MANILA, APRIL 18, 2007
(STAR) Humberto Soto, the WBC (World Boxing Council) No. 2 super featherweight contender, vows to do what his fellow Mexican fighters had failed to achieve the last few years Ė beat Manny Pacquiao.

But what could separate him from the likes of Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez is the fact that Soto will have to hurdle two Pacquiaos to gain worldwide recognition.

Soto, 27, was seen quietly walking around during the Manny Pacquiao-Jorge Solis fight at the Alamodome, carefully studying the Filipino iconís moves, style and all.

"Iíve been chasing and watching him because I know that sooner or later there will be a fight. Itís not the same watching him live as it is seeing him on TV. Sooner or later I know Iím going to face Manny," said Soto in an interview with Boxingtalk.com.

At first, Soto, a Tijuana native like Morales, said Pacquiao dished out a great performance and admitted to be a little bit apprehensive on facing him.

Pacquiao arrived to a tumultous welcome arranged by Manila officials and fans yesterday.

"Manny gave a great performance. Heís a great warrior, a great fighter. Iím worried on facing him but Iím going to kill anybody who faces me so I get my title shot. Thatís because I feel I deserve it," said Soto, who packs a 41-5-2 (win-loss-draw) record, including 25 knockouts.

"Everybody called me a killer at 130 pounds and everyone tried to avoid me. Sooner or later, theyíre going to have to face me and weíll see what happens then," he added.

But first things first.

And the first step for Soto in his title bid is to put away the challenge of Bobby Pacquiao, whom he will face in the undercard of the June 9 title fight between Miguel Cotto and Zab Judah for the WBA (World Boxing Association) welterweight crown at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

Then he could start thinking of a crack against the famous brother.

"Yes, first Iíve got to face his brother on June 9. If the promoter decides to make the fight Iíll take it, but I know itís not going to be an easy fight," said Soto, who has won his last six fights.

"Iím a champion without a crown, and Iím going to get my belt. And then the people will believe in me," Soto said.

Meanwhile, Freddie Roach admitted that his prized ward fought Solis with a lot of distractions, adding that Pacquiao virtually took the Mexican challenger lightly.

"I think he was not really challenged by Solis. He was playing a little too much. When he got cut, of course I told him to turn it up a notch. Then it was right there when he wanted it. I think he was going half speed with Solis until he got cut," said Roach in a separate interview with Boxingtalk.com.

At the same time, the noted American trainer said the Gen. Santos firebomber "always seems to have some kind of distraction before his fights." Ė Dante Navarro

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved