MANILA, APRIL 14, 2008
(STAR) By Joaquin Henson - WBO bantamweight champion Gerry Peñalosa will return to the ring in six weeks if family physician Dr. Butch Penamante gives him the go-signal after examining his right hand and right elbow which continue to throb with pain.

Peñalosa said yesterday he will consult Dr. Penamante, a Manila-based General Santos City native, and decide whether he can accept a fight on the Zab Judah-Sugar Shane Mosley undercard at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, on May 31.

Peñalosa is scheduled to be examined by Dr. Penamante today.

The pain in Peñalosa’s elbow began to smart during his five-week training at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood preparatory to his title defense against Ratanachai Sor Vorapin.

Peñalosa’s manager Billy Keane assigned a physical therapist to monitor the elbow condition.

“I was told to rest the elbow for three-day periods with hot and cold packs,” said Peñalosa. “When I rested it, the pain went away. But as soon as I resumed sparring, it came back. Since I couldn’t afford resting for three days, I just trained through the pain.”

Peñalosa said eight days before the Ratanachai bout, he stopped sparring to rest the elbow.

At the Araneta Coliseum last week, the pain recurred as Peñalosa belted Ratanachai like a punching bag from the first round. The pounding on the Thai challenger’s head also caused swelling in his right hand. Despite the discomfort, Peñalosa knocked out Ratanachai in the eighth round.

On a scale of one to 10, Peñalosa said the pain remains at about seven.

“The pain is still there,” said Penalosa. “It hasn’t gone away since the fight.”

Peñalosa’s wife Goody said the pain in the elbow was kept a secret before the fight.

“I was very worried and nervous,” said Goody. “I kept on praying the pain wouldn’t affect Gerry’s performance. I know how much the fight (against Ratanachai) meant to him. It was his stepping stone to get a rematch with (Daniel) Ponce de Leon.”

But it doesn’t look like Ponce de Leon will be Peñalosa’s next opponent. Ponce de Leon is booked to stake his WBO superbantamweight crown against Juan Manuel Lopez in Atlantic City on June 7.

Keane, who is based in Los Angeles, phoned Peñalosa the other day to confirm the May 31 slot and said his purse would be at least $200,000. No opponent has yet been named.

Peñalosa said if cleared by Dr. Penamante, he will leave for Los Angeles late next week to begin preparing for the May 31 fight.

“I’m excited to fight again,” said the 35-year-old Peñalosa. “Billy wants me to defend my title while we wait for Ponce de Leon. But if you ask me, I’d rather fight the big names like Israel Vasquez, Rafael Marquez or Ponce de Leon since I’m not thinking of fighting too much longer.”

If Peñalosa is cleared to fight on May 31, a possible opponent is No. 3 contender Abner Mares. The 22-year-old Mexican is ticketed to fight in the May 31 undercard with no opponent yet and could be Peñalosa’s next challenger.

Mares turned pro in 2005 and has beaten Filipinos Diosdado Gabi and Robert Allanic. His record is 16-0, with 10 KOs.

Last Thursday, Peñalosa conducted a boxing clinic for the public at his gym in the Market Place Mall, Kalentong Street, Quezon City. The clinic was the first of 10 sessions that Peñalosa and his brother Jonathan are offering to customers.

Pacquiao set to seal Diaz duel Monday, April 14, 2008

It won’t take long before the fight contract between Manny Pacquiao and David Diaz is signed, sealed and delivered.

Pacquiao’s legal counsel, Franklin Gacal, yesterday said he’s flying to the US soon to discuss the final details of the contract with Top Rank president Bob Arum.

Arum handles both Pacquiao and Diaz, and Gacal said this should make everything a lot easier preparing the contract for the June 28 fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

“There’s only one promoter to talk to and that’s Bob Arum. Therefore it will be easier for us to finalize the details as compared to fights involving two promoters,” said Gacal.

“I’m hoping that my meetings with Mr. Arum will only take a couple of days. And when it’s ready for signing, Pacquiao will fly in to sign it and start training, too,” said Gacal.

Pacquiao said he plans to start training in Los Angeles in the first week of May. By that time, he hopes that everything is finalized.

Pacquiao won the WBC super-featherweight crown by beating Juan Manuel Marquez last March 15 in Mandalay Bay. But he has decided to move up in weight and challenge Diaz.

Gacal said Pacquiao should get no less than the $5.5 million he got in guaranteed purse for fighting Marquez. – Abac Cordero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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