MANILA, JULY 23, 2008
(STAR) Manny Pacquiao is in a very generous mood these days.

After handing out P3 million to the countless victims of Typhoon Frank last week, Pacquiao last Monday evening sweetened the Olympic pot by throwing in a million bucks.

“Isang milyon para sa gold (One million for the gold),” said Pacquiao as he announced his decision to give the money away to the Filipino athlete who wins the gold medal in the Beijing Olympics.

However, he said the cash incentive is only good for the gold, and in case, in case of a miracle, that the country wins more than one gold, then the athletes will split the money.

“Paghatian na nila kung lampas isa ang gold. Basta isang milyon sa akin (They split it if there’s more than one gold. It’s one million from me),” he said as he looked forward to the Games.

Pacquiao has been designated as flag-bearer of the RP delegation to the Olympic opener on Aug. 8. At the party, he signed a few papers brought by RP chef de mission and Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella.

He said it’s just his little way of motivating the Pinoy athletes.

“Sana kahit paano makatulong sa pag-motivate sa kanila (I hope it helps in motivating them),” said Pacquiao during a belated victory party given him by close friend Chavit Singson.

“This party came late because Manny was so busy recently. This is in Manny’s honor,” said Singson, always at ringside when Pacquiao fights in the US, including last month against David Diaz.

During the party, Pacquiao was surrounded by some of the biggest names in the world of politics and entertainment.

Topping the distinguished list was of course former First Lady Imelda Marcos who was joined at her table by Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, actor Cesar Montano, a few friends and later on Pacquiao.

Also spotted in the evening of fun were former Comelec chairman Ben Abalos (who played golf with Pacquiao earlier in the day), the controversial Atong Ang, rocker Ramon “RJ” Jacinto and showbiz stars Gabby Concepcion, Richard Gutierrez with his parents Eddie Gutierrez and Annabelle Rama, Pops Fernandez, Tina Revilla, Vivian Velez and the gorgeous Jean Saburit.

Pacquiao came in a bright blue shirt, jeans and rubber shoes. He came straight from Wack Wack where he played golf with some friends, including industrialist Hermie Esguerra and Abalos.

“Sumakit kamay ko (My hand hurts),” said Pacquiao as he gripped his fingers. Pacquiao can hit his 7-iron to 170 yards.

With Pacquiao in, the Olympic gold is now P8 million, with P5 million coming from the government and a million each from business tycoon Lucio Tan and software pioneer Microsoft.

Under Republic Act 9164, otherwise known as the incentives act, a gold in the Olympics is worth P5 million, a silver P2.5 million and a bronze P1 million.

Caltex, through Chevron, has also thrown its support to the country’s Olympic campaign, donating $80,000 to the POC for the Olympic preparation.

Caltex is also giving away P10,000 each in form of Star Cash (a pre-paid purchase card) to all the Filipino athletes competing in the Olympics.

The petroleum giant has also pledged a three-year supply of Caltex products to the gold medalist and his/her coach; two years supply to the silver medalist and the coach; and one year for the bronze medalist and coach. – Abac Cordero

Pacman wants Dela Hoya’s hide By Abac Cordero Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Manny Pacquiao says he can handle Oscar dela Hoya.

And he wants the fight against the Golden Boy in December.

“Kaya ko yan (I can handle it),” said Pacquiao Monday evening during a star-studded party hosted by former Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson at Corinthian Gardens.

Pacquiao sounded confident when he said he can handle Dela Hoya, the king of pay-per-view. He said things look bright for the fight to push through on Dec. 6.

“Timbang ang pag-uusapan (Weight will be the issue),” he said, adding that it would be fine with him if Dela Hoya, much taller and heavier, would fight him at 147 lbs.

“Okay sa akin yung 147. Titimbang ako ng 142 tapos sa laban mga 148 or 149 pounds ako (I’m fine with 147. I can weigh in at 142 and for the fight I’d be 148 or 149 pounds),” he said.

Dela Hoya stands 5’10 and has fought his last three fights at light-middleweight (150 lbs) while Pacquiao is a shade under 5’7” and had just moved up as a lightweight (135 lbs).

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said Pacquiao will beat Dela Hoya with both his power and speed. He said Dela Hoya, at 35 and after 44 big fights, “can’t pull the trigger anymore.”

Dela Hoya is on his way to retirement, and said his next fight, booked at the MGM Grand, may be his last. A fight with Pacquiao could be the perfect ending to his great career.

It’s a fight people will look forward to if sealed. And it’s a fight that could generate record sales on the pay-per-view, and a record purse for the 29-year-old Filipino megastar.

For fighting Floyd Mayweather in May last year, Dela Hoya took a guaranteed purse of $25 million but got much, much more than that in the end, despite losing via decision.

Reports said Pacquiao, acknowledged as the best pound-for-pound fighter today, could get as much as $20 million (close to a billion pesos) against Dela Hoya when everything comes in.

Pacquiao flies to US tomorrow to meet with his promoter Bob Arum and discuss all the possibilities regarding his next fight.

“Basta tatlo pa din sila na puwede makalaban. Si Oscar, si (Edwin) Valero or si (Humberto) Soto,” he said.

Dela Hoya, who’s also looking at Miguel Cotto as his next opponent, reportedly said the other day he would take the fight with Pacquiao if the latter asks for it.

Pacquiao is asking for it.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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