JANUARY 13, 2009
(STAR) SPORTS FOR ALL By Philip Ella Juico - One of the hazards writers constantly face is to realize that one has been victimized by technical glitches long after deadline. The main culprit is unfamiliarity with new equipment and presuming everything has been transmitted right even if receipt of the column was properly acknowledged at the sports desk.

Last week’s column inexplicably ended up disemboweled after I mistakenly presumed I sent the final version when, it seems, I e-mailed a still-to-be finalized copy that lacked the column head and the last four paragraphs.

Last week was about the mysterious and unexplained reasons why Oscar de la Hoya weighed 145 pounds during the official weigh-in, 24 hours before the “Dream Match”, and was a mere 147 pounds in his dressing room just before the fight.

If De la Hoya went on a rigorous diet regimen to go down from 160-165 pounds, his walking weight, he may not have re-hydrated properly since he gained only two pounds more than 24 hours after the diet program was to have ended. As I said, either De la Hoya did not re-hydrate properly or, to be malicious, something may have been wrong with the scales.

Pacquiao, on the other hand tipped The scales at 142 pounds at the official weigh in and was around 148.5 pounds just before the fight.

Enter Ricky Hatton who’s in line for a big payday against Pacquiao. Hatton, like the Pacquiao of old, has the dangerous habit of allowing himself to weigh as much as 175 to 180 pounds (35 to 40 pounds over his fight weight) when not in active training, prompting to refer to him as “Ricky Fatton”.

Hatton’s poor diet, which includes a full English breakfast before fights and Guinness Stout (like our Cerveza Negra) at levels reportedly above what is considered social drinking, has been identified as one of the reasons for his ballooning up between fights and tendency to tire towards the latter rounds.

The scuttlebutt is that hours after Hatton watched the demolition by Pacquiao of De la Hoya, he was seen drinking beer to his heart’s delight all by his lonesome self in a bar in one of the Strip’s luxury hotels. The unverified report continued to state that his companions, who later joined him, restrained him from taking more of what appears to be his favorite drink and yanked him out of the joint.

It seems therefore that Hatton has difficulty in knowing when to stop especially when there is a threat to his physical conditioning as a super athlete. Reports however state that Hatton plans to train 12 weeks for Pacquiao to put himself in tip-top shape. Pacquiao will also train super hard for this bout which could be one of his penultimate fights.

This early, Pacquiao has been favored over The Hitman. Hatton however is no stranger to being an underdog: on June 5, 2005, he stopped Kostya Tszyu by a technical knockout after the Russian-born Australian failed to answer the bell for the 12th round. Tszyu was then regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world.

By winning that bout, Hatton announced his entry into the elite circle of boxing. Various write ups called Hatton’s victory as one of the best by an English boxer in the last 20 years.

Hatton went on to win the World Boxing Association title when he defeated Carlos Maussa on Nov. 6, 2005 in the 9th round of a unification bout. For that victory, Hatton was named Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year.

Hatton’s last outing was against the overmatched Paulie Malignaggi of the United States at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas on Nov. 22, 2008 for Hatton’s International Boxing Organization and Ring Magazine light welterweight titles. Trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr. for the fight, it was clear right at opening bell that Hatton would impose his will on Malignaggi and dominate the match. In the 11th round, Malignaggi’s trainer,Buddy McGirt threw in the towel with less than a minute gone in the round. Malignaggi just didn’t have the answer for Hatton’s swirling attack. The fight served notice that Hatton was back in the big leagues with Pacquiao as his main target and a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. if he gets past the Filipino boxing icon.

If the Pacquiao-Hatton fight is indeed a go, we have a super fight between two 30-year- old go-for-broke sluggers who only know how to move forward, are unmindful of their opponents’ punches and are idolized by their respective countrymen.

One more thing, both Hatton and Pacquiao enjoy life, play hard...and, when the occasion demands it, work hard.

King of Beermen shames Gin Kings Updated January 13, 2009 12:00 AM

[PHOTO AT LEFT - Dondon Hontiveros]

(STAR) The opposing teams know San Miguel Beer’s Dondon Hontiveros is one potent all-around weapon. They also realize that knowing is one thing, doing something about it is an entirely different matter.

Not when Hontiveros is on fire.

And he was undoubtedly in a zone when it mattered most, keeping the Beermen on track for a cherished PBA Philippine Cup goal and in the process earning for himself the KFC/Accel-PBA Press Corps’ Player of the Week honors for the period Jan. 5 to 11.

“He’s the main reason we’re through to the semifinals,” said SMB coach Siot Tanquingcen, referring to the 6-foot-2 guard who led the team past Barangay Ginebra in their best-of-three quarterfinals series that went the full route.

In a dazzling display of firepower, the 31-year-old Cebuano hotshot averaged 28 points, including 34 in a 98-93 win last Sunday that enabled the Beermen to wrap up the series and advance to the semis against early qualifier Talk n Text.

The quarterfinals was as good a time as any for Hontiveros to continue ratcheting up his averages, which started with 13.6 ppg in the 18-game eliminations and went up to 16.5 in the wildcard.

Hontiveros maintains it was just a matter of living up to the trust by his teammates ‘Just be confident, ‘ he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved