NOVEMBER 20, 2006
(STAR) LAS VEGAS — Have we seen the last of Erik Morales?

Well, maybe yes, maybe no.

Minutes after taking another beating from Manny Pacquiao, the great Mexican fighter and future Hall of Famer, at 30 years old, has hinted at retirement.

"For the first time in my career I felt the power of my opponent. Maybe it’s getting to that time," said Morales, through Top Rank publicist Ricardo Jimenez.

Morales has been through a lot of wars. Maybe it’s the right time for him to call it a day.

And still live the life of a champion.

Morales said he did everything in the months leading to this fight, from the day he started losing weight at Velocity in Los Angeles to the day he wrapped up his training at the Otomi Mountains in Mexico.

"I did everything necessary in training camp to win this fight. But I didn’t do it. He was too fast and too strong," said the three-time world champion.

During the post-fight media briefing, Morales was introduced by Bob Arum, his promoter, as a great, great fighter.

Then Arum urged everybody to get up. Morales received a standing ovation.

Almost teary-eyed, Morales spoke only for a minute, thanking Top Rank and of course Arum for all the support. But this time he said he might do it one last time.

"It’s great to be here. If I fight again I’ll do it in Tijuana," he said.

Then he shook hands with Pacquiao, and left the room.

At least here in Vegas, the site of many Morales victories, we may have seen the last of him. — Abac Cordero

Top Rank Pacquiao’s new promoter By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 11/20/2006

LAS VEGAS — Bob Arum indeed wasn’t bluffing when he said a few weeks ago that Manny Pacquiao’s next fight, or fights, will still be with Top Rank Promotions.

"Top Rank and MP Promotions have signed a contract to promote Manny Pacquiao’s fights for the next four years," Arum, the legendary boxing promoter, announced Saturday.

Pacquiao sat at the presidential table with manager Shelly Finkel and trainer Freddie Roach when Arum surprised the media with the announcement.

Just moments ago, Pacquiao knocked out Erik Morales in the third round. It was the end of the trilogy that Arum, the Top Rank president, promoted.

Pacquiao, last September, signed a seven-fight contract with Oscar dela Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, and received, according to Arum, half a million dollars.

But Arum questioned the Golden Boy deal, saying it was clearly stated in the Pacquiao-Morales fight contract that the Filipino fighter cannot sign up with any other promoter before this fight.

"The original contract for this fight between Top Rank and Pacquiao prevented Manny from signing a contract with any other promoter," said Arum

Pacquiao arrived in Los Angeles last Sept. 19 to start training for the Morales bout. He had barely rested from the trip when he met Dela Hoya over dinner and signed the contract.

"He got off a plane when he came to the United States and he signed a contract with another promoter and received money," said Arum.

"He has renounced that signing and returned the money. That’s the only statement I have to make," he added, referring to the $350,000 signing bonus and the $150,000 advance.

It wasn’t clear if Dela Hoya did accept the money back.

No wonder Dela Hoya, the king of pay-per-view fights, was hardly, or never seen in the days leading to the Saturday’s fight at the Thomas and Mack Center. As it is, it’s now Arum who’s got a hold of Pacquiao.

Arum: Pacman certainly best pound for pound The Philippine Star 11/20/2006

LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao’s tremendous show of force Saturday has raised questions on who really is the best pound for pound fighter in the world today.

The lofty tag currently belongs to Floyd Mayweather Jr., the reigning World Boxing Council welterweight champion who is scheduled to face Oscar dela Hoya in May.

Pacquiao has always been high on the list, and many believe that probably it’s time for the Filipino super-featherweight, who packs a heavyweight punch, to be on top.

"He’s the baddest fighter out there today. It’s not Mayweather. It’s Pacquiao," said a foreign member of the media during the well-attended pre-fight press conference.

Another scribe asked Pacquiao who he thinks is the best pound for pound fighter today.

The 27-year-old Pacquiao did not name names. Neither did he say that he’s the man.

"I think it’s the people who should decide and not the boxer," said Pacquiao.

Bob Arum, now officially the new promoter of Pacquiao,then took over.

"Today? I should say it’s Manny Pacquiao," he said. — Abac Cordero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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