PACQUIAO CARVES BIG WIN

SAN ANTONIO, NOVEMBER 17, 2003  (MALAYA) Manny Pacquiao used superior hand speed and a relentless attack in a surprise technical knockout win over Marco Antonio Barrera in a non-title fight Saturday night.

Barrera, widely considered as the world's best featherweight, was helplessly pinned against the ropes under a barrage from Pacquiao late in the 11th round when his brother and cornerman, Jorge Barrera, stopped the fight.

Pacquiao, the IBF junior featherweight champion, dominated starting in the second round of the fight at the Alamodome. He methodically pounded Barrera's body and landed repeated combinations to his head despite fighting as a 126-pounder for only the first time.

"I'm surprised he lasted that long," said the a 24-year-old Pacquiao (38-2-1, 30 KOs). "Very early on I knew I was going to knock him out."

Barrera's trainer Rudy Perez said he hopes this is the final bout for the 29-year-old fighter from Mexico City, whose record is now 57-4.

According to CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 257 power punches, compared to only 101 for Barrera.

Through 10 rounds, two of the three judges had Pacquiao ahead 97-90. The third had scored the fight 97-89.

Pacquiao followed his prefight plan of setting a furious pace to try to tire Barrera, who was showing signs of fatigue by the middle rounds.

He knocked Barrera down with a straight left in the third round, and floored him again in the 11th. Barrera was credited with a knockdown in the opening round.

Barrera, known for his punching power, had Pacquiao on the ropes a few times later, only to lose the advantage when Pacquiao fought his way out of trouble.

President Arroyo extended her warmest congratulations to the country's lone world boxing champion.

"I rejoice with the nation over the victory of our IBF champion Manny Pacquiao against the Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera today," said Arroyo in a statement. "Although no official title was at stake in the fight, our fighter is now recognized as the world's top featherweight. My heartfelt congratulations and kudos to Pacquiao who has shown again the Filipino has got what it takes to accomplish anything once he sets his mind to it."

"We congratulate Manny (Pacquiao) for his great feat," said Philippine Sports Com-mission chairman Eric Buhain. "Buong sambayanang Pilipino ay taas noo sa buong mundo."

"May Manny's feat serve as an inspiration not only to our athletes, but to all of us Filipinos, that in the global community, we can do it," Buhain said.

Buhain said that Pacquiao's victory could also prop the morale of national athletes who are set to compete in the 22nd Southeast Asian Games next month in Vietnam.

"Let Manny be an inspiration for our athletes who will do battle for flag and country in the Vietnam Sea Games to go for the gold," said Buhain.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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