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Monday, April 6, 2009

Manny Pacquiao Promises 'Once in a Lifetime Fight' vs. Ricky Hatton

In a telephone interview with FanHouse, Manny Pacquiao, widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, talked about his dominant win over Oscar De La Hoya, his upcoming fight with Ricky Hatton (Saturday, May 2 live on HBO pay-per-view) and what it's like to be the biggest star in the Philippines.

Michael David Smith: We're a few months removed from your fight with Oscar De La Hoya. When you look back on that fight, are you surprised at how thoroughly you dominated him?
Manny Pacquiao: Well, before the fight I believed, of course, I was going to beat Oscar -- but not in an easy fight like that. I am surprised that it was an easy fight.

Most people consider you the best boxer in the world. Do you consider yourself the best boxer in the world?
I don't want to think about that, whether I'm the best in the world. I want to focus on my career and give a good show in my fight with Ricky Hatton.

The person who was considered the best boxer in the world before you was Floyd Mayweather Jr. Do you think Floyd is really retired, or will we see him in the ring again?
I think he's going to fight again. He's not really retired.

Do you think you will fight him some day?
That's possible. Maybe after this fight. I heard from Floyd Jr.'s camp that he's coming back to the ring.

So people around Floyd have told you that you should expect him to return?
Yes, that's what I heard from the people around Floyd, that he's not really retired.

Do you think he would want a tune-up fight against an easier opponent or would he jump right in and fight you if you beat Ricky Hatton?
For me -- if I'm Floyd -- I would fight a tune-up fight and then fight me. That's for me, but I don't know what his plan is. He might want to fight me right away.

Obviously, before you can fight Floyd you'll need to beat Ricky Hatton. What kind of challenge does Ricky Hatton pose to you?
Ricky Hatton is a strong fighter, a good fighter. He's the top guy, and he's never lost at 140 pounds. I would never underestimate Hatton. I consider this fight the toughest fight of my career. I'm not looking past this fight.

Have you watched a lot of tape of Hatton's fights to prepare?
Yes, I've watched his last few fights. I study every opponent I fight, and as I train for Hatton I look for certain techniques that I can apply to this fight.

You've fought everywhere from strawweight (106 pounds) at the start of your professional career to welterweight (147 pounds) against De La Hoya. What do you think is the ideal weight class for you?
I'm comfortable at 140 pounds. I weigh 148 right now.

You're the most popular athlete in the Philippines, but is there a down side to your fame? Do you wish you could just walk down the street and be left alone?
I wish I could. I wish I could. But that would never happen. Especially right now. I can't walk down the street in the Philippines.

You're 30 years old, you've been boxing professionally since you were 16, and you have 53 professional fights under your belt. How much longer will you box?
I don't want to fight much longer. I'm planning right now to retire soon.

What will you do after you retire?
My plan is to run for office.

I know you've run for office in the past as well. What is it about politics that appeals to you?
I want to run for office because I want to help people. I grew up in poverty, and I want to see other people have better lives. I think I can improve the situation for a lot of people.

I've heard that you are recording your own entrance music, and against Hatton you'll come out to a song that you sing yourself.
Yes, I have a new album and I'm going to use my song as my ring entrance on May 2.

Will you get more involved in music when you retire from boxing?
Yes. I love to sing. I'd like to have a concert soon after my boxing career ends.

What would you like fans to know about you?
Just that they should watch my upcoming fight on May 2 against Ricky Hatton. It's going to be a great, great fight, a once in a lifetime fight.


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