(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao to Juan Manuel Marquez: I’ll see you in September.

A day after knocking out Jorge Solis at the Alamodome in San Antonio, the Filipino slugger said he’s now ready to face Marquez, the reigning World Boxing Council super-featherweight champion, in September.

"Oo, handa akong labanan si Marquez (Yes, I’m ready to face Marquez)," Pacquiao said over the phone Sunday as he was in his Los Angeles apartment preparing for a 12-hour flight to Manila with his wife Jinkee and more than a dozen friends.

Before flying to Manila, Pacquiao was expected to drop by at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood where he trained for three weeks heading to the fight. It’s been his practice to thanks those who helped him train before leaving LA.

Pacquiao flew from San Antonio to LA the morning after the fight. Hours after his eight-round victory over the previously undefeated Solis, he held a small party inside his Radisson Hotel suite where a Mass was officiated by Fr. Marlon Beof, OAR.

Pacquiao’s fans of different races packed the main lobby of the Radisson Hotel after the fight and mobbed Pacquiao as he emerged from his stretch limousine. Despite his condition, he spent more than 30 minutes with his fans for some picture taking and autograph signing.

Pacquiao barely had any sleep when he and his entourage left the hotel for the airport at around 5 a.m.

Top Rank’s Ricardo Jimenez bid Filipino sportswriters goodbye by saying: "We’ll see you Sept. 15. Marquez."

Pacquiao said he will not back off from a fight with Marquez, whom he knocked down thrice in the first round of their 2004 showdown in Las Vegas. The fight ended in a controversial draw that had fans longing for a rematch.

Even WBC president Jose Sulaiman said Marquez, who took the title away from Marco Antonio Barrera last month in Las Vegas, should face Pacquiao next.

The fight might just take place in September.

"September daw? Payag ako diyan (Is it September. That’s fine with me)," Pacquiao told The STAR in a long-distance conversation.

In fact, he’s ready to face anyone, whether it’s Barrera for another rematch or the rising Humberto Soto who’s scheduled to face the other Pacquiao, Bobby, at the Madison Square Garden in New York on June 9.

Soto watched the Pacquiao-Solis fight at the Alamodome and hurled a challenge to the left-handed slugger. "After Bobby, I want Manny," he said.

"Kahit sino sa kanila (Anyone among them). Kahit sino sa 130 pounds (Anybody at 130 pounds)," said Pacquio.

But before Pacquiao gets to face Marquez, Top Rank and Golden Boy should first settle their differences. The two promotional outfits are locked in a legal battle for the rights over the Filipino champion.

Marquez is under Golden Boy like Barrera although there are reports that the latter is no longer with the outfit owned by Oscar dela Hoya. Soto is with Top Rank, along with Pacquiao.

Top Rank owner Bob Arum want Pacquiao to face Barrera later this year and at the same time pit Soto against Marquez.

It seems that more people want to see a Pacquiao-Marquez showdown this year — in Vegas.

But WBC champ not on top of Arum’s list By Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star 04/17/2007

SAN ANTONIO – Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said the other day the future is wide open for Manny Pacquiao and spoke of the boxing icon eventually moving up to the lightweight division for more big money fights.

Arum isn’t in a hurry to get Pacquiao back in the ring, realizing he’s got other things on his mind. But when it’s time for Pacquiao to return to the ring, possibly in September, the Harvard lawyer said there will be more than enough worthy opponents to choose from.

Arum dismissed Oscar de la Hoya’s claim that the only competitive opponents for Pacquiao belong to the Golden Boy stable. De la Hoya has repeatedly said the world’s top superfeatherweights are under his control and named Marco Antonio Barrera, World Boxing Council champ Juan Manuel Marquez and Joan Guzman among them.

After losing the world superfeatherweight title to Marquez recently, Barrera was rumored to be severing ties with Golden Boy. Guzman’s promotional rights are reportedly held by a native American tribe and Arum has been contacted for a future promotion. Arum said Golden Boy has a minority participation in Guzman’s fights.

Arum said the only superfeatherweight whom De la Hoya controls is Marquez and "he can’t sell tickets anyway."

Humberto Soto, the WBC’s No. 2 superfeatherweight contender, is in line for a Pacquiao bout but there’s a hitch. Soto is booked to take on Pacquiao’s brother Bobby in the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Zab Judah mainer at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 9. If Bobby wins, Soto is eliminated in the race. If Soto wins, the Mexican gets a crack at the other Pacquiao.

Arum said he expects Pacquiao to be at ringside for his brother’s bout. The day before, Pacquiao will be feted by the Boxing Writers Association of America in a New York dinner ceremony as Fighter of the Year. The day after the bout, Arum said he will accompany Pacquiao to Washington D.C. to meet majority leader Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

"By then, Manny will be a duly-elected Philippine congressman," said Arum. "Sen. Reid would like to meet Manny and discuss matters of political interest. He will introduce Manny to his colleagues in the Senate and friends in Congress."

Arum, who has extensive government contacts and once worked in President Kennedy’s administration, said he respects Philippine law in prohibiting foreigners from campaigning in the elections. But he said in a free world, he isn’t constrained from expressing his opinion that Pacquiao can cope with the pressures of being a world-class champion and a politician at the same time.

Arum said Barrera, Soto, Guzman or even Marquez could be Pacquiao’s next opponent. WBC president Jose Sulaiman, who was here to watch Pacquiao’s demolition of Jorge Solis last Saturday night, has mandated Marquez to defend the title against the Filipino but is willing to wait until after the May elections to enforce the order.

Arum said after Pacquiao cleans up the 130-pound division, he will invade the lightweight class where his opponents could be WBC interim champion David Diaz, IBF titlist Julio (The Kid) Diaz, WBA lightweight ruler Juan Diaz or WBC king Joel Casamayor.

David, 30, has a 32-1-1 record, with 17 KOs, and is slated to meet Morales in Chicago in August. Julio, 27, has a 34-3 mark, with 25 KOs, and recently stopped Jesus Chavez to retain his crown. Juan, 33, holds a ninth round win over Cebu’s Randy Suico and is unbeaten in 31 outings. Casamayor, 35, is a sleek Cuban stylist with a record of 34-3-1, with 21 KOs.

Arum said Guzman, 30, has a strong chance of standing at the head of the queue in the waiting line for Pacquiao. Guzman is the WBO superfeatherweight champion known as "Little Tyson." He has a 27-0 record, with 17 KOs.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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