(STAR) SPORTS FOR ALL By Philip Ella Juico - There’s no other way to call the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez rematch on March 15, 2008 dubbed “Unfinished Business” than Mega Blockbuster. For starters, the main event features two of the world’s 10 best pound-for-pound fighters.

The prestigious Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound rankings as of March 2, 2008 lists World Boxing Council (WBC) Emeritus Champion super featherweight Pacquiao (45-3-2, 35 KO) number two while his opponent Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila), Marquez (48-3-1, 35 KO), the WBC super featherweight champion, is ranked number three.

The others in the exclusive rankings are: 1) WBC welterweight champion and Ring welterweight champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 25 KO); 4) Ring light heavyweight titleholder, Bernard Hopkins (48-4-1-21, 32 KO); and 5) Joe Calzaghe (44-0, 32 KO), World Boxing Association (WBA), WBC and World Boxing Organization (WBO) and Ring super middleweight king.

Heading the bottom half is number six, Israel Vazquez (43-4, 31 KO), WBC and Ring super bantamweight champion, followed by: 7) Miguel Angel Cotto (31-0, 25 KO), who rules the WBA welterweight division; 8) Ricky Hatton (43-1, 31 KO), International Boxing Organization (IBO) and Ring junior welterweight titlist; 9) American middleweight Ronald Wright (51-4-1, 25 KO); and 10) Mexican Rafael Marquez who once ruled the bantamweight and super bantamweight divisions and is the younger brother of Juan Manuel.

As for the undercard, boxing website points out that the six fighters in the supporting bouts have a combined record of 155-10-4 (81 KOs) and a winning percentage of 92 percent in three bouts. WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano (34-1, 15 KOs), from La Puerta, California will be defending his title for the second time. Luevano captured the vacant title July last year by knocking out previously unbeaten Nicky Cook (27-0, 15 KOs) in the 11th round in London. Earlier, in November, Luevano was successful in his first title defense winning a decision over Antonio Davis. Luevano’s forthcoming fight in the Pacquiao-Marquez II Unfinished Business should be very interesting as he will be going up against Thailand’s Terdsak Jandaeng (29-2, 19 KOs), who has won 11of his last 12 bouts, over half of which by knockout.

Another bout has local boy Diosdado Gabi (30-3-1, 21 KOs) locking horns with North American Boxing Organization bantamweight champion Abner Mares (15-0, 9 KOs) from Mexico. Mares stakes his title and number three world ranking against Gabi, former world title contender and rated 10th. Gabi, who idolizes Pacquiao, trained with the Filipino boxing icon and stayed in the latter’s plushy apartment in Los Angeles in preparing for the Mexican. Mares will be defending his title for the second time since winning it last year from former world champion Isidro Garcia. Gabi, on the other hand, hopes to extend his winning streak that started two years ago with him winning all four of his bouts, three by knockout.

WBC lightweight champion David Diaz (33-1-1), who has been unbeaten in eight bouts over the last three years, faces Ramon Montano (14-3-2) from Mexico. Diaz, who won a unanimous decision over three-division world champion Erik Morales in his first title defense, is being eyed as Pacquiao’s next opponent. Montano is unbeaten in 11 of his last 12 bouts, including a split decision over the skillful Americo Santos (25-1-1) and a draw against Dmitriy Salita, undefeated in 24 fights.

If their first meeting in May 2004 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is any indication, Pacquiao-Marquez II promises to be just as explosive and action-packed. The Mexican warrior was decked three times by Pacquiao in the first round, sustained a broken nose and, according to John Gregg of, swallowed enough blood to drop an ox.

Bucking the three knockdowns, Marquez took over a great part of the rest of the fight to come up with a majority draw, before 7,129 fans and millions more watching the fight on TV.

Marquez’s victory was however, not without its share of controversy. Judge Burt Clements scored the bout 113-113, while Guy Jutras had the fight 115-110 for Marquez, and John Stewart marked it 115-110 for Pacquiao.

The controversy arose from how the first round was scored. Clements scored it 10-7 for Pacquiao while Jutras and Stewart saw Pacquiao as the clear winner, 10-6 because of the three spectacular knockdowns. If Clements had scored it the way the two others saw it, Pacquiao would have emerged victorious since he would have a one-point advantage. Gregg says that had Pacquiao winning 114-113 while the Associated Press scored the fight a draw, 113-113.

This Saturday’s fight should help resolve this issue. After all, both have trained long and hard and have studied each other’s styles very carefully.

Expect bigger, heavier Pacquiao at fight time By Abac Cordero Tuesday, March 11, 2008

LOS ANGELES – If everything works out fine, Manny Pacquiao should enjoy the upper hand over Juan Manuel Marquez even before Saturday’s opening bell at Mandalay Bay.

Pacquiao said he’s happy with where he is right now, at 133 lbs with six more days to go.

“I don’t want to end up too light because I want to be bigger, heavier than Marquez during the fight,” said Pacquiao, who took it easy Sunday, which is normally the day he stays out of the gym.

“Pushing my weight too low would favor Marquez. It’s like helping him even up things a bit. It’s better for me to be bigger than him in the ring,” Pacquiao told scribes who visited him in his apartment.

Marquez weighed 131 lbs two days ago, and should easily pass the 130 lb limit for the WBC super-featherweight championship during Friday’s official weigh-in. Marquez can climb the ring at 140 lbs give and take.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, plans to report for the weigh-in at 129 or 130 lbs, and show up at the Events Center the following day at around 144 lbs, a few lines heavier than a super-lightweight.

Boxers, after squeezing themselves dry days before the weigh-in, can gain as much as 15 lbs in 24 hours. For the Marco Antonio Barrera fight last October, Pacquiao weighed in at 130 and was 144 the next day.

“Mabuti na din yung mas malaki tayo,” said Pacquiao, who said he can still enjoy a good meal six days before the fight.

For Sunday’s dinner, he had rice, salmon and beef broth after spending a couple of hours playing darts with friends. He had his wife Jinkee sharing the table along with twin sister Jeanette and friends.

Pacquiao was good at darts, playing killers, and at one time hitting three bullseyes with all three darts.

“At least I can still eat meals and there’s no need to reduce yet. I shed off pounds through hard training, and not by skipping meals,” he added.

Pacquiao will attend a press conference in downtown LA 11 a.m. Monday and hold his final day of sparring Monday at the Wild Card Gym before towing his entourage for a 300-mile drive to Vegas at 3 p.m.

“I’m so excited,” Pacquiao said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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