fans would love to see after watching Manny get tapped out. I think both fighters could put on a respectable showing in both forums and it would reinvigorate the boxing scene while exposing MMA to a whole new set of eyes.
The negotiations that would have to take place to get something like this done would be mind boggling. There are so many details that as I begin to ponder them all it makes my head spin. But, I believe after watching Coker and Hershman work out the M-1 deal that they might have the patience and temerity to make something like this work. Let the negotiations take some time so Manny can train for his debut in the cage. Maybe it is not even in a cage, maybe both fights are fought in a ring, one with MMA rules, one with boxing rules. Perhaps some of the MMA rules are modified for the fight. Imagine if GSP and Freddie Roach took the reigns of Manny's MMA training, the animosity that would build between the two camps. That would be brilliant and would set up a future Diaz/GSP showdown in a completely unique and exciting way. There are a million different ways to get it done if there is the will. It seems Manny has the will, he is in the right place at SHO to make it happen and in Nick Diaz he has a unique opponent.
It might never happen, this might all be a pipe dream. But, I remember that Saturday morning just a few weeks ago when I logged on to BE and saw what I thought was the unthinkable: Zuffa Purchases Strikeforce! Perhaps some other lazy afternoon I will log on to find the headline: Nick Diaz to Face Manny Pacquiao In The Cage! Stranger things have happened.