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Monday, May 4, 2009

Pacquiao gunning for sixth world title at welterweight

LAS VEGAS: Manny Pacquiao achieved a measure of boxing immortality with his sensational victories against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, two of the best and most popular fighters of their generation.

Now, he wants to solidify that legacy, aiming for a record sixth world title at welterweight, possibly against Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr., or even Shane Mosley.

“No, I don’t think they’re really big for me,” he said of his potential opponents during a conversation with a small group of Filipino journalist during the long drive from here to Hollywood, California.

“Actually, I feel good at my weight against Hatton,” said Pacquiao, who won his fifth world title at junior welterweight, with a devastating second round knockout of Hatton on Saturday night. “I can fight at welter, because I’ve done it before against Oscar De La Hoya.”

He added that he would fight Juan Manuel Marquez again, should he win against come-backing Mayweather in their July 18 fight at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao, PacMan to his legion of fans worldwide, said he would take his family to a holiday in Australia by the end of May, after spending time with his children in the Philippines who were unable to join him and wife Jinkee for his last fight.

‘Lethal Weapon’

Pacquiao earned the accolades of top boxing scribes following his Saturday win over Hatton, which was described as his most dominant win since campaigning in different weight classes in the United States.

“Manny Pacquiao can no longer be identified as a boxer. Lethal weapon, maybe. Or destroyer missile,” said Los Angeles Times’ Bill Dwire. “Whatever the definition, he is unquestionably the sport’s top gun.”

“The man from Manchester was manhandled,” said Dwire, a veteran sports pundit.

The Ring Magazine’s Michael Rosenthal said PacMan’s amazing run of victories, especially in the last few years, has earned him his place among the world’s all-time boxing greats.

“In his last fight, he embarrassed the biggest star in the sport, Oscar De La Hoya, at 147. And on Saturday … well, how do you describe that?” Rosenthal said.

“Ricky Hatton is one of the toughest fighters on the planet, an accomplished champion who has proved his mettle over a full decade. And 140 pounds is his natural weight; he is strong and confident there.

“And Pacquiao smashed him like a cheap glass vase.”

Likened to Sugar Ray Leonard

Rosenthal said Pacquiao could be the best fighter since Sugar Ray Leonard, adding this says as lot about the Filipino icon.

Other great fighters came after Leonard, including Pernell Whi­taker, Roy Jones Jr., Julio Cesar Chavez, Evander Holyfield and a handful more, he said.

“However, none of the above combined explosive speed and power against the highest level of opposition over such a long period time like Pacquiao. And, obviously, he has won consistently: he’s 17-1-2 [14 knockouts] against some of the best fighters in the world since hiring Freddie Roach as his trainer in 2001,” Rosenthal said.

He noted that Bob Arum, who worked with the likes of Mu­hammad Ali, Marvin Hagler and Leonard, thinks Pacquiao ranks among them.

“I think he may be the best,” said Bob Arum, who earlier said he is working on another Pacquiao megafight, possibly in the last quarter of the year.


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