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.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

A fight for the Oscar (award) in boxing!


“I prepared for King Kong,” De La Hoya told reporters on Wednesday, adding his fight with the Filipino was the kind likely to end in a knockout.

Fight time is around 9 p.m. Saturday Las Vegas time, or about 1 p.m. Sunday in Manila. (For pre-fight updates and coverage of the fight, please go to www.inquirer.net)
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Pacquiao is hardly King Kong, though De La Hoya would be wise to beware of a fighter who has won titles in four weight divisions and is heralded by many as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Though he started his boxing career at 106 pounds (48 kg) and has never fought above 135 pounds (61 kg), Pacquiao is the kind of nonstop puncher who can make an aging fighter look bad.

And that pretty much is the selling point for a fight that seemed odd when it was first made but now looks like an increasingly intriguing match-up of two men who have been in their share of big fights.

“We can either box, we can either brawl or we can even counterpunch him,” De La Hoya said.

“I would be disappointed if I don’t stop him because this type of fight calls for a knockout,” the 35-year-old, six-division champion and former Olympic gold medalist added.

“[In] this type of fight, you get two fighters who are going to fight. If Manny Pacquiao hits me with a good shot, hey, let’s fight. I’m going to bite into my mouthpiece and let’s fight.”

De La Hoya even made a play on his own name during an interview following their final pre-fight press conference, which lasted close to two hours.

“When you want to win an Oscar (award), you’ll do anything you can to win an Oscar,” De La Hoya said. “That’s what they’ve done. They jumped up two weight classes and they’re looking for that Oscar.”

And it will be an Oscar ready to do everything he can to win a fight where he has everything to lose that will confront Pacquiao in the ring, De La Hoya vowed.

A place in history

“This is going to be boxing history,” the Pacman countered. “Fifty years from now, people will still remember this fight.”

Pacquiao continues to train without the nuisance of trying to make the weight. With the fight pegged at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds (67 kg), Asia’s only four-division champ hasn’t found any need to cut down on food.

Two days before the weigh-in, the 29-year-old Gen. Santos City native reportedly tipped the scales at 145 pounds, with De La Hoya at an even lighter 143.8.

“It doesn’t matter, fighting at 147,” said Pacquiao, currently a +135 underdog in the match. “It’s not a big (issue) because I fight a lot of bigger fighters in sparring.”

Odds of +135 underdog mean your bet of $100 on Pacquiao would bring you $135 if he won.

Odds won’t matter

Making this special for Pacquiao is the fact that this match “will make my name known not only in the Philippines but in the whole world.”

Pacquiao said he was drawing a lot of motivation from the fact that De La Hoya continued to be a -165 favorite for the fight—meaning a bet of $165 bet on De La Hoya would win you only $100 if the American won.

Pacquiao reminded reporters that bigger odds—4-1 to be exact—were against him in his 2003 fight against Marco Antonio Barrera, the Mexican legend that Pacquiao forced to quit after 11 brutal rounds in San Antonio, Texas.

“I always believe in myself,” Pacquiao said.

De La Hoya claims he has been down to around 147 pounds for weeks, and one look at him in a track suit seemed to back that up.

The same can’t be said about Pacquiao, but his job in the weeks preparing for the fight wasn’t to diet but to eat as much as he possibly could.

One fighter has been starving himself, while the other has been gorging. That’s the only way the two could get close enough in weight to allow them to meet at the 147-pound limit in a bout that will bring them millions even with a souring economy.

$100-million purse

The “Dream Match” is expected to generate a purse of $100 million to be divided between the two fighters, with the “Golden Boy” taking in the lion’s share at 60 percent, according to Agence France-Presse.

De La Hoya towered over Pacquiao when the two met during the press conference. But the bout could hasten De La Hoya’s exit from the ring if he has misjudged his opponent.

Pay-per-view

Some oddsmakers give Pacquiao a chance, making him an 8-5 underdog in a fight that both he and De La Hoya have relentlessly promoted from their first press conference a few months ago at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

The promotion continued unabated at the final press conference, but there are questions over how well the fight will do with a $55 pay-per-view price tag in the United States at a time people are watching their money carefully.

De La Hoya is co-promoting the fight through his own company and spent much of his time at the podium at the MGM Grand hotel-casino reminding people that they could get up to $50 in rebates on the fight if they buy the right kind of beer, tequila and soda. Just to make sure he covered all bases, he repeated the message in Spanish.

De La Hoya, who hasn’t won a significant fight in six years, sounded like he was preparing for the kind of all-out brawl boxing fans would pay good money to see.

But Freddie Roach doesn’t buy it. The man who was in De La Hoya’s corner in his last big fight a year ago against Floyd Mayweather Jr. said after that fight that De La Hoya couldn’t pull the trigger on his punches anymore.

Pacquiao’s dream

Roach is Pacquiao’s trainer and he pushed for this fight, certain that even an undersized Pacquiao has plenty to handle De La Hoya.

“He’s so tight,” Roach said. “I’ve never seen a fighter who is so experienced so tight before a fight.”

While De La Hoya says he has nothing to gain by beating Pacquiao because of the size difference, a win would help turn around a career that has been stuck in mediocrity since he stopped Fernando Vargas at 154 pounds (70 kg) in 2002.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, is already a national hero in the Philippines, where the entire nation pauses to watch his fights, and widely considered one of the best active fighters around.

But this would be a breakthrough win in his first megafight, and he has the added bonus of perhaps being the fighter who finally sent De La Hoya into retirement.

“If you sacrifice and dream about a fight, you can win,” Pacquiao said. “It’s hard to explain how happy I am right now.”

Focused, prepared

Pacquiao said he was “ready and excited” going into the fight.

“I am prepared ... This will be a good fight,” Pacquiao told a Manila radio. “I am focused on the fight. I am ready, I am excited.”

With a 47-3 record, with two drawn and 35 knockouts, Pacquiao is the current World Boxing Council lightweight champion after knocking out David Diaz in June.

De la Hoya, who has won world titles in six different weight classes, has not fought as a 147-pounder in seven years. He brings to the ring a 39-5 record, with 30 knockouts. (Reports from AP and AFP)

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