[PHOTO AT LEFT - Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, connects with Juan Manuel Marquez, of Mexico, during their non-title welterweight boxing match in Las Vegas. AP MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 21, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao was pretty impressed with Floyd Mayweather Jr. yesterday and said he can do better than what Juan Manuel Marquez could offer against the flamboyant American.

“Magaling pa din. Mabilis pa din (He’s still good. He’s still fast),” said Pacquiao from his hotel room in Baguio City where he watched the 12-round fight between Mayweather and Marquez.

The fight was entering the third round on the ABS-CBN telecast when The STAR got hold Pacquiao through his cell phone. By that time, he knew Mayweather had won via unanimous decision.

“Walang panama si Marquez (Marquez had nothing to land),” said Pacquiao who watched the fight with his friend Chavit Singson, adviser Mike Koncz and trainers Roger and Buboy Fernandez.

“Hindi niya maabot. Hindi talaga mananalo (He can’t get to him. No way he could win),” said Pacquiao of Marquez, who went down in the second round, and was cut and beaten hard the rest of the way.

Pacquiao said Mayweather always looked good in his fights because he hardly gets hit, just waiting for the opening. In this case, Marquez learned it the hard way as he took one of the worst beatings in his boxing career.

“Naghihintay lang (He just waits),” said Pacquiao of Mayweather.

Asked if he can do better than Marquez or the 39 others who failed against the unbeaten ex-pound-for-pound champion, Pacquiao paused longer than usual The STAR thought he already hung up.

“Kaya abutin,” Pacquiao answered back in Filipino. He could have meant Mayweather was reachable or can be hit if and when a fight between the great superstars takes place sometime next year.

Pacquiao said last week when he staged a whirlwind press tour with Miguel Cotto, his opponent on Nov. 14, that if he and Mayweather win their fights then they’re bound to meet head-on.

If that happens, Pacquiao stands to receive no less than $25 million.

He said talks are on but did not state whether it would be for his next fight. Top Rank’s Bob Arum said Pacquiao can fight on March 15 then will have time to campaign hard for the May 2010 elections.

Pacquiao is seeking a congressional seat in his hometown in Saranggani and he can use a fight, not necessarily against Mayweather, that he can win as a boost to his campaign.

Pacquiao arrived in Baguio yesterday morning, and in the country’s summer capital he would train for the next four to five weeks before moving to the US for his Nov. 14 fight with Cotto.

Pacquiao left Manila at 4 a.m. for the five-hour drive to Baguio. He was on board his black Hummer, towed by three police motorcyle escorts and tailed by three back-up vehicles.

Jake Joson, Pacquiao’s buddy, said the boxer went straight to his hotel room at Coyeesan and slept. He got up just before noon, in time to watch the Mayweather-Marquez fight.

Trainer Freddie Roach and conditioning coach Alex Ariza are flying in this week to supervise the training that will be conducted under tight security provided by Singson, the deputy National Security adviser.

The eight-week training starts today — under the Fernandez brothers until Roach comes in. Arum, the Top Rank president, is coming over as well. He plans to be in Baguio from Oct. 1 to 4.

Pacquiao welcomed the sight of Baguio, which should serve him in good stead while training.

“Maganda ito. Matindi jogging ko dito (This is nice. This will make my jogging tougher),” said Pacquiao of the city which is 1,500 meters above sea level.

“At hindi masyado crowded (And it’s not too crowded),” said the boxer, adding that while he’s in Baguio there will be no distractions, no breaks to film a movie or commercials.

“I need to focus,” he added. – With reports from Artemio Dumlao

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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