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Pacquiao, De La Hoya take Lady Liberty by storm

by Momar Visaya/AJPress

NEW YORK – In a historic first, boxing superstars Manny Pacquiao and Oscar de la Hoya took the city by storm and appeared at the Statue of Liberty Wednesday, October 1, to promote their mega-fight: The Dream Match-De La Hoya Vs Pacquiao.

The press conference was the first of a series of events that organizers have planned to promote the epic match. The unprecedented presscon is the first ever staged on the historic Liberty Island, home to the iconic Statue of Liberty, America’s most famous landmark.

Pacquiao and De La Hoya are two of the biggest attractions in the world of boxing and their much-awaited match-up is something that aficionados have been waiting for. De La Hoya, the Olympic gold medalist and 10-time world champion will meet Ring Magazine’s current No. 1-ranked pound for pound champion, Manny Pacquiao on Saturday, December 6 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The fight, touted as the grand finale of the 2008 boxing calendar year, sold out in hours and established a live gate of nearly $17 million, making it the second largest grossing gate in boxing history after the De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather fight held in May 2007 which featured a record-breaking $19 million gate.

“This is the biggest fight of my career and I am looking forward to this match because I know that De La Hoya is also an exciting player. I will do my best to bring honor and glory to my country, the Philippines and my fellow Filipinos around the world,” Pacquiao said after the presscon, as he signed autographs on shirts, boxing gloves, tickets to Liberty Island, even press Ids and posters.

For De La Hoya, it is not just about regaining old glory, it is about fighting the best and winning. “Manny Pacquiao is considered as the best fighter in boxing today and I always want to fight the best. They say I am old and I can’t fight him. I am challenged by that. I am 35 but that is not old,” De La Hoya told the Asian Journal on the way back to Manhattan via a ferry to Liberty.

Pacquiao, who won world titles at flyweight (112 lbs), super-bantam (122 lbs), super-feather (130 lbs) and lightweight (135 lbs) will be fighting for the first time at welterweight (147 lbs). Some consider him as the underdog because at 5’10.5″, De La Hoya is four inches taller than Pacquiao and his reach is 72 inches against Pacquiao‘s 67.

Though not a title fight, a welterweight victory over De La Hoya in the same year he held his previous titles would be equivalent to Henry Armstrong’s historic year of 1938 when he simultaneously held the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight titles.

“We all know about the battle between David and Goliath and who won in the end, right?” Bob Arum, Top Rank’s top man said, much to the cheers and screams of the predominantly Filipino fans who trooped to the Statue of Liberty to see the presscon. Pacquiao said that he gets inspired by the support of fans wherever he goes.

“When I take that walk to the ring to fight Oscar, I will carry all the people of the Philippines on my shoulders. I promise I will fight with all my heart and that I will give everything I have. Like my trainer Freddie Roach says, I have what it takes to win the biggest fight of my life,” he said. For De La Hoya, he shared that he is excited and can’t wait for December 6 to arrive. “I am glad that we were able to make this fight happen because while Pacquiao is at the pinnacle of his success and has defeated all of the top fighters he has faced, I am going to show the world that it stops with me,” he said.

Team Pacquiao and Team De La Hoya, together with their promoters, Top Rank, Inc. and Golden Boy Promotions will also travel to Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, San Francisco and Los Angeles to promote the match. The last stop will be where the Golden Boy grew up—Whittier Boulevard Arch in East LA on October 7.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Concepcion wins by KO

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

EL CAJON — There’s a saying “be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.” Freddie Roach had always said that Bernabe “The Real Deal” Concepcion needed tougher opponents to prepare for a world title.

Roach got more than he bargained for last Thursday night. At Manny Pacquiao’s first boxing promotional foray, MP Promotions, the 20-year-old Concepcion squeaked out a hard fought knockout victory against a tough chin, iron hearted Giovanni Caro of Mexico at the Sycuan Resort and Casino in San Diego.

“The Real Deal” Concepcion faced a real test. Concepcion’s last two fights ended in knockouts lasting five total rounds and he barely broke a sweat in either of those two fights. This one lasted eight rounds but he left the ring with a left eye the size of a baseball and had blood seeping through the corner slit of the eye.

Caro gave Concepcion fits all night long. Reminiscent of the Antonio Margarito vs. Miguel Cotto match up, Concepcion kept throwing his best shot at Caro but the strong willed Mexican kept coming.

During the first round, Caro landed a series of jab and right cross combinations aimed at the left eye of Concepcion.

In the third round, Concepcion landed a beautifully timed right cross to the chin of Caro, which immediately dropped him to the ground. This wasn’t enough to scare the Mexican fighter. And Concepcion did not try to finish him off.

By the fifth round, Caro continued to pepper Concepcion’s left eye, which by then had swelled to the size of a mouse.

It seemed that Concepcion threw the harder and cleaner punches at Caro throughout the night. However, the left eye now nearly shut bothered him creating a blind side that Caro quickly exposed. In between rounds, Roach’s corner was frantic trying to keep the swelling down as ringside doctors continued to monitor Concepcion’s eye.

In the eighth round, the two fighters were tangled up in the corner. Concepcion threw what seemed like a clean right uppercut to Caro’s right mid section area. However, Caro bent down like it was a low blow and the referee deducted Concepcion a point.

As Caro gathered himself, the ringside doctor made a quick check on Concepcion’s eye. The doctor was about to stop the fight due to the massive swelling around the left eye but Concepcion pleaded his case saying, “I can see. I can still see.”

With time running out and the doctor nearly stopping the fight, the predominantly Filipino crowd rose to their feet. Concepcion knew he had to finish the fight soon. He looked over to Pacquiao’s ringside seat. Concepcion bumped his chest twice with his fist and nodded over to the pound-4-pound king.

Once the referee began action, Concepcion pounced on Caro. Concepcion landed a series of right and left hooks cleanly to the head of Caro causing the latter to stagger towards the corner ropes. Concepcion continued to swing wildly and finished Caro off with another devastating right cross. Caro fell with his back towards the corner ropes. The referee counted him out.

After the fight, Concepcion, who required eight stitches after the match, said that there was no way he was going to lose that fight.

“I was just thinking of all the Filipinos out there in the crowd, [and] around the world supporting me,” said Concepcion. “I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to surrender. I wanted to keep going to give them a good fight so I kept fighting.”

He said that Caro was one of the strongest and best fighters he’s ever faced.

“He’s a good fighter and strong puncher,” said Concepcion. “He has a strong chin and even stronger heart.”

Roach said this fight would help Concepcion prepare for a world title shot.

“If we want to fight for a world title we needed some rounds instead of a two or three round fight,” said Roach. “He [Caro] gave me exactly what we wanted. It was a tough fight maybe more than we asked for but you know it’ll build character for Bernabe and now we know what to expect in tough fights. “

Undercard

FilAm Brian Viloria (23-2 13 KOs) won easily against Javier Lagos by unanimous decision. The 27-year-old flyweight outmatched his opponent for all eight rounds. Viloria used quick feet and good combination punching to defeat Lagos.

Viloria said that the match was a good tune up for his December 13 title match against IBF Light Flyweight titlist Ulisses Solis in Macau, China.

Dennis Laurente of Paranaque, Philippines (30-3-5 16 KOs) stopped Arturo Urena in the sixth round of the scheduled eight round bout. Doctors stopped the fight due to cuts around Urena’s face.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Donaire to defend championship belt

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

LOS ANGELES  – Nonito Donaire Jr. is ready for his next and arguably biggest challenge.

The Filipino IBF Flyweight champion Donaire faces off against Moruti Mthalane of South Africa as a co-main event on November 1 featuring Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Mthalane is the No. 1 contender and a mandatory challenger for Donaire.

“I’ve worked too hard to earn this title and there is no way I’m letting anyone take it away from me,” said Donaire during a press conference announcing the fight at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Century City. “Mthalane is going back to South Africa without the only souvenir he craves most my world championship belt.”

Mthalane (22-1, 15 KOs) will make his US debut. He’s undefeated in three years winning 10-bouts eight by knockout.

“This is my first fight outside of South Africa and I intend to make the most of it,” said Mthalane, in a press statement. “I’m going to be in the middle of the ring.  Donaire will not have a problem finding me. Let’s see how he handles my pressure when he does.”

Mthalane earned his first world title shot by defeating Hussein Hussein in a 12-round unanimous decision in July.

The 25-year-old Donaire (19-1 12 KO’s) known as the “Filipino Flash” has not fought since he defeated Luis Maldonado last December in Connecticut.

Fight fallouts, promotional gaffes and a lawsuit had delayed Donaire’s career, which appeared to be on the rise after his stellar knockout victory against Vic Darchinyan to capture the IBF/ IBO championship belts last year.

He signed with Top Rank in June, got married in August and is know focus on the task at hand – defending his championship belts against Mthalane.

Donaire said that he’s been preparing well for Mthalane, a dangerous fighter that is virtual unknown by many casual boxing fans.

“He’s a tough guy,” said Donaire about Mthlane. “I call him a wild dog because he can run all day, punch all day, he’s always in shape when he gets into that ring you know so I want to get to that level in terms of stamina. I know have the upper hand when it comes to speed and power so we want to work really hard and not take this guy lightly.”

“Like me before nobody heard of me,” added Donaire. “And I took out the biggest guy out there [Darchinyan] and now I’m the top guy and that’s why I’m not taking anything lightly.”

Top Rank President Bob Arum said that the fight’s not going to be easy for Donaire but he expects Donaire to win.

“It’s the reason why we signed him,” said Arum about Donaire. “We believe that he can be the next Manny Pacquiao.”

With the fight coming close to the mega showdown between Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya, tickets for Donaire’s fight is reasonably priced, said Arum

“We understand what’s going on with the economy these days and we want to put out a fight that’s affordable for everybody,” said Arum.

Tickets start at $50, $100, $200, and $300.   (www.asianjournal.com)

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Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya Talks Stall: Golden Boy CEO says 75% Sure Fight will Happen

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
LOS ANGELES – Three key issues are stalling the proposed Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar De La Hoya mega match up, according to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaeffer.

Schaeffer said he met with Top Rank President Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, for two hours Wednesday but both sides could not come up with a consensus agreement about the deals of the fight which would be slated for December 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The three issues stalling the deal are the size of the boxing gloves, De La Hoya’s weight limit, and the financial split.

“Oscar hasn’t made 147 pounds in almost ten years,” said Schaeffer to the Asian Journal during the Shane Mosley vs. Ricardo Mayorga press conference. “And we know from experience that a boxer could lose the match on the scales. The size of the gloves is also an issue. Oscar is used to wearing 10 ounce gloves while Manny usually wears 8 ounce gloves in his fights.”

“[And] the financial split is what it is,” he said. “Every time I negotiate a De La Hoya fight it’s the same thing. Suddenly the opponent feels they should make Oscar [big] money and I feel certain people have a market value.”

He declined to discuss the specifics of the proposed fight purse and other financial aspects, adding, “we guarantee a record purse for Manny Pacquiao, multiple times more than he has ever made so far. We think it’s a fair deal.”

Since winning his match against Steve Forbes in May, the Golden Boy De La Hoya has been looking for a grand finale fight before he rides off to the retirement sunset. A proposed re-match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. was rebuffed when Mayweather abruptly retired. Mexican counterpart Antonio Margarito lies waiting in the wings but after impressively thrashing Puerto Rican champion Miguel Cotto to a bloody pulp, De La Hoya would be best served to stay away from him.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao has also been looking for an opponent since his dominating performance against Mexican American David Diaz. That night, Pacquiao became the first Asian to capture four world titles in four different weight classes. The 29-year-old WBC Lightweight Champion’s first opponent choice was British contender Ricky Hatton at 140 pounds, but Hatton is already slated to fight New York champion Paulie Malignaggi in November.

Pacquiao’s other possible fights: a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez would be out the door, Venezuelan knockout artist Edwin Valero is having a hard time getting medical clearance in Nevada and Humberto Soto lost his most recent match albeit by a technicality.

At first, a possible Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya bout was a only a pipe dream of fans and boxing enthusiasts wondering “what if” match ups but the idea began to pick up steam when Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said Pacquiao could fight at 147 pounds, the welterweight class. In his last two matches, Pacquiao has weighed in the night of the fight at 146 and 147 pounds, respectively.

Schaeffer said that he’s confident that a Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya deal could be done.

“We have to do a lot of work on those three issues: the size of gloves, the weight – either at 149 or 150 pounds and financial split,” said Schaeffer. “I’ll say I’m cautiously optimistic. If I were to use percentages, I would say there’s a 75 percent chance a deal will be done in the next few weeks. I’ll be sitting down with Oscar next week. Arum will discuss this with Manny [when he gets back from the Olympics] and I’m sure in a few weeks everybody will know the outcome.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Pacquiao’s Speed No Match for Slower Diaz

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

LAS VEGAS – “If you guys give me the license plate of the truck that hit me, I’d appreciate it.”

The crowd in the media room laughed but it wasn’t funny. It was a reality.

The quote was David Diaz’s sarcastic opening statement in the post fight press conference. His pale face bruised blue and battered red. He had a large black gash from the coagulated blood over his right eye that required stitches, another one above his nose and a swollen left lip the size of a quarter. In fact, just minutes before, Diaz was laid out face fi rst on the canvas like a truck really did come in and hit him.

But this truck’s name was Manny Pacquiao and he even stopped and offered him a hand.

“Today, was the day we lost, no excuses,” said Diaz. “That [expletive] was fast. He came in pretty good. He’s a champion. He’s a good fighter; my respect and my hats off to him.”

The Super Featherweight Champion Pacquiao, the fighting pride of the Philippines, came out fast and strong demolishing the Mexican American Diaz for nine solid rounds in front of 8,362 mostly Filipino crowds at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, last Saturday night.

Pacquiao captured Diaz’s World Boxing Council’s [WBC] Lightweight title, making him the first Asian and Filipino to win four world titles in four different weight divisions. He also continued his streak of besting Mexican opponents.

After starting his career at the age of 16 as a 106-pound strawweight, there were reservations whether Pacquiao would be able to stand up to the former Olympian Diaz at 135 pounds. Last Saturday, those who doubted were obviously wrong.

“I feel very comfortable in that weight,” said Pacquiao. “I feel stronger at 135.” And it showed.

If Pacquiao were a truck, he would have finished Diaz off with one swift punch. It was too bad for Diaz. Pacquiao’s not a truck and Diaz took a pounding all nightlong.

It was a beautiful massacre for those who follow the sweet science. At times, painful to watch but artistically well performed.

From the opening bell, Pacquiao danced and threw combinations while eluding Diaz’s looping left hooks. Right, right jab, left cross, in-and-out, Pacquiao moved. He swayed left. He swayed right. Pacquiao might as well have been doing the waltz.

Towards the end of the first round, blood was already dripping from the top of Diaz’s nose.

It was a sign of things to come.

By the mid-rounds, Pacquiao continued to land his combinations at a ferocious rate. He parried Diaz’s attacks. His counter right hands were accurately timed. He showed poised and patience. He danced like a butterfly around Diaz, and stung like a bee ala Muhammed Ali.

As a result, Diaz’s face was flush red. His white trunks were soaked pink from the dripping blood. Diaz had a cut above his nose, a gash above his right eye, black eye in his left, and a swollen left lip. The cut above Diaz’s right eye was so serious it required a number of mid-round doctor stoppages.

It was truly a bloody mess, a one-sided affair.

The crowd wondered when referee Vic Drakulich would stop the fight.

Pacquiao admits he wondered about that too.

“There was one round [when] I told the referee, ‘look at this guy, he has a bad cut. You need to stop this fight.’ The referee told me no and to continue.”

The Chicago native son, Diaz continued to fight on. It was a resilient Rocky I performance. He trudged towards Pacquiao lunging punches but to no avail.

Finally, the 32-year-old succumbed to the beating. Pacquiao’s speed was just too much for the slower Diaz.

In the 2:24th minute of the ninth round, Pacquiao landed a perfectly timed left hook to Diaz’s iron jaw. Diaz face planted the canvas before rolling over on his back. Referee Drakulich didn’t bother to count and waved the fight off immediately. As a sign of good faith, Pacquiao on his way to the corner tried to help the ailing Diaz before celebrating.

“He’s so fast. I had no idea,” said Diaz. “Fast, fast, fast. Amazingly, fast. He’s just faster than I expected. I got tricked by his speed.”

“Manny’s best performance of his life,” said Trainer Freddie Roach. “We fought a great fight. We had a great game plan… this was the best Pacquiao yet. At 135 pounds, he looks great.” Roach said coming into the fight, he was cautious of the stronger Diaz.

“We knew Diaz is a strong guy,” he added. “If we stood there and traded with him, we knew it would give him a chance to win the fight. It was better to hit him then step off to the side before landing a combination. And it worked perfectly.”

The 29-year-old Filipino improves his record to (47-3-2, 35 KOs).

Pacquiao said that this fight meant more to him not just because he made boxing history but wanted to win for his kababayans at home.

“I’m just so happy that I made history,” said Pacquiao. “I’m really glad I won this fight. I dedicate this [win] to my countrymen that suffered from the typhoon [Fengshen]. I’m just really happy that I won tonight.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Beach Voice

by Rene Villaroman/AJPress

LOS ANGELES – They were there. From ABS-CBN to GMA-7 and RMN, even voices from the past like the legendary sports analyst Hermie Rivera. They were fishing for a story at the Santa Monica Pier. The AJ caught the big ones, from Freddie Roach to Bob Arum.

Manny Pacquiao strode into Mariasol Restaurant and headed straight to the deck that looks out to the Pacific Ocean. He was late. But no one cared, including boxing promoter Bob Arum, who had arrived earlier and was already giving one-on-one interviews to journalists. Even Pacquiao’s opponent, David Diaz, was already giving an interview to Filipino television journalist Chino Trinidad of GMA 7.

Pacquiao never arrives on time, even for a workout at his favorite gym in Hollywood. Maybe he thinks that’s fashionable, but Bob Arum, Paquiao’s promoter, doesn’t seem to mind. He is genuinely like a doting father to Pacquiao, hugging him, and complimenting him profusely after winning a fight.

On one of the tables, a forlorn-looking David Diaz was talking to Filipino television journalist Chino Trinidad. Someone informed me that Chino is the son of vaunted sportswriter Recah Trinidad and I wondered if Recah himself would cover the Pacquiao-Diaz fight this Saturday. He covered the Pacquiao-Marquez rematch last Spring. I got to extract from him an analysis, telling me that he held Barrera in high regard.

I asked my colleague Ricky Morales, ABS-CBN and KSCI 18 cameraman, why Pacquio’s camp needed to call a second press conference (A third is scheduled for Wednesday at Mandalay Bay, in Las Vegas). Ricky told me that Mexicans have not totally embraced Diaz because he was born and raised in the United States. Because of this, Mexican boxing fans have not accorded Diaz the same adoration and respect they gave other Mexican pugilists that had fought Pacquiao in the past. Mexican-Americans are mighty proud of their Mexican fighters, and Diaz, who speaks Spanish well, and English even better, is not considered Mexican enough.

Hermie Rivera, who used to be a broadcast journalist and sports analyst, joined my group, which included Joseph Pimentel and Andy Tecson. Now in his seventies, Hermie told us that Paquiao has the edge in all departments, calling the General Santos City boxer a 4-1 favorite. “Hindi madedehado si Pacquiao diyan,” he said. Hermie is semi-retired and has five grandchildren. In his prime, Hermie was was one of the stalwarts of RMN, one of the television networks in Manila. He had worked with Joe Cantada, Ed Tipton, Milt Alingod, and Ronnie Nathanielz, the Ceylonese journalist who was accorded Philippine citizenship by former President Ferdinand Marcos. Hermie told us that he would be interviewed by GMA reporter Lei Alviz.

Pacquiao is upbeat about his coming bout with Diaz, although his mien, almost always composed, did not show it. He was given the opportunity to speak first and I noticed his English has improved considerably. I had watched him address the mainstream sports press on several occasions, and had noted that he had gained the ability not only to speak English better, but he had also acquired an endearing savoir faire when fielding the questions of American boxing journalists.

“Here we go again,” he told dozens of photographers and reporters. “I am looking forward to a good fight between me and David Diaz. I will do my best to make people happy,” he said. “Don’t miss it. Please watch the fight in Las Vegas or watch it on Pay-Per-View.”

“My job is to make big fights available even though they (Pacquiao and Diaz) are both my fighters,” Arum declared. “I have to make them available.”

I talked to Ben Delgado, who, I was told, is always with Pacquiao in every important bout. Mang Ben, who is from Davao, told me that Pacquiao is a creature of habit and a very religious man. “He prays always and go[sic] to Mass on Sundays,” Mang Ben said. Mang Ben had been with Pacquiao since 2001. A former boxer himself, he fought professionally from 1959 until 1963. After his boxing stint, be became a trainer and had trained three Filipino boxers who all became champions — Rolando Pascua, WBC junior flyweight champion in 1990; Bernie Torres, IBF junior bantamweight champion in the Philippines; and Manny Pacqauio, who defeated Lihlo Lebwaba in the junior featherweight division in 2001.

Would Pacquiao win this match? As a creature of habit, there is no doubt that he will.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Pacquiao and Diaz Have Much to Prove

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – Mexican American boxer David Diaz sat uncomfortably next to the brown podium squirming like a child who cannot sit straight. He put his head down on the table. He hunched over and covered his face with his hands. At times, his trainer Jim Strickland would rub his back sensing his fighter’s nervous energy.

His nervousness wasn’t because his next opponent Manny Pacquiao sat across from him. Diaz is just not used to all this media attention.

“Obviously, I haven’t been covered this much,” said Diaz, the World Boxing Council (WBC) Lightweight Champion. “I don’t like this. I don’t like the media. I don’t like it. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t do this. We would just stick to training and that would be it. If I can be in the gym or do something else that’s what I’d rather be doing; not be in the media.”

Diaz better get used to it. He is fighting perhaps one of the most celebrated and popular fighters in Philippine boxing history. Pacquiao is like blood in the water when it comes to the media feeding frenzy. Diaz, is more like  a fish out of water when it comes to the attention.

Diaz and Pacquiao met for the first time on Tuesday at a crowded Downtown press conference announcing their championship bout at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas set for June 28. Diaz will defend his WBC Lightweight Championship bout.

Despite being the bigger fighter (Pacquiao has to move up to 135 pounds) and carrying one of the premiere championship belts in the division, Diaz is an overwhelming underdog in the bout.

Diaz has two knocks against him coming into the fight – he’s Mexican and will be in his first high profile fight.

“Manny Pacquiao has beaten many great fighters, especially Mexicans like [Erik] Morales, [Marco Antonio] Barrera, [Juan Manuel] Marquez, [Oscar] Larios, and [Jorge] Solis,” said Diaz, a Chicago native. “That’s why they call him the ‘Mexicutioner.’”

“My fight with Manny Pacquiao is by far the biggest fight in my career, the toughest in my career,” he added. “It’s a fight that every fighter should want to have and every fighter needs so he can prove himself that he belongs to be with the best.”

While Diaz squirmed around the media, to his right sat a confident Pacquiao with his back straight, flashing a wide grin. Pacquiao relished the moment despite having a paparazzi style crowd photograph his every movement.

For Pacquiao, this fight is about solidifying his boxing legacy.

After capturing the WBC Super featherweight title against Marquez in a grueling battle last month, a win against Diaz would give the Filipino boxer four world titles in four different weight classes. He would be the first Filipino and Asian boxer to ever accomplish the feat. It’s the reason why he and Top Rank President Bob Arum opted not to pursue a Marquez III rematch – right away.

“I’ve said it before if you know what you’re doing as a promoter, you don’t do a rematch right away,” said Arum. “You let Manny fight a tough fight against Diaz. Marquez can fight a Nate Campbell and then next year they can fight each other. It’ll be a much more interesting fight.”

Despite the favorable odds, Arum knows Pacquiao’s fight against Diaz won’t be easy.

“[Trying to win four titles] is a big task but that’s the mountain that he set to climb,” he said. “David Diaz is a rough and tough guy who throws a lot of punches, who doesn’t get discouraged and is dangerous throughout the fight.”

Pacquiao said that he matches up well against Diaz. He expects an all action-packed bout come fight night.

“He’s a good fighter because he’s going to fight toe-to-toe,” said Pacquiao. “And that’s what I want – to fight toe-to-toe… I need to win this fight because I’ll be the first Filipino/ Asian fighter to win four championships in four different weight divisions.”

Trainer Freddie Roach is cautiously optimistic approaching the Diaz match. Roach said that Pacquiao can knockout Diaz if he sticks to the game plan, something he didn’t do especially in the last Marquez match.

“Diaz is a very strong durable guy. He’s not a knockout artist but he’s physically strong. He uses his elbows and shoulders when he gets inside,” said Roach. “I was just talking to Manny about that. I said, ‘Manny the way to beat this guy is to keep on your toes similar to the Marquez fight.’ We have to do that all fight long.’

Roach is going to be sure to stress the power of Pacquiao’s right hand.

“He’s fighting against a southpaw so we’ll use the right hand as a good counterpunch against Diaz,” added Roach.

Meanwhile, Diaz said he expects Pacquiao’s punching power to lessen as he moves up in weight.

“I will shock the world and beat Pacquiao at his own game, power for power. He’s a great champion but he’s fighting in my division – lightweight,” he said. “I have worked too hard for this world title and I will not give it up to him.”

“I have nothing but utmost respect for him but we plan on keeping the WBC lightweight championship belt,” he added. “I’m sorry to tell you guys that especially to the Filipino people. I’m sorry. I just can’t allow that. That’s just in me. I don’t want to lose, I’m going to pray not to lose, I’m going to work out so I don’t lose, I’m going to run, eat, train and think of Manny Pacquiao from now on.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Golden Boy Wins

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

CARSON – The “Homecoming” festivities at the Home Depot Center last weekend did not disappoint Oscar De La Hoya’s fans.

In front of 27,000 people and millions of viewers at home,  the Golden Boy out-boxed, and out-hustled underdog Steve Forbes of the Contender series. De La Hoya used his comparative size advantage to win a near unanimous decision against Forbes.

Judge Max DeLuca and Marty Sammon scored the bout 119-109 and Marcos Rosales scored the bout 120-108.

The match sets up De La Hoya’s fight against the “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr. and another big payday for both fighters. Their last match hit a record 2.15 million pay-per-views buys and $120 million in revenue.

The question still lies — who will the Golden Boy be contending with after Mayweather Jr.? De La Hoya and the rest of Golden Boy, including CEO Richard Schaeffer are adamant that this is De La Hoya’s last year in boxing.

Negotiations are already underway for the Mayweather Jr. match, slated possibly sometime in September.

There have been rumors since late last year, that Manny Pacquiao could be De La Hoya’s last foe at a possible December date. Top Rank President Bob Arum, in an interview with Inquirer.net last year, said that it would be a “dream fight.”

Golden Boy off to the Philippines?

Fresh from co-promoting the Gerry Penalosa title defense fight last April, Golden Boy Promotions Vice President Eric Gomez said they look forward to coming back to the Philippines.

“We had such a good time there,” said Gomez to the Asian Journal before the start of the De La Hoya vs. Forbes match.

The recent trip to the Philippines was Golden Boy’s first co-promoting venture in the country. Golden Boy co-promoted “Invasion: Philippines vs. The World” at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City event with ABS-CBN. Gomez said the box office ticket sales were great. He estimated that about 5,000 people packed the arena.

“We were happy with the outcome, considering that it was a Sunday,” he said. “We had incredible ratings, the people came out, and more people watched online from around the world.”

Rising star

Gomez said that he was impressed with the three main Pinoy fighters in the undercard, specifically AJ “Bazooka” Banal.

Banal (17-0-1 13 KO’s) defeated Caril Herrera of Uruguay by TKO in Round 4. Banal threw a wicked right and left hook combination to the head of Herrera causing the latter to stagger to the ropes. The referee stepped in to stop the fight.

“It’s hard to gauge where AJ’s at because he just defeated the No. 1 guy in his division,” said Gomez. “We’re not going to rush him and make the same mistake we did with [Rey] Bautista. He’s only 19-years-old. He’s so young and so good. We want to be very, very careful. The plan is to take it slow with him.”

Gomez said that FilAm fight fans would have a chance to see Banal in action in the undercard of the De La Hoya vs. Mayweather matchup in September.

“Boom Boom” Bautista

Gomez also spoke highly of Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista’s most recent win also during the Invasion: Philippines undercard. Bautista defeated Genaro Camargo of Mexico and displayed a lot of punching power. He knocked down Genaro twice in the first round before finishing him off in the second round.

“He’s boxing more.He’s not as aggressive he was before… I still think he needs a couple more tune-up fights before another match with [WBO Champion Daniel] Ponce De Leon,” said Gomez.

Golden Boy, disappointed

Gomez expressed disappointment that the Top Rank President Bob Arum decided to forego an immediate Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III re-match, opting instead to put  Pacquiao on a fight against another Mexican, WBC Lightweight Champion David Diaz of Chicago, Il.

“I mean obviously we would have liked the re-match to be with Marquez because we think that’s what the boxing public wants,” said Gomez. “Marquez received a warm reception when he was in the Philippines. And many people approached him and said that he won the fight over Pacquiao,” he further added.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Pacquiao Marquez Match Hits Record PPV

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – The numbers are in. The Pacquiao-Marquez rematch last March 15 in Las Vegas generated over $20.2 million dollars in pay-per-view (ppv) revenue, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

About 400,000 homes paid $49.95 to watch Pacquiao win a very narrow  split decision against his Mexican counterpart, establishing a record for fights below the welterweight division. Pacquiao and Marquez were held to a controversial draw the last time they met in 2004 but did not come close to earning the same amount of money.

With the ppv numbers, the gate for the fight also hit records. More than 11,000 people flocked to the Mandalay Bay Events Center to watch the fight live. Top Rank President Bob Arum said during the post-fight press conference that ticket sale earnings surpassed all of Pacquiao’s previous marquee matches against Mexican Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.

Officially, the Pacquiao-Marquez II bout generated $3.3 million in ticket sales and $60,000 in closed-circuit earnings at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, according to an AP report.

The Inquirer reported that Pacquiao took home more than $5.5 million from the fight purse not including his shares of the ppv, closed circuit and other TV deal earnings.

Pacquiao Marquez III?

The ppv and ticket earnings give further implications that a Pacquiao vs. Marquez III bout is in the works. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaeffer offered $6 million to Pacquiao for an immediate rematch against Marquez.

However, Arum continues to insist that Pacquiao will move up in weight (135 pounds) and his next opponent is Mexican-American World Boxing Council (WBC) Lightweight Champion David Diaz. Arum has scheduled the bout for June 28 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas if Pacquiao’s cuts that he suffered from the hands of Marquez heal in time.

Arum’s insistence on Diaz has caused friction with the Top Rank/ Golden Boy copartnership with Pacquiao.

Golden Boy is heavily promoting Marquez as the next “biggest Mexican attraction in the United States.”

“The numbers for this fight are an amazing achievement for a ‘lower weight’ fighter,” said Oscar de la Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. “It’s an honor for all of us at Golden Boy Promotions to promote a fighter who is as talented, tough, charismatic and popular as Juan Manuel. While he didn’t get the decision in this historic bout, we are going to make sure he receives the recognition he deserves as Mexico’s biggest star.”

The AP reported that a third bout between “Pacquiao and Marquez is likely, probably at lightweight and possibly within 12 months.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Tanamor Wins Bronze

By Joseph Lariosa/AsianJournal.com

CHICAGO — The win assured Tañamor, the only one of the seven-man Filipino contingent still in contention, of a bronze in this qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He will be facing the Thai phenom Amnat Ruenroeng in the semifinals scheduled Friday evening for the gold. Ruenroeng beat Armenian Danielyan Hovhannes, 18-6, Thursday in the other quarterfinal match.

A native of Zamboanga City, Tañamor had already tucked under his belt another bronze in the 2001 and 2003 World Championships in Belfast, Ireland and Bangkok, Thailand, respectively.

Beating the 19-year-old hotshot from Duncanville, Texas proved to be one of the most memorable for Tañamor. He had competed in the Olympics, Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games.

“The memory of my victory tonight will be high up there,” according to the Philippine Army sergeant.

Tañamor went on the attack as the first bell sounded, surprising reigning Pan American Games titleholder Yanez. Tañamor’s speed and movement masked his 29-years of age. He appeared to be the 19-year-old Texan, who struggled to keep up Tañamor’s pace.

By the end of the first round, Tañamor was able to chalk up a sizable lead, 6-2. In the second round, Tañamor continued his offensive, jabbing away at Yanez, who became an easy target.

A big crowd of Filipinos cheered mightily at every blow that hit Yanez

Knowing that he was ahead on points, Tañamor danced away at every opportunity but continued to pile up points, opening with a sizable lead at 15-6 at the end of the third round.

“I was in complete control of the bout by the opening of the fourth round,” Tañamor said. “I knew he would go after me for the next two minutes but I was ready to counter his punches at every turn.”

Knowing that the only way for Yanez to win was a knockout, Tañamor tried to keep his distance but jabbing the aggressive Texan until the final bell.

Both Tañamor and Yanez have already secured their tickets to the Beijing Olympics as do Ruenroeng, Havhannes and four other boxers. Other boxers who had earlier qualified were defending champion Zou Shiming, Ireland’s Patrick Barnes, Frenchman Nordine Oubaali and Ukraine’s Georgiy Chygayev.

Coach Patricio Gaspi paid tribute to the skills of Yanez. “Harry boxed perfectly. He had the experience and skills to beat Yanez,” he said. The hit and run tactic employed by Tañamor at the dying seconds of the bout paid off.

There had been doubts whether Tañamor could deliver because of his age. Manny T. Lopez, Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines President was supportive and had no regret in fielding.

“I believe that Harry is as capable a fighter as others younger than him. The quality of the competitions has improved greatly and ABAP is proud of Harry’s achievement.” Lopez explained.

The six other Filipino boxers who lost in the preliminaries can still qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics if they will be fielded in the qualifying rounds in Bangkok, Thailand in January or in Kazakhstan in March.

Asian countries need to fill up a quota of 60 boxers in the Olympics. Although, each Asian country is allowed to field 12 in the Olympics, because the Philippines does not have heavyweight boxers, it can only field a maximum of seven.

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