Sunday, November 22, 2009

Latest win his third best

By Abac Cordero
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - While focus shifts to his next fight on and off the ring, Manny Pacquiao looked back at his historic win over Miguel Cotto and said last week’s victory, which made him the first and only boxer to win seven world titles in seven different weight classes, now ranks as the third best among all his previous wins.

Pacquiao said his eight-round victory over the boxing’s golden boy, Oscar dela Hoya, last December is the sweetest of them all, followed by his sensational second-round knockout of British superstar Ricky Hatton last May. Then he said the victory over Cotto, who’s supposed to be bigger and stronger, comes next.

“That would be my top three choices. My favorite wins in boxing. It’s the fight against Oscar, then Hatton and Cotto,” said Pacquiao who has won world titles as a flyweight, super-bantamweight, featherweight, super-featherweight, lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight, a feat no other boxer has ever accomplished.

It’s a feat that may be hard to match and even harder to surpass.

In fourth among Pacquiao’s all-time favorites is his 11th round stoppage of the Marco Antonio Barrera six years ago, on Nov. 15, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas at 126 lb, followed by his back-to-back knockout victories over Mexican legend Erik Morales in January and November of 2006 at 130 lb.

Pacquiao won a unanimous decision in his rematch with Barrera in 2007 at 130 lb. He fought Cotto at 145, Hatton at 140 and Dela Hoya at 147. In all these fights, Pacquiao did not climb the ring heavier than 150 (he was 149 when he faced Cotto at the MGM Grand).

“There’s Barrera I of course. Then it should be the Morales fights. But the Dela Hoya win is the best,” said Pacquiao, who is amazed at himself that as of March last year he was fighting Juan Manuel Marquez at 130 lb, then he went on to beat David Diaz at 135 then Dela Hoya and Hatton.

“That’s four weight classes and three titles (on the one against Dela Hoya was non-title) in just over a year,” said Pacquiao.

“But the fight against Cotto should be up there, too, because it was where I made history. And it wasn’t an easy fight. He was strong. I thank the Lord that I survived the fight. In between rounds, I could hear them (including his wife Jinkee) shouting and asking me to finish him off. But I couldn’t. He was tough,” said Pacquiao.

And it’s not over yet for the 30-year-old superstar who said he can still fight at 154 lb or the super-welterweight class. He said that except for the size perhaps he’s confident that he can still carry his punch and his speed to the next higher division. But that’s looking too far ahead of the future.

In the meantime, Pacquiao will spend the next couple of weeks bonding with his family, and putting things in place regarding his bid for a Congressional seat in the coming May 2010 elections. He is running in his hometown in Sarangani, up against a formidable foe that comes from a formidable political clan in the province.

Then at the same time, Pacquiao is busy looking at his next fight, although none would be bigger and more exciting than a fight with the undefeated American and ex-pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather. With all the money the fight could generate, it would be crazy for these fighters not to get it done by next year.

The Mayweather camp, through Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, can get the ball rolling soon and start negotiating with the Pacquiao camp, through Bob Arum of Top Rank.

“If they really want the fight, they know whom to call. Period. Period,” said Arum, the legendary fight promoter.

“It’s not certain if this fight with Mayweather would ever push through. There could be difficulties in the negotiations.

And this early, strategies are on place just for one to get a bigger share of the purse,” said Pacquiao.

The fight that could break all records in fight purse and pay-per-view sales should take place by the middle of 2010 or just a couple of months after Pacquiao runs in the elections.

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach had suggested a 50-50 split in the purse and the winner takes more, or takes all of the income to be generated through pay-per-view sales, gate receipts or merchandise.

“I like it when the winner takes more,” said Roach.

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