MANILA, MAY 16, 2008
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - As Manny Pacquiao pursues a fourth world title in different weight classes, a handful fighters have also started pursuing the Filipino superstar who has moved up to the lightweight division.

Pacquiao is now in Los Angeles for a heavy six-week training that should take him to his peak form in time for a June 28 matchup with WBC lightweight champion David Diaz at Mandalay Bay in Vegas.

Pacquiao reported from LA yesterday that he is bent on beating Diaz in his debut as a lightweight (135 lbs) since he took the super-featherweight (130 lbs) crown from Juan Manuel Marquez last March.

He said becoming the first Asian boxer to win four titles should be enough to inspire him. “Nalalaman ko na kapag nanalo ako sa laban na ito, ako ang kauna-unahang boxer sa Asia na mananalo ng apat na titulo sa apat na magkakaibang weight divisions ( I know if I win this fight I’ll be the first Asian to win four titles in four weight divisions,” he said.

Pacquiao is also trying to become the first Filipino to win the 135 lb championship after the failed attempts of a few of his countrymen, including the late Gabriel “Flash” Elorde.

Pacquiao has won the world titles in the flyweight, super-bantamweight and super-featherweight classes. At 29 and after so many battles, he’s eyeing to add the lightweight crown to his waist.

Pacquiao arrived in LA Monday evening, attended a press conference the following day and was scheduled for his first day of workout under Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.

And while he’s busy gearing up for Diaz, some of the biggest names in the 130 lb division have began following Pacquiao’s footsteps.

Marquez, hot in pursuit of a third fight with Pacquiao, recently announced that he is also moving up as a lightweight, and probably challenge Nate Campbell who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight crowns.

For Marquez, who drew with Pacquiao in 2004 and lost a very close one to the Pinoy slugger last March, it’s the only way of keeping Pacquiao in sight as he dreams of a third match.

Yesterday, ESPN’s Dan Rafael reported that Joan Guzman has decided to relinquish his WBO 130 lb title, go after Campbell and probably line himself up for a shot at Pacquiao.

“Guzman can make 130 but what’s at 130? All the top guys are at 135,” Sea Gibbons of Sycuan, which promotes Guzman, told Rafael. “You have Campbell, Juan Manuel Marquez, who is going to 135, Manny Pacquiao, (Juan) Diaz, (Michael) Katsidis, Joel Casamayor.”

Marco Antonio Barrera, who has lost two great fights with Pacquiao, has announced recently that he’s ready to give it one more try, and wouldn’t hesitate moving up to 135 lbs if it would mean a third fight with the Filipino.

Pacquiao, according to boxing chronicler Hermie Rivera, said upon arriving in LA that he’d bring the fight to Diaz as early as the first round.

No place for Lim in new board By Nelson Beltran Friday, May 16, 2008

(STAR) Graham Lim, now out of the FIBA picture, may also find himself out of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas with the formation of the new SBP board of trustees before the end of the month.

Lim, the Basketball Association of the Philippines secretary-general, is among the BAP men in the interim board but he’s likely to get the boot without a league to represent in the formation of the next board.

Lim is not an official of any of the 19 cage bodies given active membership status by the SBP executive committee. These 19 associations will nominate 25 people to compose the new board from which the new set of federation officers will come.

“He can never be a member of the board. First of all, he’ll never satisfy the No. 1 rule which says a nominee to the board must be a Filipino,” said The STAR source, noting Lim has been declared undesirable alien by the government.

The FIBA Central Board has dismissed Lim from the FIBA Youth Commission and, at the same time, asked FIBA Asia and the SBP “to review the appropriateness of Mr. Lim’s participation in any body of FIBA Asia.”

An SBP official doubted whether the federation would still act on Lim since a new board will be formed in the next few days.

“He is a trustee who has never attended a single board meeting. He’s not a trustee in good standing,” the SBP official said of Lim.

Top FIBA officials slammed Lim for sowing confusion in Philippine basketball even after the merger of the BAP and Pilipinas Basketball with the formation of the SBP.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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