MARCH  15:  ARUM  SEES  TOUGH  FIGHT  VS  MARQUEZ 

MANILA, DECEMBER 20, 2007
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Bob Arum believes that for Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez will be the tougher fight as compared to the ones he had against Erik Morales or Marco Antonio Barrera.

“Absolutely,” said Arum yesterday during a well-attended press conference announcing the March 15 fight between Pacquiao and Marquez at Mandalay Bay.

Then Arum, the great promoter, gave the reasons why.

“It’s fair to say that Marquez ranks third in terms of popularity within the group that also includes Morales and Barrera,” said Arum who flew back to Las Vegas last night.

“But Manny defeated Morales twice and Barrera twice. Now Marquez is the last man standing from Mexico. Marquez is now carrying the pride of Mexico in his shoulders.

“Being number three behind Morales and Barrera makes him even more motivated,” said Arum amid reports that the WBC super-featherweight champion has started training.

“Mexican fighters don’t train during Christmas. They just don’t do that. But there are already reports that Marquez is now in training,” added Arum of the rematch of the 2003 draw.

The HBO fight will be carried live in the Philippines by Solar Sports through GMA-7 on March 16, which marks the 487th year of the Philippines’ discovery by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

Tickets will be out starting tomorrow, and are pegged at $600, $400, $300, $200 and $100. There’s no official title yet, but early on the drawing board are “Unfinished Business” and “Breaking the Tie.” Pacquiao, during the press conference also attended by his chief trainer Freddie Roach, said he’s very excited about the fight, which is expected to generate 500,000 pay-per-view buys.

“This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for – for me and Marquez to finish our unfinished business. It’s like a movie. It’s four years in the making,” said the boxer.

Also coming in for Pacquiao’s birthday bash the other day were his Mexican sparring partner Dave Rodela and Wild Card Gym security officer Rob Peters.

Pacquiao has agreed with Arum and Roach to be in Los

Angeles by Jan. 15 for an eight-week, non-stop training that would go with a couple of media gigs and an appearance at The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.

“I’m excited. But I’m not really nervous as I was probably against Morales or Barrera. I need to prepare hard. I cannot be over-confident. But I’m ready to face him – even with the gloves off,” said Pacquiao.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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