POPULAR  FILIPINO  BOXER  AFFIRMS  SUPPORT  FOR  ARROYO

MANILA, July 31, 2005 
(STAR) Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao Saturday reaffirmed his support for President Gloria Arroyo, saying he's fully confident in her capability to lead the nation to progress.

"My support to the President has not waned a bit, since" Pacquiao said in Filipino during in an interview before his courtesy call on the President at Malacaņang this morning.

Pacquiao also called on the country's leaders to stop their political bickering, and instead support his upcoming super featherweight bout with former Mexican regional champion Hector Velasquez on September 10 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"I ask our countrymen to stop their bickering, take away hatred from their hearts, and instead support my upcoming bout on Sept. 10," Pacquiao said.

He said the controversy on the wire-tapped conversation of the President has not diminished his trust in the President.

To demonstrate his support for the Chief Executive, he had joined the massive crowd during the "Gathering for Peace, Unity through the Rule of Law" last July 16 at the Luneta Park, Pacquiao said.

"I firmly believe in her ability. Many people only don't seem to know her very well. The President is a good person. I personally know her and I am willing to help her in whatever way I can," Pacquiao said.

During the courtesy call, the President thanked "Manny" for his support and wished him good luck in his upcoming bout.

Pacquiao's fight in Los Angeles is a double header also featuring his tormentor Erik Morales against 1996 US Olympian Zahir Raheem.

The Pacquiao-Velasquez and the Morales-Raheem cards are being billed as tune-up fights ahead of the much-awaited Pacquiao-Morales rematch at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Dec. 10.

Pacquiao, who declined to make any prediction in his upcoming return bout with Morales, is scheduled to leave August 1 for Los Angeles to start training at the Wild Card Gym, along with Filipino-American Brian Viloria who will pit his talents as mandatory challenger to World Boxing Council (WBC) junior flyweight champion Eric Ortiz.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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