Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Filipino HS students placed third in American math contest

Zamboangueno is top scorer of the Phil. Team

Filipino high school students once again gain international recognition as they placed third in the recently concluded International Regional Mathematics League (IRML) contest held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The IRML is part of the American Regions Mathematics League (ARML) contest. The ARML contest is for American teams while the IRML is for international teams that compete in the contest.

Among the team of Filipino students is a fourth year high school students from Zamboanga who was awarded a gold medal for being the top scorer of the Philippine team in the contest which was held at the University Nevada in Las Vegas.

The other members of the Philippine team were Jomar Anthony Sastrillo of Siliman University, Matthew Chris Chan of St. Stephens High School, Ralph Joshua Sarrosa of Angelicum School de Iloilo, Ricci Ryan Rojo of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School, Hanz Vladimir Cabanes of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School, Maria Moper Dionaleigh Nunez of Philippine Science High School Main, Charles Kyle Mupas of Colegio San Agustin in BiƱan, Laguna, Dennis Ong Betito Jr. of Philippine Science High School Main, Noelle Paola Santos of Philippine Science High School Main, Geomarie Concepcion of Philippine Science High School Main, Misaki Ueki of Canossa Academy in Laguna, John Ostin Ong of Trinity High School in Bacolod City, and Ralph Henry Kimoden of Quezon City Science High School.

Dr. Simon Chua, president of the Mathematics Trainers Guild-Philippines (MTG) said, “The ARMM is a warm-up of Filipino students who are slated to compete in different international math contest this year.” He said the Philippine team’s score this year was better than last year’s performance.

The Philippine delegation was headed by team leaders Rechilda Villame and Misael Jose Fisico, and Dr. Ofelia Sison as the deputy team leader.

MTG trains and sends Filipino students to different international math competitions including the IRML. (Source: Pinoy Business)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ninth ray to RP flag’s sun proposed

Senator Richard J. Gordon wants to add a ninth ray to the sun in the Philippine flag to symbolize the Muslims who fought against foreign invaders.

“Our national flag not only represents principles of sovereignty and solidarity of the Philippine nation, but also embodies the ideals and traditions of the Filipino people developed over the course of national history,” he said in a statement.

Gordon said the Philippine flag symbolizes the nation’s struggle for independence and victory against foreign colonizers.

The three stars in the flag represent the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao; while the eight rays of the sun represent the eight provinces that revolted against the Spanish regime: Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac.

Gordon said that behind the stories of the most celebrated names of national heroes who fought for our independence lie the stories of our mostly-forgotten Muslim heroes, including Lapu-Lapu, Sultan Kudarat, and Rajah Sulayman, who displayed courage and integrity.

The senator explained that this is the reason he proposed to add a ninth ray to the sun in the Philippine flag—to acknowledge the courage and integrity of Muslim Filipinos who fought for the nation’s independence.

“Our Muslim heroes left an imprint on national history that, at the very least, must be given due recognition in the most heraldic item of national importance—the Philippine flag,” he said.

Gordon authored Senate Bill 2590, which proposes that the rays of the sun on the Philippine flag be increased from eight to nine, to symbolize the community of Muslim leaders who defended the country from foreign invasion.

“By adding a ninth ray in the sun to represent our Muslim brothers, I think we make ourselves one with them. They are the Filipinos who were very successful in thwarting colonialism in our country,” Gordon said.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gov't. employees’ salary increase approved by Congress

Public school teachers will soon be receiving a P6,000 pay hike spread over four years. That is because the House of Representatives has unanimously approved on final reading a resolution granting salary increases to all government workers, including public school teachers.

According to Speaker Prospero Nograles, the House Joint Resolution 36, which passed 178 to 0, “would upgrade, rationalize and standardize” the compensation of all government employees starting this July. “This program applies to all civilian government personnel, regardless of status. Military and uniformed personnel are also covered by a separate compensation system provided under HJR 36,” Nograles said.

The salary upgrades which would cost a total of P150 billion, would be implemented gradually over the next four years, said Quirino Rep. Junie Cua, chair of the appropriations committee. “All told, this will rationalize the salaries of government officials depending on their rank, skills, work and education requirement,” he said.

Just like in private companies where employees are classified in ranks, government employees are also categorized as sub-professionals, professionals and executives.

Nograles noted however, that the salary adjustment for the President, Vice President and members of Congress would not apply to incumbents.

Meanwhile, the salary increases in the said resolution was assailed by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) as being inequitable. They said that government employees in the sub-professional level will receive a 28 to 36 percent increase, while those in the professional level will receive a 38 to 100 percent increase. The ACT further added that those in the executive category will receive an increase between 71 to 142 percent.(Pinoy Business)

Friday, May 22, 2009

RP’s driver’s license honored in Belgium

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has finally entered into an administrative arrangement with the Belgian government to honor the driver’s licenses issued in the Philippines. Because of this, Filipinos who are living and/or working in Belgium can now exchange their valid Philippine driver’s license with Belgian license without the need to take any written and practical examinations.

This arrangement has been under discussion for the least eight years, before it was finally implemented last April 22. Before the implementation, Filipinos living in Belgium were required to take written and practical examinations in either French or Dutch/Flemish to obtain Belgian driver’s license. Those who wanted to take the exam in English are made to pay a translation fee of €50.

Filipinos who did not want to take the exam then were still allowed to drive around in Belgium, provided that they have an international driver’s license issued in the Philippines.

The requirements for exchanging the Philippine driver’s license to the Belgian driver’s license are: a valid Philippine driver’s license; Belgian identity card or work permit; one passport-size photo; and a fee of €16. Other requirements may also be asked by the Belgian authority as deemed necessary.

Likewise, Belgian nationals living in the Philippines can exchange their valid Belgian driver’s license for a Philippine driver’s license at any Land Transportation Office (LTO) in the Philippines.

For more information, Filipinos in Belgium can visit the Federal Public Service, Mobility and Transport website at the www.mobility.fgov.be or contact their local commune.

Philippine Ambassador to Belgium Cristina Ortega reported that husband and wife Alex and Jovelle Fernandez were the first Filipino expatriates to get their Belgian driver’s license under the new arrangement last April 22. “They had absolutely no trouble. They simply presented the requirement including their valid Philippine driver’s licenses at their local commune, and a week later, they received their Belgian driver’s licenses,” she added.

The LTO submitted to the Belgian Embassy a list of security features with which the Belgian official can check the validity of the driver’s license. (Source: Pinoy Business)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Manny Pacquiao's Boxing Titles

Below is a list of the boxing titles Pacquiao has won:

World Titles

1. Pacquiao first held the WBC Flyweight title in 1998 when he defeated Chartchai Sasakul in Bangkok, Thailand. Pacquiao won by TKO in the 8th round. He defended the title once before losing it in a bout vs. Medgoen Singsurat in 1999.

2. Pacquiao first held the IBF Super Bantamweight title in 2001 after defeating Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He won by TKO in the 6th round, then proceeded to defend and retain the title four times.

3. Pacquiao then bagged the WBC Super Featherweight title on March 15, 2008, when he defeated Juan Manuel Marquez in a match in Las Vegas.

4. Pacquiao knocked out David Diaz in the 9th round of their June 28, 2008 Las Vegas match, clinching the WBC Lightweight title.

5. Pacquiao earned the IBO Light Welterweight title when he knocked out Ricky Hatton in the 2nd round of their May 2, 2009 bout in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao defeated Marco Antonio Barrera in a non-title featherweight bout on November 15, 2003, in Texas, USA. Pacquiao's victory in this match earned him titles such as the "People's Featherweight champ" and Ring Magazine's "Featherweight Championship of the World" award, although these are not considered world titles.

Other Titles

Pacquiao held the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) Flyweight title in 1997.

Pacquiao first held the WBC International Super Bantamweight title in 1999 after defeating Reynante Jamili at the Elorde Sports Center in Manila. Pacquiao won by TKO in the 2nd round; he successfully defended the title five times.

Pacquiao first held the WBC Super Featherweight International title in 2005 after defeating Hector Velasquez in Los Angeles, California, USA -- TKO in the 6th round. He successfully defended the title five times. Pacquiao initially vied for the said title in a match vs. Eric Morales earlier that year, but he lost to the Mexican boxer. Pacquiao was able to get the title in the bout vs. Velasquez. Morales twice attempted to snatch the title from Pacquiao in 2006; Pacquiao defeated him in both rematches.

Pacquiao won the RING Super Featherweight title in 2008 when he defeated Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas. It was in the same fight as the one where he got the WBC Super Featherweight title. This was his last boxing match as a featherweight. (Source: GMA News Research)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Detained SK Mayor tries to escape

MANILA, Philippines—Sheriffs and security guards of the Sandiganbayan detained a Sultan Kudarat mayor and his wife after they allegedly tried to flee while he was being arraigned for murder charges Wednesday afternoon.

Columbio, Sultan Kudarat mayor Edwin Bermudez and his wife Sheryl allegedly left the courtroom after the charges against him was read, took the stairs from the third floor down to the ground floor and went out the main gate of the six-story building in Quezon City.

Bermudez and his wife denied they were trying to escape and said they were just looking for the witness they will present for his bail petition, Chief Sheriff Edgardo Urieta said.

The Office of the Ombudsman had accused Bermudez of masterminding the killing of two supporters of his political rival Mohamad Paglas on May 15, 2004. The victims were gunned down in front of the town hall while joining a convoy to transfer ballot boxes to a nearby town.

Voluntary surrender

His arraignment was scheduled Wednesday afternoon. He also filed a petition for bail which is still pending with the court.

Bermudez had been at large since the case was filed with the Sandiganbayan in August 2008, but in an endorsement to the Sandiganbayan Wednesday, Columbio police chief Insp. Nathaniel Panaguiton said the mayor had voluntarily surrendered.

But Urieta noted that Bermudez was without any police escorts.

Second Division court bailiff Dennis Macaranas said that during the court hearing, the phone of Bermudez’ female lawyer suddenly rang. He advised her to answer the call outside the courtroom, but as she stepped out, Bermudez and his wife followed her.

The wife allegedly said they would be fetching a witness for the mayor’s bail petition.

Macaranas said he had asked them not to leave the court and that they had to be escorted by court sheriffs while the lawyer had insisted to return to the courtroom, her phone still in her ears, that the security guards had to take turns in telling her that it was not allowed.

But amid the commotion, Bermudez followed his wife who had already taken the stairs.

In his official report, Urieta said the guard on the third floor immediately asked through two-way radio his fellow guards on the ground floor “to hold the fleeing Bermudez and his wife” while Sheriffs Alexander Valencia and Federico Gamugamo ran after the couple.

The couple dashed out of the main gate fronting the Don Mariano Marcos Avenue, but security guard Noel Haddad saw them running. He also gave chase.

Haddad finally caught up with Sheryl about 30 meters from the main gate. Bermudez allegedly stopped running after seeing his wife had been accosted.

The couple were detained at the Office of the Sheriff as a nurse attended to Bermudez whose blood pressure reportedly shot up after the chase.

Urieta said because of the mayor’s condition, they would remain detained in his office instead of being turned over to the Quezon City Jail.(By Edson C. Tandoc Jr.; INQ.net)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

There’s only one Manny Pacquiao

LAS VEGAS – Four years ago, in the very same ring where he scored a crushing second-round knockout over an opponent many thought would give him the challenge of his career, Manny Pacquiao lost a decision to Erik Morales.

Morales was one of the most entertaining fighters of his time, but never once were “Morales” and “all-time great” ever used together in the same sentence.

In 2005, Pacquiao was good and exciting but hardly great fighter. After Saturday’s K.O. of Ricky Hatton, though, he stands atop the boxing world, even with the heavily hyped return of Floyd Mayweather Jr., who had been a near-unanimous choice as the world’s top fighter prior to his untimely retirement in June 2008.

Mayweather Jr. unretired on Saturday said he’d fight Juan Manuel Marquez in July, but he’ll have to defeat Pacquiao if he wants to be regarded as the best after Pacquiao decimated Hatton at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Pacquiao knocked Hatton down twice in the first round and then knocked him cold with a crushing left hand that may have been the best punch of his career late in the second round. Hatton fell face first and laid motionless for several minutes as the arena erupted.

If the Pacquiao Era hadn’t started with his decimation of Oscar De La Hoya in December, it began with a straight left that left promoter Bob Arum squealing.

Arum has promoted many of the game’s finest fighters, including Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler. Arum was so ebullient after Pacquiao’s devastating victory, he was comparing Pacquiao favorably to Ali.


“I promoted Muahmmad Ali and the best Ali I ever saw was the one who fought before he was forced to take a sabbatical for 3½ years,” Arum said. “That was the best Muhammad Ali. He had phenomenal speed and he had terrific reflexes, but he sure as hell didn’t have the explosive power that Manny Pacquiao has. … He was a great, great fighter, but there has never been a fighter with the same combination of speed and explosive power as Manny Pacquiao.”

It was hard to argue with any superlatives hurled Pacquiao’s way after the finest effort of his career. He picked apart a guy who was 45-1 coming into the fight and who was the linear super lightweight champion, making Hatton look like an upstart amateur.

Pacquiao was far too fast and far too strong for Hatton, who fought his entire career as a 140-pounder. Pacquiao, who began at just 106, hurt Hatton with nearly every shot on Saturday.

“Before the fight, a lot of people were saying I’m small at 140 and Ricky Hatton is bigger than me,” an unmarked Pacquiao said. “I didn’t put that in my mind.”

Ever since that disappointing loss to Morales, Pacquiao has made a transformation that has turned him into a superstar and has old-school boxing experts talking of him as an all-time great.

He barely squeaked out a victory over Marquez 14 months ago, but his trainer, Freddie Roach, said it would be no contest if they were to fight now.

“He’s a different now than he was [when he lost to Morales],” Roach said. “He’s not that guy. He’s a different guy. If he fought Marquez right now, I guarantee you he’d knock him out in three rounds. I’m telling you. I know that’s a bold statement, but he’s a much better fighter than the guy who fought those guys.

“Something clicked inside of him. I can’t pinpoint it. He’s just a different guy.”

Pacquiao isn’t a guy who simply goes to the gym to shed pounds to make the weight. He uses his training sessions as a classroom and takes a studious approach to improving himself.

Roach worked diligently with him to improve his right hook and on Saturday, it was his key punch. Hatton would cock his left as he went to throw it, a sign for Pacquiao to unleash his right hook, which he did in devastating manner.

He hurt Hatton with a combination that began with a right hook about 90 seconds into the fight, sending the British star spaghetti-legged in the corner. As Hatton’s many fans in the sellout crowd of 16,262 sang “There’s only one Ricky Hatton,” you had to wonder if Hatton somehow thought there might have been two Manny Pacquiaos the way punches were raining down upon him.

Hatton wasn’t in Pacquiao’s class, though he might have beaten him a few years ago. Pacquiao and Roach now form the best team in boxing as Pacquiao has developed his game to a point where he compares favorably with any man alive.

“What I am watching is something that is astounding,” Arum said. “Usually when a world championship-caliber boxer reaches the top, he can be good for a number of years. But most of the time, there is no improvement. This young man improves every single fight.

“He’s doing things he didn’t do two years ago. He’s doing more things and he’s doing other things he didn’t do before. His defense is tremendous and his reflexes now are tremendous. I have never, ever in more than 40 years – and I say this without hyperbole – I have never seen a fighter combine speed and explosive power the way he does.”

Boxing now needs a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. If it occurs, it could be the most significant fight in the sport in decades.

But Pacquiao doesn’t need Mayweather to affirm himself as one of the sport’s greats. Pacquiao answered that question plenty well in the ring. (Source: Yahoo! Sports)

Pacquiao out to make a big difference

LAS VEGAS—Who’ll get knocked out? And in what round?

Manny Pacquiao, the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, and Ricky Hatton, the light welterweight king, will supply the answers when they clash for the International Boxing Organization light welterweight crown on Saturday night (Sunday in Manila).

With both fighters known for their power and aggressive brawling styles, ring experts believe the megabucks “Battle of East and West” won’t last the 12-round distance at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Pacquiao, who has defied logic by hopping from one division to another in his last three fights, will try to become the first boxer—living or dead—to fight in four different divisions and sweep them all.

The Associated Press noted that Pacquiao returns to the ring much the same fighter he was five months ago, taking on Hatton in a lucrative 140-pound fight matching two guys who love to brawl. The big difference now, though, is that everybody expects him to win.

One big fight can create a lot of expectation, and the biggest task for Pacquiao may be managing them in the ring, said AP.

Betting odds in this gambling haven favor Pacquiao, holder of a 48-win, 3-loss, 2-draw record, to score a knockout victory that will etch his name in boxing annals. (Follow a real-time, online round-by-round account of the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight through the sports channel of www.inquirer.net. The fight starts at 9:54 p.m. in Las Vegas, 12:54 p.m. Sunday in Manila.)

Last year, Pacquiao bested Juan Manuel Marquez for the World Boxing Council junior lightweight title, knocked out David Diaz in the ninth round for the WBC lightweight crown and pounded Oscar De La Hoya into submission after eight rounds in a non-title welterweight bout.

It was a feat reminiscent of the great Henry Armstrong, the only boxer to hold three world titles simultaneously, from November 1937 to August 1938.

Elite company

If he dethrones Hatton, holder of a 45-1 slate and unbeaten at 140 pounds, Pacquiao will clinch his fifth world title, joining the elite company of Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Floyd Mayweather Jr. De La Hoya, the man whom Pacquiao forced into retirement last month, is the lone six-division champion.

The 30-year-old Pacquiao copped the WBC flyweight title in 1998 and the International Boxing Federation junior featherweight plum in 2001.

Pacquiao knows the historical significance of a victory over Hatton, also 30, but his main intention is to give pride and dignity to a country longing for heroes.

“Wala nang atrasan, bakbakan na ito (There’s no turning back, it’s going to be a brawl),” Pacquiao said before retiring to his suite Friday night.

Like Pacquiao, who tipped the scales at 138 pounds during the official weigh-in Friday afternoon, Hatton commands a huge following in England and this was aptly proven when 25,000 Britons flew in for the bout this weekend despite the recession and the threat of an impending influenza pandemic.

Official weigh-in

They were able to gobble up about 60 percent of the sold-out tickets, but many of the Britons will wind up just betting in the casinos and drinking in bars.

During the official weigh-in Friday, Hatton barely made the light welterweight limit and overcame reported weight problems, tipping the scales at exactly 140 pounds.

The British star boasted to his countrymen that they won’t go home disappointed.

According to Hatton, he’s going to be the biggest man Pacquiao has ever faced as he intends to climb the ring at 154 pounds. The biggest man Pacquiao ever fought was De la Hoya, who was just 147 pounds.

As usual, Pacquiao refused to predict the outcome, insisting that his fists will do the talking in the ring.

‘Only God knows’

“Only God knows what will happen tomorrow,” said Pacquiao after the weigh-in.

With Pacquiao and Hatton, whose lone defeat was inflicted by the retired Floyd Mayweather Jr., son and namesake of his trainer Floyd Sr., refusing to get into a word war in the fight build-up, attention has shifted to the verbal sparring between trainers Freddie Roach and Mayweather Sr.

The elder Mayweather went as far as saying that Roach is a joke as a coach, later improving the name-calling to “cockroach.”

And just to rile Mayweather, Roach predicted that he’d be disappointed if Pacquiao fails to finish off Hatton in three rounds.

But after feeling Pacquiao’s newfound power in the punching mitts during training, Roach changed his mind and insisted that Hatton will definitely fall in three rounds.

Trainer’s trophy

To further drum up interest in the Roach-Mayweather sideshow, a four-tiered trophy over five feet tall will be given to the winning trainer.

The fight card, jointly promoted by Top Rank of Bob Arum and Golden Boy Promotions of De La Hoya, will also be shown worldwide on pay-per-view and closed circuit television, with sales expected to approximate the 1.25 million buys Pacquiao-De La Hoya generated.

Officiating the Pacquiao-Hatton showdown will be referee Kenny Bayless with Michael Pernick, Glenn Trowbridge and CJ Ross as judges.

The main supporting event pits Mexican Humberto Soto (47-7-2 with 30 KOs) against Canadian Benoit Gaudet (20-1 with 17 KOs) for the WBC super featherweight title.

Also seeing action in the non-televised bouts is rising Filipino star Bernabe Concepcion, who will be facing Colombian Yogli Herrera in an eight-round lightweight encounter.(INQ.net)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

RP Braces for Pacquiao Fight

The streets of the Philippines could resemble a ghost town for a few hours on Sunday morning as everyone from taxi drivers to petty thieves makes time to watch Manny Pacquiao's fight against Ricky Hatton.

Pacquiao, known as the "nation's fist," is idolised in the Southeast Asian nation and his every appearance in the ring has a majority of the 90 million people glued to their television and radio sets, causing a surge in demand for electricity.

"In terms of sports events, every Pacquiao fight is the Philippines' Super Bowl," said Carlito Claudio, vice president for systems operations at the National Grid Corp of the Philippines.

Power demand normally rises by two percent, or around 140 megawatts, whenever Pacquiao fights and this Sunday is likely to be no different, Claudio told Reuters by phone.

Pacquiao, a former four-weight world champion, will try and snatch the IBO light-welterweight title from Hatton in a 12-round bout in Las Vegas on Sunday morning Phillipines time.

"I'll skip work in the morning to watch the fight," Danilo Santos, a 28-year-old taxi driver in Manila, told Reuters.

"I'm sure all Filipinos will also stay home so it will just be a waste of time driving around. If Manny wins, then I'll have a busy afternoon," added Santos, who expects people to be partying in the streets should their man triumph.

Lolita Cruz has set up a cable television at her small, neighbourhood canteen in a Manila suburb so her customers can watch the fight while eating.

"I am praying for Manny's victory because that will bring honour and pride to all Filipinos anywhere in the world," Cruz said. "He's my hero because he always makes us proud."

Restaurants with cable television will open early as will shopping malls with cinemas, where people can watch the fight live via satellite.

The SM group, the country's largest cinema operator, said the tickets, priced at 551 pesos each, were selling fast.

"So far we've sold only 50 percent of the tickets but many people usually buy during the day of the match," said Armando Cortez, supervisor at the SM North EDSA cinemas which sold the most tickets in the country for Pacquiao's December 7 defeat of Oscar de la Hoya.

Pacquiao, nicknamed "Pac-man," is clearly popular with the nation's criminals as well.

"We have historical and statistical data to show that there's always zero crime during Pacquiao's actual match," said Nicanor Bartolome, national police spokesman.

In the southern Mindanao island, government soldiers will set up a giant screen in a former camp of the militant rebel group Abu Sayyaf to watch the match, according to a local radio report.

Pacquiao, widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, has also distracted politicians.

Congress adjourned its session early this week so about 50 lawmakers, including the speaker of the House of Representatives, could fly to Las Vegas for the fight. (By Manolo Serapio Jr. and Manny Mogato)

Friday, May 1, 2009

"It's going to be a war" - Pacquiao

LAS VEGAS—RICKY HATTON promised to “shock the world” when he meets Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila) in a title fight that both boxers said would be a war.

The expected fireworks at the two fighters’ joint press conference at the MGM Grand hotel-casino on Wednesday fizzled out, but just the same promoters of the “Battle of East and West” succeeded in raising interest in the blockbuster card.

But Pacquiao’s mother, Dionesia, in the United States for the first time, provided the sizzle.

Oddsmakers have installed Pacquiao a 2-1 favorite in their 140-pound (63½-kilogram) fight for Hatton’s IBO junior-welterweight title.

“I’ve been here before,” Hatton said, reveling in his role as underdog. “People say (I’m) over-hyped, overprotected, a fat, beer-drinking Englishman. Well, I’m going to shock the world again.”

Pacquiao said he and his team had been repeatedly watching video tapes of previous Hatton fights and were ready for Saturday’s showdown.

“Everyone knows the style of Ricky Hatton,” the 30-year-old Filipino added. “He always comes forward, throwing a lot of punches. It’s going to be a war.”

Hatton was quick to echo his opponent’s forecast. “Oh yeah, it’s going to be a war,” he said. “We’re going to make it one.”

Poet Mayweather Sr.

Hatton said “I will be shocked” if the fight went against him. “And I say that with no disrespect for my opponent.

“But just standing next to him—and I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me because he can punch—the first thing that goes through my mind is: ‘How is this man going to keep me off him for 12 rounds?’ That’s how confident I feel.”

Bob Arum of Top Rank and Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions took turns extolling the virtues of their respective fighters, Pacquiao and Hatton, during the fight’s final press conference even as Floyd Mayweather Sr. failed in his bid to lure counterpart trainer, Freddie Roach, into a verbal tussle.

Roach keeps his cool

Mayweather, who recited a poem, referred to Roach as a joke of a coach and insulted the three-time Trainer of the Year and Hall of Famer by likening him to a cockroach.

Roach kept his cool, opting not to answer the taunts. Roach’s speech was short and sweet. He said he had the better fighter, reiterating that he would be disappointed if Pacquiao did not get Hatton in three.

Mayweather taunted Pacquiao in poetic verse as he predicted a knockout by the British “Hitman.”

“After this fight, Pacman will never be the same,” Mayweather said.

“Hey Pac, it’s over, so quit wishing on a four-leaf clover.

“You will be uncrowned, with your head down, on your chest, knowing that Ricky Hatton is the best.

“I hope you know, you have got to go, it’s going to be Hitman Hatton by KO.”

The 78-year-old Arum called Pacquiao the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter and the Social Welfare System of the Philippines for sending 500 children to school, donating hospital beds and giving dole-outs to the destitute.

De La Hoya cited Hatton’s iconic stature in England, citing the 60,000 fans who packed the Wembley Stadium in one of his fights.

Hatton sounded a little bitter

“I think you (media) have all made your mind up already,” Hatton said. “I have been reading what you have been saying and what everyone has been saying. That doesn’t scare me. I have been here before. I have been the underdog before.

Hatton added: “This is my weight division, but I understand that I am the underdog. I understand why people are picking on me especially since Manny Pacquiao is the No. 1 pound for pound fighter in the world who just had an exceptional win over Oscar.”

Pacquiao refused to predict the outcome

“I respect Ricky Hatton. He is a good person. He is a nice guy and I would like to remind everyone that there is nothing personal (in) this fight and we are just doing our job to give a good fight to the people and make them happy.”

Dionesia a hit

It was Pacquiao’s mother, Aling Dionesia, who grabbed attention when he was introduced by Arum to the hundreds of broadcast and print journalists.

A swarm of photographers swarmed all over Dionesia, who is in the United States for the first time to lend support to his favorite son. She still can’t bring herself to watch her son fight.

“She is scared to watch it live,” Pacquiao said. “To have her here, it’s going to give me more inspiration to do my best and win. It’s going to be one of the best times I’ve had in my life.”

Dionesia says she plans to pray for her son while he is in the ring.

“I’m not scared,” she said through a translator. “I’m confident he’s going to win. Manny is going to go all the way.”

Lessons in humility, generosity

“I wasn’t feeling too well and also I wanted to take care of everything at home so it was ready when Manny got home,” she said. “I love the United States. It’s wonderful. I have wanted to come here for a long time.”

Pacquiao has pleased his mother by learning the lessons she taught of humility and generosity.

“It’s the way he processes everything, humbly and with kindness,” she said.

A sell-out

Though the Hatton fight is for a lightly regarded IBO crown, winning at junior welterweight will mean Pacquiao has won titles in six weight divisions, beginning at 112 pounds (51 kilograms).

Both fighters had spectacular performances the last time they were in the ring. For Pacquiao it was the win over De La Hoya, but Hatton showed off some himself a few weeks earlier by stopping Paulie Malignaggi in front of thousands of his ever-singing fans.

Promoters claim the fight has already sold out the 15,000-seat arena at the MGM and are selling closed circuit viewing at other Las Vegas hotels. They’re also hopeful that even an ailing economy won’t stop people from spending $50 to order the fight on pay-per-view, perhaps with a few friends.

With reports from AP, Reuters and AFP

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pacquiao hits 140 lbs a week before fight

HOLLYWOOD -- WHILE WINDING DOWN his training on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), Manny Pacquiao took off his sweaty red shirt to flaunt his well-chiseled body and bulging muscles.

Then, while doing abdominal strengthening exercises, he blurted out: “Am I small at 140?”

Pacquiao actually doesn’t look like somebody who can readily be swept aside by a bigger guy like Ricky Hatton.

Pacquiao, in fact, overpowered sparring partners Alisher Rahimov and David Rodela in five rounds with his dazzling speed.

As it turned out, Pacquiao had already made the 140-pound limit for his light welterweight clash with Hatton a week before the megabuck bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“He didn’t even need to diet,” assistant trainer Nonoy Neri said in Filipino. “Hard work in training kept his weight in check.”

Neri’s disclosure was rather surprising as master trainer Freddie Roach put Pacquiao’s weight at around 145 on Thursday.

Based on Pacquiao’s movements, however, his weight is likely to be less as he zooms and glides with power to match during the training session presided by three-time former heavyweight champ Michael Moorer.

Atlanta Olympic silver medalist Onyok Velasco, now a close pal of Pacquiao, was impressed.

“He (Manny) is very fast and strong,” said Velasco in Filipino.

Matchmaker and Pacquiao confidant Wakee Salud added that Pacquiao seems to have gotten stronger than when he stopped Oscar De La Hoya at 147 lb last Dec. 6.

Rodela, who was knocked down by a body blow from Pacquiao during sparring last week, also praised Pacquiao.

“Damn, he’s too fast,” said Rodela. “I was about to catch him and then he was gone.”

Despite the betting odds piling up in his favor, Pacquiao, however, refuses to be drawn into complacency.

“I don’t know why people trust me so much,” said Pacquiao.

Pacquiao even likened the bout, a blockbuster with 16,300 tickets sold to a cockfight.

“We both have spurs and gaffers, so let’s just wait and see,” he said. Team Pacquiao will proceed to Las Vegas on Monday.

NOTES: Amir Khan, the rising British star who beat Marco Antonio Barrera last month, dropped by at Wild Card on Friday. He went to see Pacquiao, with whom he was able to spar with at Wild Card… Aside from Bernabe Concepcion, another Filipino, lightweight Dennis Laurente will be seeing action in the undercard of the Pacquiao-Hatton showdown, where he fights Marvin Cordova Jr. (20-0-1 with 11KOs)… Rodel Mayol guns for Ivan Calderon’s WBO light flyweight crown on June 13 at the Madison Square Garden in New York… The presence of his mother Dionisia, brothers Bobby and Roel and wife Jinkee inspires Manny to go the extra mile in training… Team Pacquiao members are in a for windfall as Manny is going to reward with a substantial amount those who surpass his weight challenge of reducing by 10 percent their respective weights on Sunday.(By Roy Luarca)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"I’m ready", declares the Pacman

HOLLYWOOD – It’s not the weight, but the impact of the punches that matters.

A reinvigorated Manny Pacquiao said on Thursday that he didn’t care if Ricky Hatton would come in heavier for their “Battle of East and West” date on May 2 (May 3 in Manila) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“It’s OK if he comes in at 150 [pounds] or over,” said Pacquiao in Filipino. “It’s the punches that will decide the outcome.”

Though betting odds are heavily stacked in his favor at minus 285 – meaning a $285 bet wins just $100 if he prevails, Pacquiao refuses to be complacent.

“I’m already in top condition, but we can’t really tell until the fight is over,” he said. “Hatton is just as fast, he’s also good, strong and a champion.”

Pacquiao even prefers to consider himself as the underdog.

“Let’s not presume that this is going to be an easy fight, that I have the advantage” the General Santos lefty told Manila-based sportswriters over lunch at Nat’s Thai Restaurant, which is just a few steps away from the gym.

“Come fight night, it’s our hands that will do the talking in the ring. Let’s not say anything, so that we can’t be blamed whatever happens.”

Nibbling on fresh strawberries and slices of watermelon while signing autographs, Pacquiao said he felt he was in the same condition now as when he beat Oscar De La Hoya into retirement last December 6, also in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao said he’s totally focused on taking away Hatton’s International Boxing Organization light welterweight crown and that weight was the least of his concerns.

According to Pacquiao, he pigged out on his favorite foods on Wednesday, when Roach ordered him not to do gym work. Despite the extra food, he still tipped the scales at 147 pounds.

Asked about Hatton’s supposedly dirty tactics and brawling style, the Filipino ring superstar said he was not worried as Roach and chief assistant Michael Moorer have devised strategies to counter them.

Pacquiao said he would prefer that Hatton would fight him toe-to-toe because they have the same style. He said he would need to be careful to avoid the enemy’s phantom punch.

“When the bell rings, let’s get it on,” said the only Asian four-division world champion. “The fight lasts just 30 to 40 minutes, but we trained for two months.

“All I can say is I’m ready.”(By Roy Luarca)