ARUM:  WANT  A  SHOT  AT  PACMAN?  BEAT  VALERO  FIRST

[PHOTO AT LEFT -
WBA and WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez’s bid for a third showdown with Manny Pacquiao hinges on a duel with Edwin Valero (right, inset) as proposed by Top Rank’s chief Bob Arum, MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, APRIL 9, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Beat Edwin Valero and get to face Manny Pacquiao a third time.

This was the challenge hurled by master promoter Bob Arum to Juan Manuel Marquez, the current WBA and WBO lightweight champion who is dying to face Pacquiao a third time.

Valero, the sensational knockout artist from Venezuela, won the vacant WBC lightweight crown, the one that Pacquiao took from David Diaz last July, with a big win in Texas last Sunday.

Valero knocked out Antonio Pitalua in the second round, and has now won all his 25 fights by way of knockout, the first 18 of them coming in the first round.

It was the first time Arum saw Valero fight in person, and shortly after the match, the 77-year-old promoter, according to fighthype.com, declared him as the “best lightweight” out there.

“I had never seen Edwin fight in person and this was a real treat. I really believe that Edwin Valero is the best lightweight in the world. Now, Juan Manuel Marquez may challenge that.

“He has got a couple of lightweight titles, but he’s always talking about fighting Manny Pacquiao, so I send this message... if he wants to fight Pacquiao, fight this guy (Valero) next,” Arum told fighthype.com.

“Fight this guy because Manny Pacquiao only wants to fight the best lightweight in the world.”

Right after Pacquiao defeated Diaz, the Filipino superstar said it could be his first and last fight at 135 lbs because he’d rather fight his last few fights at a higher class.

A few months ago, he relinquished the WBC lightweight crown, and now Valero is the new champion.

Arum also wants Valero, who’s now under Top Rank, to fight Pacquiao, and daring Marquez to face the Venezuelan may be a ploy that will help them determine if Valero is for real.

If the Marquez-Valero fight happens, the winner may get to face Pacquiao, especially if a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. showdown doesn’t take place later this year.

Pacquiao faces Ricky Hatton for the latter’s IBO light-welterweight (140 lbs) title on May 2. And in case, just in case, he fails, a fight with either Marquez or Valero at 135 lbs should serve as a fallback.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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