(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao may have to use stilts if he ends up fighting Yuri Foreman in March.

But the Filipino pound-for-pound champion, who has never backed off against bigger, taller and heavier opponents, thinks he stands a good chance against the WBA light-middleweight champion who’s just a shade under six feet.

“Pag tinamaan ko na sa katawan yan pareho na kami ng height (Once I hit him in the body we’d be of the same height),” Pacquiao, according to his business manager Eric Pineda, said as he looked forward to facing Foreman.

Born in Gomel, Belarus, and now a resident of New York, the 29-year-old Foreman is undefeated in 28 fights (with one no-contest), and will bring his WBA light-middleweight crown on the table if chosen as Pacquiao’s next opponent.

Bob Arum of Top Rank is looking at Foreman to fill in the space after negotiations for the big fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. “went up in a ball of fire” after a serious disagreement regarding the blood testing proceduces.

Pacquiao had gone to court, filing charges against the Mayweathers, Floyd Sr. and Roger, and Golden Boy big boss Oscar dela Hoya and Richard Schaefer for maligning him as an alleged user of performance-enhancing drugs.

Dela Hoya, who stands 5’10” 1/2, gave up after eight rounds with Pacquiao last December.

Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Foreman, said he could set up a fight between the two either on March 13 at the MGM Grand or March 20 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

If he beats Foreman, quite a tall order for the 5-foot-6 Filipino, Pacquiao will earn his eighth world title in eight different weight classes, from flyweight, super-bantam, feather, super-feather, lightweight, junior-welter and welterweight.

Arum has also mentioned the name of Paulie Malignaggi, and Freddie Roach Juan Manuel Marquez, as the next guy facing Pacquiao before the sport’s biggest star today seeks a congressional seat in the May 2010 polls in the Philippines.

“But it will have more meaning if it’s against Foreman. There’s the eighth world title,” said Pineda, adding that Pacquiao had to think twice before even entertaining thoughts of fighting the 5-foot-11 Foreman.

“Manny thought Yuri was too tall for him and too big. He will weigh in at 154 pounds and can climb the ring at 170. But we showed him tapes of Foreman, and then he said he can take on him,” said Pineda.

“Kapag tinamaan na nga daw niya sa katawan, magiging pareho na sila ng height,” the boxing icon’s business manager added.

Pacquiao, if plans push through, will leave the United States next week with his family. It’s for a much-needed and long-delayed vacation.

Pacquiao’s lawyer, Franklin Gacal, said Pacquiao may or may not opt to train in Los Angeles (the Wild Card Gym) for his next fight, because he liked Baguio so much the last time he trained for the Miguel Cotto fight.

“Nothing’s definite. But whoever he’s fighting next, I was told that Manny wants to start training soon. It could be in LA or Baguio,” said Gacal.

Mayweather bout no dead issue By Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) Updated January 03, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - For Golden Boy Promotions, the mega fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not yet dead despite the standoff over the drug test issue.

Richard Schaefer, the Golden Boy Promotions chief executive officer, said the federal suit filed by Pacquiao against Mayweather and his team “doesn’t necessarily kill the fight.”

“I want to exhaust any and all possibilities to get the fight done. Everything I have is going into finding a way to make this fight and getting a compromise that is acceptable to all parties,” Schaefer told Yahoo! Sports.

“I still hope that somehow a compromise can be found and that this fight can be saved,” Schaefer said. “I fully realize that this fight not happening is not only a big blow for the fight but it has much bigger, much more serious ramifications.”

Many others, however, believe the fight is dead.

Top Rank chief Bob Arum is targeting newly crowned WBA Jr. middleweight champion Yuri Foreman even as a clamor for a Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez “trilogy” is fast growing.

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s world-renowned trainer, himself is keen on giving Marquez a third shot at the Filipino champion.

Arum said he is no longer considering Paulie Malignaggi as an alternative opponent since they did research and discovered that few believe Malignaggi would have been a credible opponent.

If a Mayweather fight can’t be made, Arum said he would try to finalize a deal for a fight between Pacquiao and Foreman. Both fighters are promoted by Top Rank.

Negotiations for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight came to a halt after a request by Mayweather that Pacquiao submit to Olympic-style drug testing that would be administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and which would include random blood and urine draws.

Pacquiao agreed to any testing requested by the Nevada Athletic Commission, but balked at testing by any outside agency.

It’s unlikely that the two parties will resume negotiation with Pacquiao making good his threat at filing defamation lawsuit against Mayweather Jr., Mayweather Sr. and Golden Boy Promotions.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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