Tag Archives: Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao, De La Hoya wrap up promo tour in LA

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

EAST LOS ANGELES – The final leg of the Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya publicity tour started with a shot and a big chug.

A Tequila Cazadores official kicked off the press conference by opening a large bottle of tequila, poured himself a shot and downed the alcoholic beverage in front of a large pro-Mexican crowd in East Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Mexican-American comedian George Lopez, who served as the emcee, grabbed the bottle and downed it akin to a scene in the Animal House.

After going around on a six city tour of the US for the past week-in-a-half, many members of the De La Hoya and Pacquiao camps needed a drink to relieve them of all their travels.

“All I can say is that it’s good to finally be back home,” said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer.

“I was glad to see all the Filipinos from everywhere,” added Pacquiao. “It makes me feel good knowing that all those Filipinos I met are all supporting me.”

“I am home,” said De La Hoya. “This is where it all started for me.”

“We visited all the historic monuments across the US —the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Space Needle in Houston, the Alamo in San Antonio, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco but here, East LA, this is our monument,” added De La Hoya to the pro-Mexican crowd.
On a sweltering hot day, Mexicans and a small number of Filipino fans gathered underneath the Whittier Arch, the gateway to East LA, to watch two of the most popular stars in boxing announce their upcoming match on December 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The fight titled The Dream Match is expected to be one of the highest grossing fights in the history of boxing, possibly even surpassing last year’s multi-million dollar mega match between De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Cheerleaders from Oscar De La Hoya Charter High School waved their blue and yellow pom-poms, a red-suited mariachi band blasted its traditional music, and people were literally on the roof and climbed up windowsills trying to catch a glimpse of boxing’s pound-4-pound great Pacquiao and boxing’s biggest box office draw De La Hoya.

Filipino Jeff Sacro of Carson arrived to the press conference early.

“I’m here to support Manny,” said Sacro, who was flanked by jeering Mexican fans. “I’m always there for all of his fights in Las Vegas.”

FilAm Jason V., who did not want to use his last name because he skipped work to attend the event, said he’s also here to support Pacquiao.

“He’s No. 1,” said Jason.

Sacro said that Pacquiao’s match against De La Hoya would be his toughest because of the Mexican’s long reach advantage.

“I just want Manny to fight until the end,” said Sacro, who originally hails from Cavite, Philippines. “Don’t quit. De La Hoya is big but Manny’s quick. We love Manny.”

Biggest fight of career

Roach said that he’s happy that the publicity tour is over because it’s time for him and Pacquiao to go back to work at the Wildcard Boxing Club.

Roach admits this is the biggest fight of not only Pacquiao’s career but his as well.

“After this, no more small fights,” said Roach. “All mega fights from here on out – Ricky Hatton or even Floyd Mayweather Jr. if he comes back.”

The Hall of Fame boxing trainer said that Pacquiao’s like a son to him. He wants to make sure Pacquiao is prepared and gives maximum effort.

“I’m 90 percent sure that Pacquiao will win this fight,” said Roach to the Asian Journal. “I don’t think Oscar can stay with Manny’s pace. Manny’s too fast for him.”

To combat Pacquiao’s speed, De La Hoya has hired Pacquiao’s nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez’s trainer Ignacio Beristain to help prepare for this fight.

Beristain has already warned De La Hoya of Pacquiao’s ring speed.

“He told to me watch out for Pacquiao and prepare for 12-rounds of boxing,” said De La Hoya. “He’s fast but he has to look for my right hand.”

Pacquiao, who has been plagued with distractions in several of his fights, said that this fight he’s more focused and determined.

“This time I’m really focused,” he said. “No more visitors at house. I’m just going to stay in the gym and head home. This fight won’t have any distractions.”

This fight is also of importance to Pacquiao not because he’s facing the Golden Boy but that this might be one of his last fights.

“I think maybe one or two more fights after this,” he said.   (www.asianjournal.com)

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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.


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Pacquiao vs De La Hoya tickets now available

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
LOS ANGELES — Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank announced that ticket sales for “The Dream Match” between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao started to go on sale Wednesday, Sept. 24.
The 12-round welterweight super fight between six-division world champion De La Hoya and No. 1 pound-forpound fighter Pacquiao is slated for Dec. 6 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Top Rank President Bob Arum said that the demand for the tickets has been remarkable.

“There are very few tickets left because the orders have been tremendous,” Arum told the Asian Journal. “I know the people in the Philippines are ordering a massive amount of tickets.”

During the interview, Arum referred to De La Hoya as the “Mexican kid” in jest. He said that the fight is going to live up to the hype.

“It’s going to be a great fight and I know the Mexican kid is bigger and a tremendous fighter but I think Manny’s speed and determination will give him the edge,” said Arum. “And Freddy Roach and I see this fight the same way that Manny will win the fight and it won’t be close. He’ll win it decisively.”

Tickets are priced at $1,500, $1,000, $750, $500, $250, and $150.

Top Rank officials said that ticket sales are limited to two per person at each price level with a total ticket limit of four per person. Tickets are available online at http://www.mgmgrand. com, http://www.ticketmaster. com or by calling Ticketmaster.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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Galing Pinoys: Filipino Athletes Going for Gold in Olympics

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
WHEN pound-4-pound boxing great Manny Pacquiao waves the Philippine flag to the sound of Lupang Hinirang at the Olympics opening ceremony, he’ll be introducing the Philippines best athletes to the world.

For the next three weeks all eyes will be on Beijing, China as it host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. There are 15 athletes from the Philippines competing in the world’s grandest stage against the best the world has to offer.

Despite the fact that no Philippine athlete in 80 years has ever won Olympic gold, it’s not going to dissuade any of this year’s representatives from trying. As an incentive, it’s been reported that the Philippine government along with business leaders and other groups has offered a 15 million pesos ($340,000) cash prize to any Philippine Olympic athlete who receives a gold medal.

The last time the Philippines won a medal was in the Atlanta games in 1996. Light flyweight Mansueto Velasco captured the silver medal in boxing.

In total, the Philippines have won two silver and seven bronzes for a total of nine Olympic medals in its history. By far, the Philippines best sport is boxing, capturing five of its nine medals.

This year, the country’s best chance of a gold medal lies in the feats of these stellar athletes.

With the cash prize so lucrative and a chance for Olympic glory high, here is a list and brief bio of the Pinoy athletes going for gold in their respective event:


Mark Javier: This is the first Olympic games for the 27-year-old from Dumaguete City, Philippines. He earned an Olympic berth after placing first in the Asian Continental competition in Xian, China. He’s a 2005 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist and won a bronze medal in the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand.


Harry Tañamor: Tañamor is the country’s best chance for an Olympic medal perhaps even a gold, according to Sports Illustrated Olympic edition. This is Tañamor’s second Olympic berth. The 29-year-old southpaw boxer from Zamboanga City is competing in the Light Flyweight (48 kg) division. He placed ninth in the 2004 Olympics.


Rexel Ryan Fabriga: Fabriga is a 23-year-old diver from Zamboanga City. He qualified for the Beijing, Olympics after placing fourth in the 10-meter platform event at the FINA Diving World Cup competition in China. He’s a former SEA game gold medalist at the 10-meter platform event.

Sheila Mae Perez: This is the third time Perez has qualified for the Olympics. After placing 32nd in the 2000 Australia games, she qualified but did not compete in the 2004 Athens Olympics. She’s won a gold and a silver medal in the 2007 SEA games and is considered by many as one of the best divers in Southeast Asia.


Ryan Arabejo: The 19-year-old swimmer from Makati City overcame an asthmatic condition early in his life to become an Olympic athlete. Arabejo holds the Philippine record in the 400-meter freestyle (3:58.51) and the 50m backstroke (28.29). Arabejo earned a slot in the 2008 Beijing Olympics by finishing six seconds faster than the Olympic qualifying standard time of 15:45.12, according an Inquirer.net report.

Daniel Coakley: Coakley is a 19-year-old FilAm hailing from Hawaii. He holds the Philippine Record in the 50m freestyle (23.08 seconds) and the SEA Games Record in the same event (22.80 sec.). It’s been reported that Coakley is the grand nephew of the late Teofilo Yldefonso, who is considered by many as the greatest Philippine swimmer. Yldefonso won the Philippines first Olympic medal (bronze) in the 200m-breaststroke event at the 1928 Amsterdam Games.

Miguel Molina: This is the second Olympic berth for the former FilAm Cal Berkeley graduate. Molina is competing in the men’s 200m breaststroke and men’s 200m individual Medley. During the last Olympic, he posted a 2:05.28 time in the 200m individual medley.

Christel Simms: Simms is a 17-year-old FilAm also from Hawaii. Born and raised in the US, she almost did not have a chance to represent the Philippines but the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) upheld her petition to represent her parent’s home country. She qualified for the Olympics after posting 57.17 seconds, the qualifying standard for the 100m freestyle swimming events, at the USA Junior National Swimming Championships.

J.B. Walsh: The 22-year-old University of Florida graduate is another FilAm swimmer competing for the Philippines in his second straight Olympics. In Athens, he finished 37th in the 200m butterfly. He’ll be hoping to do better this time around when he competes in that same event. He’s also the Philippine record holder clocking 2:00.42.


Tshomlee Go: Besides Tañamor, the 27-year-old Go is also considered by many as one of the country’s best contenders for a gold medal in the Beijing Olympic games. The Taekwando jin made it to the Beijing Games via the World qualifying after beating six opponents in the 58-kg (127-pounds), the first Olympic weight category, according to the Inquirer.net report. It is Go’s second Olympic games. He competed in Athens but fell in the preliminary rounds.

Mary Antoinette Rivero: Rivero is also another gold medal hopeful. The 20-year-old student at Ateneo de Manila University nearly captured a silver medal four years ago in Athens. In the semifinals, she faced off against Greece’s Elizavet Mystakidou losing a close 2-3 decision. A win would have guaranteed Rivero a silver medal and a shot at gold. She got neither and lost the bronze medal match.


Henry Dagmil: The 27-year-old South Cotabato resident will compete in the long jump. He holds the Philippine long jump record at 7.99 meters. He’s a 2007 SEA games gold medalist.

Marestella Torres: Torres is a 27-year-old competing in the women’s long jump. She captured the gold medal at the 2005 SEA and 2007 SEA Games. The Philippine Track and Field Association (PATAFA) selected Torres to represent the country at the Beijing Games.


Eric Ang: At 37-years-old, Ang is the oldest athlete representing the Philippines. He earned a wildcard berth after posting convincing performances in the trap events of two international competitions, according to GMA-7.


Heidilyn Diaz: The 17-year-old Diaz is the youngest competitor for the Philippines. The Zamboanga City resident is also the first Filipino to compete in a weightlifting event. She earned a wild-card slot from the International Weightlifting Federation. She’ll compete in the 58-kilogram class (127 pounds).



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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.”


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What Empowers “The PACMAN”

by Rene Villaroman/AJPress

LOS ANGELES – Manny Pacquiao won the fight with David Diaz not only because he a is a better, more experienced fighter, but also because of the overwhelming support of his fans. This was evident in the number of Filipino fans that filled the Mandalay Bay Event Center, outnumbering the Mexicans by a ratio of 8 to 2.

“It’s a matter of FiIipino pride,” declared Vince Gozon, who flew down from San Francisco with two friends. “Pacquiao is part of our country, and he’s gonna knock him (Diaz) out in Round 5,” Gozon told Asian Journal prior to the bout.

“I was here also during his last fight,” said Allan Pineda, (Apl.de.Ap), who came to watch the fight with Black-Eyed Peas co-founder Will.I.Am. “Because my friend here told me I should support Pacquiao,” Will.I.Am said. “He’s a Filipino that has a dream and he is a representative of the Philippines, so we support him,” he added.

The buzz about the 59

Philippine Congressmen coming to Las Vegas to watch the fight did not materialize. Apart from house Speaker Prospero Nogales of Iloilo, the only other politician that we encountered at the Event Center was former Senator Robert Jaworski. “I haven’t seen any of them (Congressmen), so I doubt that they would be here,” Jaworski said. “I guess they are out on a mission in Washington (DC), so I haven’t seen any of them.”

When I asked him to describe Manny Pacquiao, Senator Jaworski said, “Well, first of all, I believe that Manny has become a symbol of unity and hope for the Philippines. I hope and pray that he wins, particularly with the very serious accident (ferry sunk by storm) that happened recently.” The senator said that the storm cost so many lives in the cuntry. “I feel that he (Pacquiao) could somehow uplift so many who are in deep sorrow because of that fateful accident.”

Agnes Briones of Jollibee also came with three colleagues to support the fighter from General Santos City. “We have to support our kababayan,” Briones said. “We also want to promote our brand to the many Filipinos who came here for the fight. We have a branch at South Maryland Parkway.”

Three very close friends of the boxer would not miss the fight for the world. “Siyempre, kaibigan namin si Manny,” said Lito Camo, songwriter-composer, who writes the entrance songs for Pacquiao and for Willie Revillame of the Philippine television show, Wowowee. “Hindi lang kami Team Pacquiao, kami ay solid na magkakaibigan. Everytime na me laban si Manny, kahit saan pa yan, talagang pumupunta kami, at pinipilit naming dumating para mabuo ang Team Pacquiao,” Camo said.

Ruben Mijos, originally from Bohol province and a bus driver at McCarran International Airport, came with two friends. He brought a customized Philippine flag with the name of the champion pugilist emblazoned across the bottom of the flag. “Fan ako ni Pacquiao; talagang diehard,” he said. “One hundred per cent na panalo in nine to 10 rounds,” he assured.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, has remained humble even after his historic win in four weight divisions. “I’m so happy that I won by knockout. I’m grateful for a fantastic victory tonight,” he told journalists and fans at the after-the-fight press conference. He also thanked members of the Boston Celtics — his favorite basketball team — for watching the fight and supporting him. “I did not expect to win the fourth title tonight. I thank Top rank, Bob Arum, the media, and Mandalay Bay for this fight.”

Looking none the worse for wear, Pacquiao said, “I feel he (Diaz) hurt me once. He is strong, and I am lucky that I won tonight.” Says his trainer, Freddie Roach, “It’s always a scare when you cut your weight. Manny worked out in the gym everyday, and he knew that he could out-speed Diaz. At 135 (lbs.), he looks great. I’m proud of his right hand tonight.”

“I’m just a fighter. My job is to prepare and fight,” Pacquiao said. “Idini-dedicate ko ito sa mga kababayan at mga biktima ng typhoon. Gagawa ako ng paraan para makatulong sa kanila,” Pacquiao promised. Responding to a sportswriter, Pacquiao declared, “I do not want to compare myself with other fighters. I just want to go out there and do my job and make people happy.”

Promoter Bob Arum told Diaz: “You are a great fighter; you are a great young man. Boxing needs more men like you.” Diaz, whose face sustained several cuts, arrived at the conference first and thanked supporters. “You’re gonna win; you’re gonna lose, and tonight we’re here not to offer excuses,” Diaz said. “It’s the speed that got me. My respect goes for him (Pacquaio). Tomorrow, we’ll get back and fight again. It’s all in good fun. I had fun tonight.”


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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.”


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The LEGENDARY Manny Pacquiao

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

Manny Pacquiao is the best boxer in the world right now. Period.

If there were any doubts that he isn’t the pound-forpound best, according to Ring Magazine, just watch a replay of the David Diaz match on HBO this Thursday and Saturday night.

Pacquiao drilled and destroyed Diaz with determined will. He showed excellent hand speed and power from both hands.

It was like a cat playing with a ball of yarn. He pounced on him. He jabbed Diaz left and right. And at the night after nine merciless rounds, Pacquiao unraveled Diaz to a piece of string lying on the floor.

“I gave him an A+ for his performance,” said Trainer Freddie Roach. “I’ve never given anybody that kind of grade ever in my life.”

That’s saying a lot since Roach has trained the likes of former champions Mike Tyson, Michael Moore, James Toney and Johnny Tapia.

However, the most impressive part of Pacquiao’s performance was not his annihilating win over Diaz but what he did afterwards that will speak volumes.

It happened only for a second.

After Pacquiao finally put the striking left blow that dropped Diaz to the canvas. And after referee Vic Drakulich immediately signaled off the fight, Pacquiao tried to help his fallen comrade off the ground.

As a beaten and bruised Diaz lay on the canvas with his arms raised as if he was on his own deathbed, Pacquiao bent down with both arms and tried to help the 32-year-old up.

Pacquiao didn’t thump his chest immediately, climb the corner ropes and celebrate his win or was carried off with arms triumphant

That would wait.

Rather he made the classiest gesture – one of goodwill and good sportsmanship.

“My first concern was for Diaz,” said Pacquiao. “I was praying he was all right.”

I stood in my seat along the media row confounded. It’s the type of gesture that doesn’t hit you right away until you think about it.

In an age of showmanship and “I’m better than you” or “show me the money” attitude especially in sports, Pacquiao defied logic when he tried to help up Diaz. When he actually cared more about his opponent than his own triumphant win.

It was genuine a gesture. One that I hope will reverberate in the community.

For the past several years, Filipinos have looked up to Pacquiao.

Their way of life has revolved around his boxing matches. Crime doesn’t occur during Pacquiao fights.

They shadow boxed in front of the TV when he fought.

When he won, the Filipino people won. When he lost, they’d feel the pain.

There’s a saying that real winners are those who know how to persevere and behave with dignity whether they win or lose.

The small gesture showed Pacquiao’s complete respect towards Diaz.

It was a heroic move. It was an act of class. It was an act of being a Good Samaritan. It was an act of good sportsmanship.


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Pacquiao fights for typhoon victims

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

LAS VEGAS – The Pride of the Philippines will live up to this moniker come fight night Saturday. Win or lose, Manny Pacquiao announced that he would be fighting in honor of the survivors and victims of the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines last week.

“I feel sad about what happened,” said Pacquiao during Wednesday’s last press conference before the much-anticipated fight against David Diaz at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. “I’m just thankful to God that I’m in a position to help them. This fight is for them.”

Typhoon Fengshen capsized the seven-story Princess of the Stars ferry carrying about 900 people near Sibuyan Island in San Fernando, Romblon, Philippines last June 21. A little less than four-dozen people survived the typhoon, according to the Associated Press. More than 800 have yet to be found.

Pacquiao is known for fighting with the Filipino people in the back of his mind. His last match against Juan Manuel Marquez, he told the Asian Journal he would fight to help calm the situation against the Philippine government regarding the controversial ZTE broadband scandal. Prior to that, he ran for Congress hoping to be elected.

Pacquiao said that he would do whatever he could to help the victims.

“When I come back to the Philippines [after the fight] I’m going to help them any way I can,” he said.

Pacquiao also wanted to reassure those victims and survivors to keep praying.

“I just want to tell them to believe in God,” he added. “Pray to the Lord everything will be okay.”

Diaz Dedication

Not to be outdone, David Diaz also dedicated his fight to a special somebody in his life. Diaz was about to breakdown in tears after he announced that he would dedicate this fight to his father.

“You know I just wanted to do it,” said Diaz to the Asian Journal. “My dad has been with me through everything. He’s the one who got me started in the sport of boxing. I owe everything to him.”

“He is Mexico,” added Diaz.

Diaz said that he announced the dedication because of the magnitude of the fight against Pacquiao. He wanted to let his father know just how special he is to his life.

“It’s true what I feel,” said Diaz. “I wasn’t being fake. I just wanted him to know that I’m fighting for him win or lose. Don’t get me wrong. We want to win.”

Diaz’s father was also on hand to witness his son’s declaration. How did the elder Diaz feel about the dedication?

Muy Bien,” said the elder Diaz, who does not speak English.

Other Boxing Notes

Current IBF and IBO Flyweight Champion Nonito Donaire Jr., who was on hand at the press conference, said that he has left Gary Shaw Promotions and would most likely sign with Top Rank.

“He [Gary Shaw] wasn’t giving me any fights,” said Donaire Jr. about why he left his promotion.

Top Rank President Bob Arum made a more vague announcement regarding Donaire’s signing.

“Thursday, we will announce that we have signed another Filipino fighter,” he said to the media horde.

When pressed to discuss whom he was referring to, if in fact it was Donaire, Arum declined to discuss the matter further with the Asian Journal.

“No comment,” he said with a smile.

Donaire Jr. said that he was surprised hearing that news from Arum.

“I usually just let my manager take care of that,” said Donaire, believing he is whom Arum is referring to. “I won’t believe it until it happens. But I’m very excited.”

If Donaire signs with Top Rank, it would give the promotion company a solid Filipino championship lineup with Pacquiao headlining and upcoming Filipino prospect Bernabe Concepcion on the rise.

Roach Predicts Knockout

Trainer Freddie Roach expects Pacquiao to knockout Diaz in “less than nine rounds.”

Roach said that Pacquiao isn’t going to slug it out with the Chicago brawler. Rather, Pacquiao will use his speed and quickness to outbox the 31-year-old Mexican American champion.

“Manny’s in great shape,” said Roach. “We had a good solid seven-week training camp. Diaz is going to be tough. He’s a former Olympian and a World Champion and those things don’t happen by accident [but] I think Manny’s speed will be too much for him.”


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Cinderella Men

by Malou Liwanag-Aguilar/AJPress

LOS ANGELES – Pacman. The Flash. Villa. Three men who pushed their limits, and raised the level of the Filipino fighter in the world of boxing.

It’s amazing how determination coupled with discipline can change not only one’s life, but history. In the case of these three men, it is so true. These legends not only share a common factor of being champions, as the similarities go outside the ropes. Their fighting styles, techniques and the intensity of their jabs may be differ from each other, but their passion to pursue greatness links them together as one.

They have overcome the odds – poverty, the matches they lost and the bruises left by their opponents. However, they all continued to perform what they do best, and that is to fight.

Pancho Villa’s brief but brilliant career has gained the respect of his foreign counterparts. He is, after all, touted as the ‘Greatest Asian Fighter.’

Gabriel “Flash” Elorde was the longest reigning world junior lightweight champion – seven years and three months. He also became the first Asian inducted in the New York-based International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is the first Filipino to win three world titles in three different weight divisions (Pacman is a former WBC Flyweight Champion, IBF Super bantamweight and now WBC Super featherweight). On Saturday, he is scheduled to fight David Diaz in Las Vegas. Whatever the outcome may be, win or lose, there is no doubt that Filipinos will always see Pacman as a champion.

Some people may label the sport as “evil” misguided and pious. Others may see it as a cruel and unusual sport. Yes, there is much about boxing that is ugly – the exploitation, the corrupt characters who leach on to the fighters for their own personal gain and the punch-drunk boxers. However, every sport, every game has its dark side. We must always sift through the mud to find gold.

Champion boxer Muhammad Ali once said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” For Pac-Man, Flash and Villa, they also probably did – but they already have carved their respective places in history.


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