[PHOTO AT LEFT - Manny Pacquiao in action against Ricky Hatton in their recent fight. MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, JUNE 19, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Even at 147 lb, the welterweight limit, Manny Pacquiao should have the upperhand against Miguel Cotto.

“Masyado mabagal (Too slow),” said a Team Pacquiao insider of the champion from Puerto Rico who has agreed to face Pacquiao on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas at a catchweight of 144 to 145 lb.

“Kahit sa 147 mahihirapan siya. Masyado mabilis si Manny. Tatamaan (Even at 147 he will find it difficult. Manny is too fast. He’ll get hit),” added the insider, referring to Cotto, the WBO champion.

Pacquiao agreed to fight Oscar dela Hoya at 147 lb last December, but weighed in at only 142 against Dela Hoya’s 145. On fight night, Pacquiao was 148 1/2, and the latter, 147.

It could happen again against Cotto – whether the fight is held at 144, 145 and yes, even 147. Pacquiao will simply use the same formula, weigh in at around 142 and climb the ring around 148.

At 148, Pacquiao will be as fast and as strong, or faster and stronger perhaps, than he was against Dela Hoya (out in eight rounds) or Ricky Hatton (out inside two rounds of the 140 lb contest).

Cotto has never weighed in lower than 146 lb in his last five fights. The last time he tipped the scales at 145 lb was for Zab Judah in June 2007, and he scored an 11th round technical knockout.

Cotto defended his 147 lb crown with a narrow and bloody split decision against Ghana’s Josh Clottey in New York last Sunday, and Pacquiao watched from ringside with his promoter, Bob Arum.

After the fight, Pacquiao asked Arum to set him up against Cotto, who looked so slow with his hands and feet. The only thing he proved that night was his ability to go on despite a nasty cut over his left eye.

Arum has opened his doors to the Cotto people regarding the fight. Negotiations are on and based on reports, both camps are close to striking a deal. It’s no longer the weight, but money matters, that’s keeping the fight unofficial.

“I was on the phone with Cotto’s people yesterday and I outlined to them the terms and points of the deal. I expect their response by the end of the week,” Arum told the Los Angeles Times.

Pacquiao’s Canadian adviser, Mike Koncz, flew to the US and is scheduled to sit down with Arum this Sunday. They will discuss the fight details, and what should be best for both fighters.

“Koncz will take that information to Manny next week, we’ll have further conversations then, and then likely put this thing to bed,” Arum was quoted as saying.

The ageless promoter said weight is no longer an issue.

“Cotto is a welterweight and the (his) nutritionist is saying the lowest he can go is 144. Manny will be fine with that. He doesn’t want a guy to get in there and injure himself by fighting at an unrealistically low weight,” Arum said.

Initially, Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach, wanted Cotto to go down to 142 lb for the fight to push through. But it’s a different story now, after what they saw at the Madison Square Garden last Sunday.

GMA backs Manny's 'Boxing For Peace' Updated June 20, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo will attend the Manny Pacquiao Boxing for Peace program set on July 8 at the newly refurbished boxing gym at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila.

Philippine Sports Commission chair Harry Angping yesterday got the official confirmation from the Palace after he received a text message from his staff back in Manila while on a train trip from Guangzhou to Hong Kong.

Accompanied by shooting chief Art Macapagal, PRISAA national chairman and executive assistant Atty. Paul Vega, Angping toured China to renew ties with the fast-rising world sports power and learn from it.

“Yes, we got the confirmation from the appointment office of Malacañang this morning,” said a top staff by Angping.

Ronald Joves from the office of the Appointments Secretary signed the letter.

The Boxing for Peace, which would pit the best boxers from the Armed Forces and the national police against the finest from the MILF and MNLF, will coincide with the inauguration of the two-storey boxing facility.

The gym, which was financed by the country’s sports funding agency, will house the national pugs on the ground floor and a gym on the second floor.

Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson yesterday said they will finalize details of the event upon Angping’s arrival.

The program was conceptualized by no less than the Chief Executive herself along with Angping and ABAP chair Manny V. Pangilinan, who is also the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president. – Joey Villar

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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