PACQUIAO  THROWS  1st  PITCH  AT  GIANTS  GAME

[PHOTO AT LEFT -
Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao throws the ceremonial first pitch at the baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres in San Francisco on Tuesday. AP |HOLLYWOOD]  

HOLLYWOOD (AP), APRIL 23, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao, the person and the bobblehead doll, was all over the ballpark.

Boxing’s pound-for-pound champion threw the ceremonial pitch for the Giants-Padres baseball match at the AT&T Park in San Francisco Tuesday, and drew as much attention as he does in the boxing ring.

“Fans went berserk at the AT&T Park,” said an article that came out on the Major League Baseball website.

That was an understatement.

Pacquiao was welcomed like a rock star, and fans among the 42,000 that packed the ballpark all wanted to have a piece or a pinch of the boxing superstar.

Pacquiao flew to San Francisco from Los Angeles where he was training at the Wild Card Gym a little past noon. He took a private plane and was back in LA by late evening.

Hundreds of bobblehead dolls in the likeness of the boxing icon were given away to fans, who came to see both Pacquiao and the Giants’ 8-3 win over the Padres.

Pacquiao said he played baseball when he was younger, and threw his one and only pitch straight into the catcher’s gloves, drawing cheers from the crowd.

The catcher was no less than Giants Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, who is said to be half-Filipino.

“That’s good,” Pacquiao said as reported by MLB.com.

Earlier in the gym, Pacquiao sparred three rounds each with Urbano Antillon and Alisher Rahimov, an Uzbek fighter and veteran of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

In the first round against Antillon, Pacquiao tested his uppercuts from both hands, and in the second egged on his sparringmate to try and hit him more. In the third round, the Mexican-American mimicked Hatton by doing some clinching and hitting.

Pacquiao did well during the session, as publicist Fred Sternburg brought news that all 16,300 tickets to the fight have been sold out and that “nothing’s left.”

“Amazing,” said Bob Arum of Top Rank as Pacquiao sparred, at one point throwing a flurry of punches that caught Antillon flat-footed.

“We had a good day today. He boxed very well when he wants to, he played level when he wants to, he’s having fun, he’s nice and loose. I know he’s ready. I’m confident of my fighter,” said Freddie Roach.

“I just have a better fighter in this fight... Ricky is a tough guy and (trainer) Floyd (Mayweather Sr.) may be the best trainer in the world – or so he says. But I have the better fighter,” he added.

The bigger Hatton gets, the better for Manny By Abac Cordero Updated April 23, 2009 12:00 AM

[PHOTO AT LEFT - Filipino ring idol Manny Pacquiao works out with conditioning coach Alex Ariza. Abac Cordero]

HOLLYWOOD, APRIL 23, 2009 (STAR) BY Abac Cordero - A bigger Ricky Hatton is a slower Ricky Hatton.

“The more weight Ricky Hatton puts on, the happier I am because too much weight is not good for a fighter,” said trainer Freddie Roach Tuesday at his Wild Card Gym when reminded of Hatton’s plan to climb the ring on May 2 against Manny Pacquiao as heavy as 154 lbs.

The weight limit is pegged at 140 lbs and that’s where both fighters should be during the official weigh-in. But boxers are capable of gaining as much as 14 lbs, or even more in the next 24 hours after replenishing their bodies, and Hatton wants a lot of it.

Roach said it’s not their problem.

“Food makes you sluggish and dulls your senses. If they think they’re gonna be stronger because they are a little heavier, they can be sadly mistaken. They think Manny is a small guy. Wait till he gets there. He’s not a small guy, he’s going to push Ricky around,” said Roach.

Pacquiao, his chief trainer said, should weigh in at a140 lbs or just a shade lighter, and by fight time should be 147 or 148 lbs. or just as heavy, and hopefully as quick, as strong and as sharp as he was when he destroyed Oscar dela Hoya last December.

“Ten pounds maximum. Ten pounds – that’s my level. Anything more than 10 pounds is bad, I think. If he wants to be bigger and weigh more that doesn’t make you stronger,” said Roach, recalling the Juan Manuel Marquez rematch when Pacquiao put on close to 15 lbs after the weigh-in.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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