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Joined: 04 Nov 2008
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Location: Brunei Darussalam

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:50 pm    Post subject: BOXING Reply with quote

After three weeks of negotiations, Oscar de la Hoya and Manny Pacquiao made it official this morning, agreeing to fight in a 12-round non-title bout Dec. 6 in what’s expected to be a blockbuster pay-per-view event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The biggest haggling point, the share of the purse, was not announced during the conference call with both fighters and their promoters, Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions and Bob Arum of Top Rank.

Manny Pacquiao, the WBC lightweight champion, was seeking 40% of the purse, while De La Hoya was offering 30%, although they apparently came to a compromise somewhere in between. The fighters will meet at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. De La Hoya has not fought at that weight since 2001, and WBC lightweight champion Pacquaio has never fought above 135 pounds.

The Mirage Hotel and Casino opened betting with De La Hoya as an 8-5 favorite over Pacquiao.

De La Hoya (39-5, 30 knockouts) has been criticized in some circles for accepting a bout against a smaller opponent, but didn’t believe a fight with Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs) would affect his standing. “My legacy is already cemented,” said De La Hoya, a six-time world champion. “You can’t take back what I’ve accomplished in the ring.”

The match with Pacquiao was widely expected to be the 35-year-old De La Hoya’s last fight of his distinguished career. But today De La Hoya was a bit vague on his retirement.

“Let’s just say my foot got caught in the door,” De La Hoya said when asked if he’s leaving the door open for future fights.

De La Hoya, who grew up in East Los Angeles and gained fame at the 1992 Olympics, began pondering a match against Pacquiao after watching him in impressive victories over top Mexican fighters Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez.

His desire intensified after reading statements from Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, who was in De La Hoya’s corner for his fight against Floyd Mayweather. Roach said De La Hoya would not be able to “pull the trigger” against Pacquiao.

“I felt challenged, especially from an expert trainer like Freddie Roach,” De La Hoya said. “If he thinks I can’t pull the trigger, then we’ll see on Dec. 6.”

De La Hoya admitted he’ll need to work on his hand speed to counter the smaller but swifter Filipino. “I have quite a task in front of me,” De La Hoya said. “We’re three months away and we have to figure out, quick, how we’re going to neutralize him.”

Pacquiao, 29, watched De La Hoya’s last fight against Steve Forbes in May, and believes he’ll have more of an advantage than just speed. He predicted he would beat De La Hoya in much the same way he defeated David Diaz in his last fight, a ninth-round technical knockout in June.

“I’m faster and stronger than him, and I’m younger,” Pacquiao said. “He has an advantage in the height … but I believe I’m stronger.”

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