PACQUIAO-DE LA HOYA  DREAM  MATCH  TO  GO  THE  DISTANCE

[PHOTO AT LEFT -
Manny Pacquiao poses for photos at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas, where he is scheduled to fight Oscar de la Hoya in a 12-round non-title welterweight bout on Dec. 6. AP]

LAS VEGAS, DECEMBER 4, 2008 (STAR) By Abac Cordero – Angelo Dundee is just one of the very few people saying that this fight will last the distance.

Amid the burst of Mariachi music at the MGM’s grand lobby, the legendary trainer tossed a firm prediction that Saturday’s “Dream Match” between his new boy, Oscar de la Hoya, and Manny Pacquiao will last the distance.

“I see the fight going the limit,” said Dundee, 87, who played a role in probably the greatest fights of all time – those featuring his former fighters including Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jose Napoles, George Foreman and Carmen Basilio.

Dundee, the latest addition to Team De la Hoya, said two great fighters squaring off should guarantee a good fight.

“This is the fight people want to see – Pacquiao versus De la Hoya,” he said as he left the makeshift ring where De la Hoya pumped his fists and smiled back to those who welcomed him.

Dundee added that this fight, which in weight is the biggest for Pacquiao and the smallest for De la Hoya in years, has created so much excitement within the boxing world.

“It’s got to be a great fight because they are both great fighters. And the best man will win - very simple. I see the fight going the limit,” he said.

“I see a great fight, a great night of boxing. And the year will end good for boxing with this fight. And the people know who the fighters are and that’s most important,” said Dundee.

De la Hoya, at 35, is the undisputed pay-per-view king, while Pacquiao, at 29, is the new pound-for-pound king.

“I think it will go twelve. Both are strong, and both can take a good punch. Both could fight. It’s just a shame two guys will have to fight like this because they’re both good fighters,” he said before leaving.

But another member of Team De la Hoya, one who was part of Team Pacquiao in recent fights, thinks otherwise.

“It could not go to twelve because they throw too many punches - both of them. They’re going away,” said Joe Chavez, the 76-year-old cutman of De la Hoya.

Chavez worked several of Pacquiao’s most recent fights, but this time had to be with the Golden Boy. Taking his place in the Pinoy camp is Miguel Diaz, just as capable, just as trusty.

Chavez may be torn between the two fighters.

“I like both of them. Pacquiao is a great guy. It just happened that I was with Oscar for a long time before. But Pacquiao remains my friend and everything. And I wish the best man wins,” he said.

The master cutman should be raising the hands of both fighters on Saturday.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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