NOVEMBER 25, 2008
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - At least for now, Ricky Hatton is not on Manny Pacquiao’s radar.

After Hatton bullied his way past Paul Malignaggi at the MGM Grand the other day, the British superstar and reigning IBO light-welterweight champion called out Pacquiao’s name.

A lot of people followed suit, and this early, are looking forward to a big clash between Hatton and Pacquiao who is scheduled to face Oscar dela Hoya on Dec. 6 also at the MGM Grand.

While Hatton said he is ready to face the winner of the coming match, there seemed to be more people inclined on seeing a Pacquiao vs Hatton showdown at 140 pounds early next year.

Trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr., the trainer of Hatton, said the Filipino superstar regarded as the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world today, is a better fight for the pride of Manchester.

“It’s Ricky’s call, but do I want to see him fight Oscar? Not really. I would rather see him fight Pacquiao, that’s the perfect match for Ricky,” the flamboyant trainer told The Independent News.

“But I don’t see Pacquiao beating Oscar,” added Mayweather, whose son, Floyd Jr., is in retirement but might just come out of it if challenged anew by Dela Hoya or Pacquiao.

Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis said Pacquiao vs Hatton will be a huge draw.

“I think it would be a very interesting fight. They have to agree on what weight they want to come in at, but obviously the fans would love to see a fight like that,” Lewis told AOL Sports.

Hatton said he’s ready for Pacquiao or Dela Hoya.

“Bring it on, I’d definitely like to do it. Nobody will ever beat me at junior welterweight. Nobody – I really believe that,” he said.

Pacquiao, however, refused to be carried away.

“No comment,” he said in an on-line message yesterday as he took his Sunday rest in Los Angeles where he’s been training long and hard for Dela Hoya.

“I’m concentrating on my own fight. Then after the fight, I will confer with my team, my promoters,” he said.

“I am only a fighter. I trust my team to look for the best fights for me out there.”

While he kept his eyes away from Hatton, a fight with the rugged British superstar is something to look forward to.

Pacquiao had said he’s willing to face Hatton at 140 pounds, and that he’s even willing to fight the latter in his home turf - before 100,000 fans at the Wembley Stadium.

Hatton wants winner of Pacman-Hoya bout November 20, 2008 12:00 AM (STAR)

Ricky Hatton, all primed up for his clash against Pauli Malignaggi on Saturday, said he wants to fight the winner of the Manny Pacquiao-Oscar dela Hoya dream showdown on Dec. 6 in what could be the sport’s biggest fight next year.

“I would absolutely love to fight the winner of that,” said Hatton, the Ring Magazine’s junior welterweight champion, in an interview with AOL Sports. (Related story on A-25)

Hatton sounded particularly interested in fighting the Filipino boxing champion, whose size and style would make a fight against him particularly interesting.

“Manny Pacquiao is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world,” Hatton said. “I would like to think I’m in line to fight the winner.”

Ricky Hatton 

Hatton acknowledged that in his last fight, a unanimous decision win over Juan Lazcano, he looked lackluster. But he said he’ll prove against Malignaggi that he deserves to fight one of the biggest names in the sport – Pacquiao or Dela Hoya.

“Judging by my performance against Lazcano, I’m not worthy of that fight,” Hatton said. “But after I beat Paulie Malignaggi I will be really, truly worthy of a fight against the Oscar dela Hoya-Manny Pacquiao winner.”

Meanwhile, Dela Hoya, in deep training in Big Bear, California, is now down to 145 lbs, making Pacquiao, who is around 147 the last few weeks, a little heavier than the 10-time world champion in six different weight categories.

The Pacquiao-Dela Hoya fight, set at a catchweight of 147 lbs, is set Dec. 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

In his latest conference call, Dela Hoya said the training camp with Nacho Beristain has been going on well, insisting he is ready to take on Pacquiao two weeks before the big fight.

“I’m ready to go. I’ve been weighing 145 pounds now for the last three weeks. The weight is no problem. I feel strong. I do have to admit that I – in the first couple of days that I did make the weight or I tried making weight, about a month ago, I did feel a little lightheaded and weak,” said Dela Hoya.

“But now that I have gotten used to it and now that weeks have passed by, I feel strong and fast and very comfortable with welterweight. And I’m even thinking of going back down to 140 after this fight, so we’ll see,” he added.

Dela Hoya said that Pacquiao’s power and speed have driven him to train and work hard to ensure his victory.

“My motivation for this fight is Manny Pacquiao’s explosiveness, punching power, speed and youth,” Dela Hoya said.

Dela Hoya had earlier vowed to go for a knockout in five. Pacquiao’s trainer and coach Freddie Roach also believed the fight would not last the distance, only it would be in favor of the Filipino WBC lightweight champion.

“Tell Oscar not to worry, the fight will end in a knockout,” said Roach in a report on 411mania.com. “On Dec. 6, Oscar’s going to think he’s back in the 1930’s when Manny airmails him into The Great Depression.”

The outspoken Roach reiterated the joke that Dela Hoya “can’t pull the trigger anymore.”

“Oscar can’t pull the trigger anymore. Losing all that weight doesn’t impress me,” said Roach.

The 35-year-old Dela Hoya, however, took Roach comment in stride, saying he would rather take Pacquiao’s trainer’s words as motivation.

“Obviously, he has to try to get under my skin. I don’t know how much of it is real, I don’t know how much is hype,” De la Hoya wrote in his Ring blog.

He even commended his rival camp’s buildup for the keenly-awaited fight.

“From the looks of Manny and who he has behind him, they’re doing the right thing. They’re gaining the weight properly. He’s looking fast. He’s looking strong. I think it’s going to be an advantage for Manny to come up in weight. I think he’s going to be the same Manny as we saw in the lower weight class,” said De la Hoya.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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