PACQUIAO  BOUT  LOOMS  AS  IBF  ELIMINATOR

MANILA,  November 4, 2004 (STAR) By Joaquin Henson - Consensus world featherweight boxing champion Manny Pacquiao is arriving in Manila tomorrow morning from his training camp in General Santos City to attend a noontime press conference announcing the details of his scheduled 12-round fight against Fahsan 3-K Battery of Thailand at the Fort on Dec. 11.

A source said the fight may be sanctioned by the IBF as a championship eliminator. Pacquiao is ranked No. 3 featherweight and Fahsan, No. 4 superbantamweight by the IBF.

Fahsan is flying in from Bangkok tonight and will be introduced to media by New Jersey promoter Murad Muhammad in the press conference.

Muhammad, Pacquiao’s business manager Rod Nazario, Solar Sports executive vice president Peter Chanliong, Solar Sports sales director Nitoy Nocos and representatives of the sponsoring groups met for two hours yesterday in Makati to finalize plans for the bout.

"It’s a done deal," said Muhammad who flew in from the US two weeks ago to arrange the match, billed as Pacquiao’s tuneup for his Feb. 26 rematch against International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Marquez.

Muhammad said the sponsors and the purses of both fighters will be divulged at the press conference.

At least 30,000 fans are expected to witness the first-ever boxing card to be held in an open-air field at the Fort in Global City, Taguig.

Muhammad cautioned Pacquiao not to take Fahsan lightly. "I call Fahsan the Filipino Destroyer because he has beaten every Filipino he’s fought and there are at least 20 Filipino victims in his record which is impressive," said Muhammad. "Manny can’t afford not to be in tip-top shape. Fahsan isn’t coming to lose."

Muhammad declined to disclose how much Pacquiao will be paid but a source said he is guaranteed a minimum amount with an escalating clause depending on the total revenues generated by the fight.

Fahsan’s presence will spice up the press conference. Muhammad arranged for the Thai and his manager Ekarat Chaichotchueng to fly in for the media gathering.

"Manny and Fahsan will face the press together," said Muhammad. "I just hope they don’t slug it out if things get out of hand."

Pacquiao is reportedly itching to knock out Fahsan to avenge his 1999 loss to the Thai’s stablemate Medgoen 3-K Battery.

Regarding Marquez, Muhammad confirmed Pacquiao is booked to meet the Mexican in an HBO (Home Box Office) promotion on Feb. 26. If Pacquiao beats Marquez and Erik Morales defeats Marco Antonio Barrera on Nov. 27, Muhammad said Pacquiao and Morales will face off in July in a blockbuster HBO show.

After yesterday’s meeting, Muhammad and Nazario paid a courtesy call on Games and Amusements Board chairman Eduardo Villanueva and commissioner Emmanuel Palabrica in the government agency’s Makati office.

Villanueva congratulated Nazario and Muhammad for their efforts in staging Pacquiao’s fight here.

"I’m glad you’re bringing Manny’s next fight to Manila," said Villanueva. "We need this fight to sustain interest in boxing in our country. Manny is our hero, the people’s champion. We’re all looking forward to watching Manny in action."

For his part, Palabrica said he has studied Fahsan’s record and described the tough Thai veteran a "worthy opponent." Fahsan has a 44-7-1 record with 23 KOs since turning pro in 1992, three years before Pacquiao made his debut.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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