(STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - Take it from Manny Pacquiao. His latest victim Jorge Solis was a tougher opponent than Oscar Larios whom he outpointed in a 12-round bout at the Araneta Coliseum last July.

It didn’t take long for Pacquiao to reply when asked who was tougher.

Solis, lanky and rangy, gave the Filipino boxing icon some anxious moments before capitulating in the eighth round. Larios was floored twice but survived the distance.

Pacquiao probably was to blame somewhat for allowing Solis to show up the 10-1 favorite. Instead of methodically breaking down Solis’ defense, Pacquiao charged into the Mexican – looking for an early knockout – only to find an extremely uncooperative customer.

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said the brash tactic was an indication of a lack of respect for the man called Coloradito.

It took a cut over his left eyelid to bring Pacquiao back to his senses in the sixth round. That was when Pacquiao began to throw punches in bunches, abandoning his plan of trying to score a sensational one-blow knockout. As Pacquiao found the range, Solis started to fold up. Then it was just a matter of time before the fatal ending.

Solis said Pacquiao’s barrage of blows was something he wasn’t ready to cope with. He claimed it wasn’t Pacquiao’s power but his blinding speed that left him dizzy in the head.

Solis, one of 11 children, comes from a poor family in Guadalajara. His father Aurelio, 65, sells tacos at a flea market in the Solis’ hometown. His mother Maria is a housewife. A sister lives in Bakersfield, California. Younger brother Ulises, nicknamed Archie, is the IBF lightflyweight champion.

"We’ve been best of friends since we were kids," said Solis, referring to Ulises. "I go to all his fights and he comes to all of mine. We do everything together. We even train each other. When he wins, it feels like I win, too."

Solis, 27, is married with two children Jorge Juan, 5, and Dominique, five months old. He was introduced to boxing by his father and started when he was 16. Solis posted a 33-3 amateur record and was a national lightflyweight amateur champion. Solis turned pro at 18 in 1998, three years after Pacquiao’s debut.

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Legendary Argentinian trainer and cutman Miguel (The Magician) Diaz, who worked Solis’ corner, said Pacquiao was just too strong and quick for the lanky Mexican.

"I thought Solis did a good job in the first five rounds," said Diaz. "He was making a fight out of it even if he was losing. But Pacquiao is Pacquiao. When you think you’re starting to make headway, he’ll suddenly explode and it’s over. That’s Pacquiao for you."

Pacquiao led on the three judges’ scorecards when the fight was stopped. Judge Larry O’Connell saw it 69-65, Gale Van Hoy 68-65 and Oren Schellenberger 69-64. The three judges were unanimous in awarding the fifth round to Solis.

Diaz also worked Jorge Arce’s corner in the same card. Arce lost a unanimous 12-round decision to WBC superflyweight titlist Christian Mijares. Arce suffered a nasty cut on the bridge of his nose in the ninth round and blood spewed out from the gash until the final bell.

It wasn’t a total shutout for Diaz that night. A consolation was he was in Bernabe Concepcion’s corner when the Catanduanes prospect scored a unanimous 10-round verdict over Benjamin Flores to retain his WBC Youth superbantamweight crown in the curtain raiser.

Concepcion, 19, hurt his right hand in the second round and blamed it for failing to dispose of Flores. He seemed to lack the killer’s instinct and repeatedly let Flores off the hook.

Flores even won the last round in two of the three judges’ scorecards. Concepcion, however, won on a unanimous decision with scores of 97-93 (David Harris), 96-94 (Rick Crocker) and 97-93 (Roy Ovalle).

Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz, who arranged for Concepcion’s slot in the Top Rank card, said if the fighter is to progress, he has to sacrifice and train in the US. Concepcion arrived with manager Aljoe Jaro from Manila only a week before the bout.

Concepcion, the eighth of nine children, said he is determined to become a world champion. But he’s got to show a lot more than he did in his win over Flores to convince the boxing cognoscenti of his potential.

Concepcion has lost only once in a career that started three years ago. Veteran Mark Sales pounded out a majority 10-round decision over Concepcion in his ninth pro outing. Concepcion has been floored just once by Jae Chun Moon in the second round but got up to stop the Korean in the fourth in Baguio last February.

Row over Manny to be settled amicably? By Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star 04/19/2007

SAN ANTONIO – Manny Pacquiao’s lawyer Franklin (Jeng) Gacal said recently he expects the legal battle between Top Rank and Golden Boy over the Filipino boxing icon’s promotional rights to be settled out of court sooner than later because it makes business sense to compromise instead of prolonging the agony of dispute.

Gacal said a settlement will bring an end to the bitter fight that stemmed from Pacquiao signing contracts with both parties before deciding to side with Top Rank.

"Boxing is business," said Gacal. "Everyone wants a piece of Manny. You lose if you aren’t in business with Manny who’s the hottest property in world boxing today. I think Top Rank and Golden Boy will eventually come to terms and find a solution."

Gacal pointed to Marco Antonio Barrera as a prime example of a loser in the Pacquiao stakes. Instead of fighting Pacquiao for at least $4 million, he agreed to a $1.2 million paycheck to stake his WBC superfeatherweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez and was dethroned. Now there is talk that Barrera wants out of Golden Boy where he is a titular vice president.

"Where is Barrera now?" asked Gacal. "He took a chance against Marquez and lost. I was told he has sent feelers to Top Rank but he is not in a good bargaining position. That’s what happens when you turn your back on Manny."

Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz, meanwhile, told The STAR a contingency plan was ready to stage the Solis fight in Vancouver in case Golden Boy succeeded in gaining an injunction on the bout in the US.

Golden Boy attempted to stop the Pacquiao-Solis fight by filing a motion for preliminary injunction before the district court in Nevada last Feb. 16. Judge Philip Pro denied the motion last March 20. Golden Boy then elevated the case to the federal court of appeals and was again thwarted.

Before pressing the injunction, Golden Boy sued Top Rank for contractual interference in Los Angeles. Top Rank filed a counter suit in Las Vegas. Top Rank previously went to court against Golden Boy regarding Oscar de la Hoya’s own rights and is seeking $4 to 10 million in damages.

"I think Golden Boy should stop spending thousands of dollars just trying to keep Manny from fighting in the US," said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. "Do you know that when Manny was training for Solis, Golden Boy had the nerve of getting the court to issue a subpoena for Manny to make a deposition. It was ridiculous. Then, they wanted Manny to make his deposition after the fight. Now, he’s been told he can make his deposition after the elections."

Arum said the suits and countersuits will likely be consolidated and heard in Los Angeles.

"My contract with Manny is clear," said Arum. "There’s a clause indicating Manny can’t sign a promotional contract with anyone until my own contract expires. Golden Boy has no case. Their request for reconsideration with the Court of Appeals was turned down."

Although he has the upper hand, Arum said he’s amenable to a compromise.

"The only leverage Golden Boy has is it’s a pest," said Arum. "Unless the parties come to terms, this case could drag on and it’s not to Manny’s best interest."

Arum said he anticipates both parties bringing the cases filed against each other on the table and calling it quits.

"Maybe, even Barrera’s rights will be thrown into the deal," said Arum. "I think Golden Boy has learned its lesson. The court of appeals, for instance, took only a day to dismiss its case."

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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