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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Manny hits Vegas ready for war

LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao is the last man on earth to engage himself in a word war.

And this time is no exception, even as his trainer, Freddie Roach, and Ricky Hatton’s trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr., have traded barbs before the press, often times catching the soft-spoken, kind-hearted Filipino champion in the crossfire.

Pacquiao also refused to get carried away by Hatton’s recent statement, calling on his countrymen from Britain to go sell their houses, and put all the money on the 30-year-old pride of Manchester. He said he’s the sure bet.

“I don’t think he ever said that,” said Pacquiao of Hatton in defusing the situation.

“Even if people talk and say a lot of things, and that I’ve heard a lot being said against me, you will never hear anything from me that I’m going to exact revenge or something,” said Pacquiao in Filipino.

Pacquiao wore a white shirt, blue shorts, rubber slippers and a Patek Phillipe wristwatch when he emerged from his bedroom to greet the more than 50 persons having late dinner in his elegant 60th floor suite at The Hotel of Mandalay Bay.

They have just come from a four-hour journey from Los Angeles to this throbbing city where people party all day, all night.

Pacquiao, who came in ahead of the big group, which took the “Pacman” bus from LA, said he’s ready for the fight.

“I’m a hundred percent in condition. We just have to maintain it until Saturday. We’ll stay loose and no more heavy training,” said the 30-year-old southpaw who earlier in the day closed out his sparring at the Wild Card Gym in LA for a total of 149 rounds since March 17.

He said he’s in the same condition as he was when he demolished Oscar dela Hoya last December, although the style might change depending on how Hatton moves around the ring.

“It depends on his style. We may use a different strategy this time. But I’m ready. We don’t know if Hatton will initiate but people know my style, in and out, in and out, and waiting for the perfect timing. I can also slug it out from inside,” he said.

Pacquiao said Hatton can go to his body all night long, and it won’t make a difference because he’s got abs solid as a rock.

“In sparring I let them go to my body. That’s why I prefer he goes for my body than my head. It’s really hard to tell. We’ll just let our fists do the talking,” said Pacquiao.

Notes: Gerry Peñalosa is A-OK after taking a beating from Puerto Rico’s Juan Manuel Lopez last Saturday. Filipino doctor Allan Recto, who was in Peñalosa’s corner, said the 36-year-old boxer was brought to the hospital for precautionary measures after taking in more than 400 power punches before the fight was stopped after nine rounds. “He underwent facial X-Rays, and also on the neck and chest. They were normal. Preliminary readings of the CT scan were also normal,” said Recto. Now it’s up to Peñalosa if he wants to retire or continue fighting although his beautiful wife, Goody, hinted that it’s time to call it a day. “You’ve done everything,” the wife was quoted as telling his husband, a two-time world champion... Manny Pacquiao stayed as a -270 favorite (you need $270 to win $100) while Ricky Hatton jumped from +210 to +230 (turn $100 to $230). That the fight won’t last the distance is at -125 and going the full distance of 12 rounds is at +105. Pacquiao winning by decision is 2/1 and by KO is at 10/113. Hatton by decision is 9/2 and by knockout is 16/5. A draw gives a handsome dividend of 22/1... Pacquiao did not take the bus to Vegas, and as tradition dictated, took the 300-mile trip on his Lincoln Navigator with his wife Jinkee, 1996 Atlanta Olympics boxing silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, Pinoy trainer Buboy Fernandez and wife Claire, and Edward Lura on the wheel.


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