Bob Arum]

LAS VEGAS, DECEMBER 7, 2008 (STAR)  By Abac Cordero - Bob Arum stood just a few feet away from Oscar dela Hoya when boxing’s Golden Boy tipped the scales Friday before a boisterous crowd at the MGM.

The ageless promoter didn’t like what he saw.

“I’ve never seen him look so drawn,” said Arum as he walked out of the venue.

“Now whether that means anything or I’m just seeing things that I’m not really seeing I don’t know but he looks drawn,” Arum said.

The big boss at Top Rank said seeing Dela Hoya so “drawn” keeps him guessing how the 5-foot-10 Olympic champion in 1992 can cope with the hard-hitting Manny Pacquiao.

“When a guy is like that he’s really vulnerable to body punches. He’s ‘gonna put on weight and heavy on the stomach and he can get hurt.”

Arum said even at his peak, or at least in his younger days, the 35-year-old Dela Hoya had shown weakness in his body. In 2005, he was knocked out for the first time in his career with a big left to the side of his body, courtesy of Bernard Hopkins.

“(Felix) Trinidad also hit him with a body punch and he really got hurt and he started running. If Oscar comes in over 155 he’s ‘gonna be dead because that’s too much,” Arum said.

Jinkee to watch in lockerroom SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin Henson Updated December 07, 2008 12:00 AM

LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee said yesterday she’ll watch the fight against Oscar de la Hoya in the lMGM/Grand Garden lockerroom where a TV is hooked up to the live action.

“No predictions,” said Jinkee who is eight months pregnant and expects to give birth to her fourth child, a girl, late this month. “There’s no pay-per-view connection in our hotel room so I’ll go with Manny to MGM and I’ll stay in his dressing room. I won’t watch at ringside.”

Although she declined to make a forecast, Jinkee said she has “a good feeling” about the outcome.

Jinkee said Pacquiao will fly back to the Philippines to spend his 30th birthday on Dec. 17 with his fans and townsfolk then return to the US to be with her when she delivers.

Asked if Pacquiao is comfortable at his new weight, Jinkee assured his body has adjusted according to schedule.

It took Pacquiao only three years to move up from superfeatherweight (130) to welterweight (147) compared to De la Hoya who made the jump in 10 years. Only last June, Pacquiao scaled 134 1/2 in his fight against David Diaz. De la Hoya hasn’t weighed 147 since beating Arturo Gatti seven years ago.

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Bernard (The Executioner) Hopkins, the only fighter to knock out De la Hoya, said Pacquiao has no chance to win.

“The bigger and better fighter will prevail,” said Hopkins. “Pacquiao is 80 to 90 percent offense. He has no defense. He lunges at his opponents and once he leaves his feet, he’ll be an easy target for Oscar. I can’t see Manny hurting Oscar. Of course, I’m biased because Oscar is my business partner.”

Hopkins said Pacquiao facing De la Hoya reminds him of his fight against the Golden Boy whom he stopped with a shot to the side of the body.

“Oscar went up in weight to fight me and I admire him for that,” said Hopkins. “But he was just too small. He couldn’t hurt me. And I knocked him out. It’ll be the same thing with Pacquiao. I also admire him for moving up to fight Oscar. What he wants to do is to join the Oscars and the Hopkins in the Hall of Fame by doing this. I respect Manny even if I think he’ll get knocked out in the seventh, eighth or ninth round.”

Oscar Larios, who fought Pacquiao at the Big Dome in 2006, agreed with Hopkins.

“Manny is very quick but he’s just too small,” said Larios. “I’ve fought bigger guys before and I got tired trying to hit them. Believe me, a small guy will get tired easily trying to hit a big guy. I also don’t think Manny has the power to hurt Oscar. I predict Oscar to win by knockout in the eighth round.”

WBC superbantamweight champion Israel Vazquez said the fight is toss-up.

“Manny is very fast but Oscar is very strong,” said Vazquez. “I think the big guy has a better chance of beating a small guy than a small guy beating a big guy. But this will be a war. This could go either way.”

Vazquez said his next fight will be another match against former titlist Rafael Marquez whom he has defeated in two of three bouts.

Postscript: Among the passengers on PAL flight No. 106 from Manila to Las Vegas via Vancouver last Thursday were PAL president Jimmy Bautista, Secretary of Education Jesli Lapus, former Rep. Sandy Ocampo, Rep. Eric Singson, Rep. Cesar Jalosjos, former Gov. Ito and Nini Ynares, North Cotabato Vice Gov. Manny Piñol, Maguindanao Vice Gov. Sajid Ampatuan, Mayor Anwar Ampatuan, PCSO’s Manny Garcia, Hermie Esguerra, Karylle and her father Dr. Modesto Tatlonghari and Terry Capistrano...In Pacquiao’s suite last Friday night were former pro cager Bong Alvarez and wife Almyra Muhlach, Eddie Gutierrez and wife Annabelle with their sons, Ateneo hoop star Chris Tiu and RPN-9 chairman Tonypet Albano.

Padilla says Oscar to win but Manny could upset Updated December 07, 2008 12:00 AM


LAS VEGAS – Retired international referee Carlos (Sonny) Padilla, who made a name for himself as the third man in the ring when Muhammad Ali halted Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla In Manila” in 1975, said yesterday Oscar de la Hoya will likely stop Manny Pacquiao in their duel (this morning, Manila) because of his size advantage but didn’t rule out an upset.

Padilla, 74, works here as a driver at the Harmon Medical and Rehabilitation Center. He hasn’t visited Manila in eight years. Last Thursday night, he and wife Esperanza were at the McCarran Airport to welcome granddaughter Karylle who will sing the National Anthem before the Dream Match.

“My advice to Manny is to stay away from De la Hoya in the early rounds and tire him out,” said Padilla. “When De la Hoya lost to (Tito) Trinidad, he hardly threw punches in the last three rounds and lost a decision. If Manny finishes stronger, he has a chance. But if De la Hoya connects, I think Manny will go down because he’s just too strong and too big.”

Curiously, Padilla said he thinks Pacquiao’s only hope to win is to knock out De la Hoya. The problem is, he added, De la Hoya is known to be durable and has withstood the blows of fighters like Floyd Mayweather, Sugar Shane Mosley, Julio Cesar Chavez and Arturo Gatti.

“I don’t think Manny can win on points because of the height and reach disparity,” said Padilla. “De la Hoya will control the fight with his jab. But you’ll never know. If Manny uses his speed and De la Hoya isn’t able to hit him, we could see an upset. In boxing, anything is possible.”

Padilla recalled that in his last fight as a referee, Pacquiao stopped Nedal Hussein of Australia in the 10th round in Antipolo in 2000.

“Manny wasn’t polished yet and he got knocked down badly,” said Padilla. “I deducted a point from Hussein for intentionally pushing down Manny after the knockdown and that gave Manny some time to recover. A head-butt opened a cut over Hussein’s eye but I motioned a punch did it. Later, I asked the doctor to stop it and Hussein’s manager Jeff Fenech got really angry. The win was important for Manny because it eventually led to his title shot at (Lehlo) Ledwaba a year later.”

Padilla said he retired from working Las Vegas fights because of too much politics in big-time boxing.

“I don’t kiss anyone’s ass like my contemporaries like Richard Steele, Davey Pearl and Joe Cortez,” he said. “I didn’t want to play politics so I just quit.”

In his prime, Padilla worked major world title fights involving Roberto Duran, Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Wilfred Benitez, Michael Spinks, Ali and Frazier.

On a lighter note, Padilla said he’s very proud that Karylle, 26, will sing the national anthem. “I think her mother Zsa Zsa is still a better singer but Karylle has a lot of time to catch up,” he beamed.

Karylle said she auditioned before Pacquiao last year and only got the call for the De la Hoya fight.

“I’ve never watched a boxing match ever and I’m really excited to watch Manny,” said Karylle. “I’ll sing the national anthem, not too slow, not too fast, but with a lot of feeling.”

Karylle said she will wear a rose-red terno for her ring appearance. – Joaquin Henson

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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