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June 29, 2006 Friday

Manny Pacquiao’s Ready to Fight!

manny pacquiao "Pac Man"click here for manny pacquiao
and oscar larios statistics

Four days before the fight and one think Manny Pacquiao may have over done his weight loss procedure. It’s because he looks thin and underweight as he prepares for the big fight against Mexico’s Oscar Larios on Saturday morning at the Araneta Coliseum.

But his impoverished look is simply the result of his strict diet as he sweats to reach the 130 lbs limit in the 12-round encounter that appears as the country’s biggest sporting event of the year.When he left last month to begin training with Freddie Roach, Pacquiao weighed about 145 lbs. But he’s on way to make the limit, judging at the way he looks now.

"I might even weigh under 130 lbs during the official weigh in (set at the Discovery Suites on Saturday)," Pacquiao said after his third to the last workout at the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) gym yesterday. When he knocked out Erik Morales last January, Pacquiao weighed 128 1/2 lbs and against Larios this weekend, he expects to point the scales at a little below the limit of 130.

"Labang-laban na ako," Pacquiao said as he was preparing to leave the gym and head back to his base at the Manila Hotel. But Pacquiao is not the only one full of eagerness to climb the ring. Oscar Larios, too.

According to his manager Rafael Mendoza, Larios is spending his free time watching tapes of past Pacquiao fights hoping to see a twist which he could take advantage of.

"We have been watching fights of Pacquiao against different opponents and we try to look for his strong as well as weak points," Mendoza told scribes over breakfast at the The Discovery Suites yesterday in Pasig. "Anybody who doesn’t respect Pacquiao is crazy," Mendoza said as he paid honor to the Filipino’s reputation as one of the fight game’s most feared punchers. "A lot of people in Mexico think we are going on a mission impossible, but that’s how it is in boxing, you have to take risks. "But nobody’s unbeatable," he said, then mentioned past instances when the heavy favorite lost to underdogs.

"Tyson was 60-1 against Buster Douglas and Tyson got knocked out. Even Pacquiao was the underdog against (Marco Antonio) Barrera in Texas in 2003 and Barrera was knocked out (by Pacquiao)," Mendoza said. But Pacquiao’s handlers are uninterested with Mendoza’s storyline.

Pacquiao’s team is so sure about victory that a date, Nov. 18, has been set for his rubber match with Morales in Las Vegas. Probably even if he loses or wins this fight. But Mendoza is a firm believer in his boy’s destiny. He believes Larios has what it takes to score an upset.

"Oscar and his team did not come here as tourists. We came to win," added Mendoza.

NOTES: Manny Pacquiao was unhappy when he learned that the sports media do not have a ringside seat on fight day at the Araneta Coliseum. "Ngayon lang ako nakarinig na sa upper box ang media. Tumanda na ako sa boksing ngayon lang ako nakarinig ng ganyan. Masyado na silang sugapa at suwapang." Pacquiao then guaranteed the press that he will make representations for them to have a better seat. Last night, however, reports said the press will now be assigned lower box seats.

-- Oscar Larios usually feeds on fruits, omelets and juice during breakfast, corn flakes and yoghurt during lunch and pasta, vegetable, fish and salad during dinner at the fabulous Restaurant 5 at the fifth floor of the Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center, Pasig. "We like it here very much," said Larios’ agent Rafael Mendoza, who is being assisted during their stay by Gemma V. Batoon, director of marketing for the hotel.

--Michael Domingo has formally replaced Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista as the opponent for Mexican Alejandro Montiel. Bautista is down with the flu.

-- Seen at the Mall of Asia a few days ago were Freddie Roach and members of Pacquiao’s US management team. Roach was crowded by shoppers who instantly recognized the bespectacled trainer.