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.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

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)

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