WHOPPING  P98 MILLION  PURSE  WITHIN  PACQUIAO  REACH

MANILA,  November 24, 2004 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - A staggering P98 million.

If everything goes on as planned, this is what Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao would want to receive for a single fight–possibly against reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight king Eric Morales next year.

But to get to that heavyweight purse, just enough to buy Pacquiao his own movie outfit or an entire subdivision, his own jet plane or a multi-storey sports and billiards complex, he must win his next two fights.

And he must do it in style.

Pacquiao, who came from humble beginnings in Gen. Santos City, is scheduled to fight Thailand’s Fahsan 3K Battery on Dec. 11 in Taguig, Rizal and then Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez on Feb. 26 ether in Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

Convincing victories over these two sluggers will line him up for a possible fight with Morales or another Mexican, Marco Antonio Barrera, whom the Filipino knocked out in 11 rounds last year in San Antonio, Texas.

"If we get past Manuel Marquez, then our next opponent might be Eric Morales (the reigning World Boxing Council champion) or Marco Antonio Barrera (whom Pacquiao defeated last year)," said Rod Nazario, Pacquiao’s business manager.

"Then I’ll be asking for $1.750 million (P98 million) for Pacquiao. I don’t know if I’ll get it but that’s what I want to get for Pacquiao," he added of the purse no other Filipino athlete has ever won before.

Nazario, who’s been with Pacquiao for the last 10 years, graced yesterday’s PSA Forum at the Manila Pavilion where he briefed mediamen of his ward’s preparations for his upcoming fight against the Thai.

Pacquiao will fight Fahsan in a 12-round, non-title bout at The Fort. It will serve as his final tuneup to a much-awaited rematch with Marquez whom he fought to a classic draw at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last May.

Pacquiao, who’s now busy training under American Freddie Roach in Davao, will receive $300,000 (P17 million) for the 126lb contest against Fahsan and will be paid $900,000 (P50.4 million) for his rematch against Marquez.

Marquez will stake his two featherweight titles—the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA)—against Pacquiao, the people’s champion.

Whatever happens on Dec. 11, Pacquiao is scheduled to fly to the US on the first week of January to start training for Marquez who salvaged a draw against the RP fighter after being knocked down thrice in the first of 12 rounds.

Roach arrived the other day to personally handle Pacquiao’s training which started two weeks ago amid reports of off-the-ring distractions like the shooting of TV program and late nights at the billiards halls.

"I haven’t talked to Roach but I spoke to Pacquiao this morning. Kundisyon naman daw siya. Hindi ko pa nga lang nakikita. Pero tiwala ako kay Manny na kapag sinabi niyang nag-eensayo siya, talagang nag-eensayo," said Nazario.

"I don’t think he’s taking Fahsan lightly. Alam niya kasi na kapag tinalo niya si Fahsan, siya na talaga ang superstar ng buong Asia. At may mas malaking nakalinya," he added.

Nazario said he recently got word from Home Box Office (HBO) that the Feb. 26 fight against Marquez will push through as scheduled, as planned.

Nazario said Pacquiao will be in Manila this weekend for a special gathering with people from Smart Communications which is sponsoring his fight with Fahsan, who will receive $25,000, along with Solar Sports.

Unless there’s a change of plan, Pacquiao will be back in Davao until the Dec. 4 fight preview in Manila. The official weigh-in is scheduled noon of Dec. 10 most likely at the Pier One bar and restaurant at The Fort.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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