MANILA, JULY 27, 2008
(STAR) By Joaquin Henson - WBC lightweight champion Manny Pacquiao’s former business manager Rod Nazario said yesterday Oscar dela Hoya may be too tough an opponent for the Filipino icon if the Golden Boy won’t be dehydrated making the catchweight limit of 147 pounds proposed for a Dec. 6 showdown.

“It’s a dangerous fight for Manny,” said Nazario who introduced Pacquiao to the US market in 2001 as a fearless, explosive and exciting bell-to-bell warrior. “The pay may be good but his honor is at stake.”

Nazario, however, said if Dela Hoya has a hard time bringing down his weight, he’ll be “lugaw” when the bell rings and Pacquiao could win. The danger is because Dela Hoya is taller and longer, Nazario said Pacquiao won’t be able to do to the Mexican-American what he did to David Diaz last month.

Pacquiao halted Diaz in a ninth round massacre. Nazario said Diaz was “ready-made” for Pacquiao who had no difficulty landing his blinding combinations on a slow-moving target.

Nazario said he spoke to Pacquiao before he left for Las Vegas last Thursday to confer with promoter Bob Arum on a possible Dela Hoya fight.

“Manny told me he’ll ask for $30 million to fight Dela Hoya,” said Nazario. “He couldn’t think of anyone else who can bring in a bigger payday. (Edwin) Valero might get him $5 million which is a big drop. My opinion is accepting a fight against Dela Hoya depends on the purse. How much the purse should be is up to Manny. He makes the final decision. Win or lose, Manny can bring home a big paycheck then he can retire if he wants to.”

Whether fighting Dela Hoya is a “good risk” or not, Nazario hesitated to suggest.

“Dela Hoya isn’t easy to beat,” said Nazario. “He’ll try to keep Manny away with his jab. And he’s tall. Maybe, Manny won’t be able to carry over his power to 147. Maybe, Dela Hoya will be able to take his punch. It’s okay if Manny fights someone like (Joel) Casamayor who’s brittle. Dela Hoya won’t easily go down.”

But Nazario said if Dela Hoya has difficulty reducing, he’ll be putty in Pacquiao’s hands.

“Remember (Erik) Morales in his third fight against Manny?” continued Nazario. “He had a problem making the weight. He had nothing left in the fight and Manny took him out easily. If Dela Hoya makes the weight with no problem, we’re in trouble.”

Because it’s easier to gain than to lose weight, Nazario said it’s possible Dela Hoya, who’s now 35, will find it increasingly difficult to reduce because of his age.

“If they agree to fight at 147, Manny will probably come in at 150 and Dela Hoya, 160,” said Nazario. “Manny will be a little bloated so he’ll be slower. The 10-pound difference is big and will be an advantage for Dela Hoya.”

Nazario said if Dela Hoya agrees to fight Pacquiao in December, he’ll have about four months to get ready. “You can lose one or two pounds a week, which is not hard, until you hit 147,” said Nazario. “I think Dela Hoya can get down to 147 if he has four months of training. Dela Hoya can still punch and he’s strong. But if he’s drained by too much weight loss, Manny will win.”

Dela Hoya tipped the scales at 150 against Steve Forbes last May. He was at his heaviest, 160, in decisioning Felix Strum in 2004. Dela Hoya turned pro at 133 in 1992 and has a 39-5 record, with 30 KOs. His only losses were split decisions to Sugar Ray Mosley and Floyd Mayweather, unanimous verdicts to Tito Trinidad and Mosley and a knockout to Bernard Hopkins. Dela Hoya has won world titles in six divisions, superfeatherweight (130), lightweight (135), lightwelterweight (140), welterweight (147), lightmiddleweight (154) and middleweight (160).

Pacquiao, 29, weighed in at 129 pounds for Juan Manuel Marquez last year and entered the ring at about 149. He was heaviest at 134 1/2 during the weigh-in for Diaz. He was only 106 pounds in his pro debut in 1995. So far, Pacquiao has captured world titles in four divisions, flyweight (112), superbantamweight (122), superfeatherweight and lightweight. It should’ve been five but his featherweight (126) title was only recognized by the Ring Magazine as a “people’s” championship.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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