NOVEMBER 19, 2008
(STAR) Manny Pacquiao, right, trains with Freddie Roach during a media workout in Los Angeles Monday. AP Trainer Freddie Roach thinks it’s very unlikely for Manny Pacquiao to slide back down to 135 pounds after fighting Oscar dela Hoya at 147 pounds on Dec. 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Roach told yesterday’s PSA Forum through phone patch from his Los Angeles quarters that he sees Pacquiao closing out his checkered career with big fights at the 140-pound division.

The two-time Trainer of the Year said fighting Dela Hoya at 147 pounds, at welterweight, could be a one-shot deal, and that they wouldn’t consider fighting whoever is out there in this class.

“I wouldn’t fight anybody out there at 147 pounds. I think 140 is his (new) fighting weight and 140 is the most realistic weight,” Roach said as PSA members listened.

Top Rank president Todd du Beof joined the PSA phone patch and talked about all the excitement being brought by the coming fight, saying “there’s nothing else like it except probably the World Series or the Super Bowl.”

Pacquiao is the current WBC lightweight (135 pounds) champion after knocking out David Diaz last June 28. Before that fight, he took the WBC super-featherweight (130 pounds) crown from Juan Manuel Marquez.

Pacquiao is getting older and is not getting lighter, and the 29-year-old superstar admitted that making 135 pounds is no longer an easy task, and that he may no longer be at his best in that division.

Problems with the WBC sanction fees have also made Pacquiao think twice about sliding back to 135 pounds and defending his crown after the Dela Hoya fight.

The WBC is asking Pacquiao to pay $100,000 as sanction fee for the Dela Hoya fight or he will be stripped of the lightweight title. Negotiations are ongoing between Pacquiao’s camp and the WBC.

If he gives up the lightweight crown, Pacquiao will end up fighting at 140 pounds until he retires next year. A big win over Dela Hoya can set him up for even bigger fights with either Ricky Hatton or Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Roach said training for the coming “Dream Match” has intensified, with sparring breaking the 100-round barrier this week. So far, after more than a month of sparring, Pacquiao has logged in 98 rounds.

“On Tuesday (today in Manila) we’ll continue to spar 10 rounds and on Thursday it’ll also be 10 rounds. Then on Saturday we’ll do 12 rounds and next week we’d slide down to 10, eight, six and four,” said Roach.

“On December first we’ll head for Vegas. Then we’ll beat Oscar, and soon after that Manny will become the welterweight champion of the world,” said Roach.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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