PACMAN  GETS  $1 MILLION  IF  FOE'S  OVERWEIGHT
 

MANILA, July 31, 2006 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Take the money and run?

Manny Pacquiao will have this rare, unprecedented option in his scheduled fight with Erik Morales this November at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

According to an ESPN report filed by boxing expert Dan Rafael, Pacquiao’s manager Shelly Finkel said that if Morales goes over the weight limit of 130 lbs, the Filipino knockout artist stands to get "a lot of money."

Pacquiao, the report said, will get $500,000 if Morales weighs in from 130.1 to 131 pounds. If the great Mexican super featherweight weighs in from 131.1 to 132 pounds, the "fine" shoots up to a $1 million.

In this case, Finkel said Pacquiao will even have the right to take the $1 million and not face Morales for the third time in less than two years. Or Pacquiao can take the money and agree to fight the Mexican.

Morales, who scored a unanimous 12-round decision over Pacquiao last year, had great trouble making 130 pounds for the rematch last January. Drained and bitter, the Mexican was clearly out of shape and was knocked out by Pacquiao in the 10th round.

The third and decisive match between two of the world’s greatest fighters is set in November amid serious doubts if Morales could make the weight. The classy Mexican boxer has reportedly ballooned to at least 150 pounds after a recent marriage.

Rafael Mendoza, whose fighter Oscar Larios lost to Pacquiao in Manila less than a month ago, said it’s close to impossible for Morales to make the weight and at the same time be in superb condition.

"I’m almost a hundred percent sure he can’t make 130 pounds ever again. You have to cut his legs for him to make it," said Mendoza, who has handled 18 different champions in almost 50 years in the business.

Mendoza said Morales "killed himself" making the weight last January, and it was evident in the way he fought Pacquiao. "Morales was dead even before he climbed the ring," he said.

But Finkel, also during the Pacquiao-Larios bout, said he’s certain that the third fight between Pacquiao and Morales would push through. He was first to say that Pacquiao stands to receive a lot of money if Morales goes over the limit.

"Bob Arum has put up a lot of money. And he wouldn’t do that if he knew that he’s going to lose it," said Finkel.

During the official weigh-in for their rematch last January, Morales weighed exactly 130 pounds. After getting off the scale, he embraced Arum since an extra pound would have meant a $250,000 fine that would go directly to Pacquiao.

Morales is now in Los Angeles for an eight-week weight reduction program under American experts. Arum said Morales is taking things seriously, intending to be in form even before he begins training in Mexico by September.

Morales has to. Otherwise, his third match with Pacquiao might not even push through. And the Filipino boxer can even go home richer by $1 million.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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