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Thursday, April 16, 2009


Manny Pacquiao has said recently retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya is still his idol.

The "Golden Boy" and former Olympic gold medallist revealed his decision to quit on Tuesday with a 39-6 (30 KOs) professional record, four months after being outclassed by Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

His Filipino nemesis said he thought it was a "good decision".

Speaking at a workout at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles, Pacquiao said: "Whatever happens people won't forget him as a good fighter, as a best fighter in the world. For me he's still my idol."

Pacquiao, currently the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, is preparing to take on Ricky Hatton in Vegas on May 2.

When asked if he would send the 30-year-old Mancunian the same way as De La Hoya, he said: "I don't know - God will know."

Comparing the two opponents, the light-welterweight said: "For me it's the same - the intensity of the training is the same.

"Of course I'm hungry for this fight, to win, because [it's my] first time to fight an English fighter.

"Right now we're in heavy training and I'm in 100% good condition," he said, although he admitted Hatton would be one of the toughest boxers he had faced in his career.

He added: "He's a strong fighter and he's a good fighter too and he's a champion, so I don't want to underestimate him."

But Pacquiao, 30, said the Briton's weaknesses included his "body punch", saying: "He doesn't like to hit the body."

He added: "I won't tell you the other things!"

Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach spoke confidently about the fight, saying: "Manny has speed, power, boxing ability - so I think he will overwhelm Ricky in this fight."

But he added: "Ricky's a tough guy, no doubt about that. He's very resilient; he's tough. He comes to fight.

"One thing we know is there will be a fight for sure."

He also spoke critically of Hatton's trainer, Floyd Mayweather Senior.

"He says he's the greatest trainer in the world but I think he's the only one saying that, and he's going to try and change Ricky Hatton," said Roach.

"I think that's a mistake, in changing people, this late in their career. I don't think it's possible."

Roach said Amir Khan, who he also trains, would not be sparring against Pacquiao because "style-wise he just wasn't the right guy".

Former Olympic silver medalist Khan, 22, is set to take on WBA light-welterweight champion Ukrainian Andreas Kotelnik in June.

"The day after Manny's fight though I'll start getting him ready for his fight," Roach said.

"I think he has a huge chance; I think he'll be a real champion and hopefully my next superstar."


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