ARCADIA, CALIFORNIA, NOVEMBER 7, 2011 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - On a cold day at the races, Juan Manuel Marquez tried to stay hot.

Up in a makeshift ring, right by the stands of the historic Santa Anita racetrack, the great Mexican counterpuncher said he’s all set to face Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

He was asked what the first round would be like, and Marquez, with perhaps three layers of clothing on, said he expects a tough one.

“It’s going to be tough for me because Pacquiao will be looking for the knockout,” he said as he moved around the ring to face questions from the media, by the ropes, one at a time.

When told that Pacquiao’s chief trainer, Freddie Roach, was calling for a knockout, he clipped his shoulders and said anybody can say anything.

“Freddie can say whatever (he wants). People can say anything. I just want to give the people a great show,” he said.

Then again, he insisted that he won the first two fights, the one that ended in a draw seven-and-a-half years ago, and the one that ended in a razor-thin decision for Pacquiao in 2008.

He said the people saw those two fights, and he’s still counting on them.

“I think the last two fights the people know who won. I think I won the last two fights. The people feel the same,” said Marquez, who just flew in from Mexico.

He said he trained long and hard for this fight, with close to 140 rounds of sparring recorded, and he looked ready to go.

It was supposed to be an open workout for Marquez, at the same racetrack where Seabiscuit once reigned, and where the Seabiscuit with Shirley Temple was filmed a long, long time ago.

But it got a little too cold Marquez must have begged off from taking off his Nike track suit. Still, he said he felt happy.

“I trained hard for this fight, for my weight, for my strength, for my speed,” he said.

“But I don’t know why Pacquiao is very angry for what I said (that he won both fights). The best judge is the people,” said Marquez, who wrapped up his sparring sessions the other day in Mexico.

“I had six rounds. Maybe (a total of) 140 rounds,” he said.

Over at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Pacquiao sparred six rounds against two different boxers, and came close to knocking the Armenian guy down.

And yet Pacquiao is saving his best for the fight.

Pacman all pumped up for big fight By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated November 06, 2011 12:00 AM By ABAC CORDERO

LOS ANGELES – Inside the tiny closet, well, actually the dressing room of the Wild Card Gym, boxing’s biggest superstar aired all his excitement.

“I’m excited. Nakapangahig na (I’m ready to go),” said Manny Pacquiao, exactly a week before the third, and hopefully his last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.

The Filipino icon had just wrapped up another day at the gym when he let a handful of scribes inside the dressing room

It was drizzling outside, with his fans eagerly waiting, when Pacquiao spoke of the fight all set to happen at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao, as he’d been throughout this camp, was in a light mood. He laughed when reminded of his latest appearance at the Jimmy Kimmel Show, and the song “How Deep is Your Love.”

In a snap, the topic changed.

“Freddie (Roach) said he wants you to knock Marquez out,” Pacquiao was told.

He paused for a moment, faced each one fronting him, and said, “I can’t say. Basta ready tayo (But we’re ready) for the fight.

How ready is he really?

“They didn’t let me work on the skipping ropes today. And just one round with the speed ball,” said Pacquiao, at this point looking disappointed in that he had wanted more.

“They’re pulling the ropes on me. Lagi kaming nagtatalo dito (We always argue on this),” he said.

Trainer Freddie Roach knows what he’s doing, and the other day he said Pacquiao had worked so hard in this camp he had to give the reigning WBO welterweight champ a day off Thursday.

Pacquiao was asked about the difference between this fight, and the previous ones, the controversial draw of 2004, and the close win of 2008.

Pacquiao had floored Marquez four times in those two fights, but on both occasions he failed to finish the Mexican off as well.

Pacquiao had never gone down against Marquez but he was close to maybe a couple of times. For the fighting congressman from the Philippines, it’s a thing of the past.

“Iba kasi noon eh (It was different before),” he said.

“I was reduced at 130 pounds then. This time, I can eat all I want,” said Pacquiao, who fought Marquez at 126 lb the first time and at 130 lb the second time.

When they lock horns next week, it will be for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight crown, at a catchweight of 144 lb, which is three pounds off the limit.

Pacquiao is at home, comfortably, as a welterweight. And he’d faced, and beaten some of the great welterweights out there – Oscar dela Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.

Marquez wouldn’t have gone past any of these fighters.

Pacquiao said he plans to tip the scales just under the agreed limit, and that he’d climb the ring at around 147 or 148 pounds.

“For the weigh-in, it will depend. If I’m under the limit, maybe I would have to eat before that,” he said.

Pacquiao was asked if he’d seen Marquez recently, and how the 38-year-old Mexican had bulked up for the coming fight.

“Nagpalaki siya,” said Pacquiao, who didn’t seem bothered at all.

Why should he?

“Sanay naman tayo lumaban sa malaki (I’m used to fighting big men). Si Margarito. Si Dela Hoya. I don’t need to worry about that,” he said.

Pacquiao said he’d rather face a bigger Marquez than the smaller Marquez.

“It would be more difficult for me if he was smaller because that means he’s faster. But at this weight, he can be bigger but I will be faster than him.”

Roach said the other day Pacquiao has never been more motivated for a fight than for this one. Pacquiao agreed.

“Grabe motivation ko sa fight na ito. Kahit malapit na laban pukpuk pa rin,” he said.

Pacquiao said he’s had enough of Marquez telling the whole world he’d won both fights.

“Parang nakaka-insulto sa pagkalalaki ko (It’s an insult to my being a man),” he said.

Then he laughed, when actually he looked and sounded serious.

Weeks to work Manny-Marquez bout? By Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star Updated November 05, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - While the Nevada State Athletic Commission has not verified it, Brooklyn native Tony Weeks appears to be the choice to work the WBO welterweight title fight between champion Manny Pacquiao and challenger Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 12.

Filipino boxing referee and judge Danrex Tapdasan told The STAR yesterday he was informed by Weeks himself of the assignment during the recent WBO convention in Puerto Rico.

“The referees at the convention seemed to know about it,” said Tapdasan. “Tony confirmed the assignment to me although no formal announcement has been made. There’s still no word on whom the judges will be. The judges will probably be named just a few days before the fight.”

Weeks, 56, has worked two Pacquiao and three Marquez fights since his first assignment as a referee in a world title bout in 1996. His resume lists over 30 assignments in world championship fights all over the world, including Thailand, Korea, Japan, Germany, Poland and Australia.

While Weeks is considered one of the world’s top referees, he was criticized for his failure to step in earlier in the Jesus Chavez-Leavander Johnson fight for the IBF lightweight crown in Las Vegas in 2005. Weeks stopped it in the 11th round to prevent Johnson from absorbing more punishment. Johnson died five days later from head injuries sustained in the contest. The tragedy has left a stain in Weeks’ record.

Weeks, who sports a flat-top hair style and a mustache, grew up in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood. He went to college in Fort Scott, Kansas, then became the athletic supervisor at the federal prison in Tucson, Arizona. In 1993, he arranged a boxing exhibition for inmates and when no referee showed up, volunteered for the job. The late trainer Albert (Beto) Martinez, an Eddie Futch contemporary, was at ringside and noticed Weeks was a “natural” as a referee. After the exhibition, Martinez gave Weeks his telephone number in case he wanted to pursue a career as a referee. Weeks later called Martinez and eventually worked his way into the professional ranks.

Weeks’ first world title fight involved Filipino Miguel Arrozal who lost a 12-round decision to Eloy Rojas in a WBA featherweight championship bout in Phoenix in 1996. He has worked other title fights where Filipinos lost like Glenn Donaire who was stopped by Vic Darchinyan in an IBF/IBO flyweight title bout in 2007 and Eric Chavez who was outpointed by Rosendo Alvarez in a WBA minimumweight championship match in Sendai in 1996. Weeks was also the referee in Filipino Andy Tabanas’ draw with Thailand’s Fahlan Sakkreerin in a WBO lightflyweight title fight in Las Vegas in 2001. He was the third man in the ring when Brian Viloria defeated Mexico’s Jose Antonio Aguirre on points in a WBC lightflyweight title bout in Las Vegas in 2006.

Weeks worked Pacquiao’s win over Marco Antonio Barrera on points in 2007 and his eighth round retirement of Oscar de la Hoya in 2008. He was the referee in Marquez’ victory over Orlando Salido to retain his WBA/IBF featherweight crowns in 2004, his 11th round stoppage of Joel Casamayor in 2008 and his lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2009.

Manny as global Pinoy symbol SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star Updated November 06, 2011 12:00 AM

There’s a new backer in WBO welterweight champion and the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Manny Pacquiao’s corner. LBC Express, the largest international Filipino cargo and courier company, is joining the Pacman bandwagon in a big way with the new partnership a long time coming.

“LBC has always been there for Pacquiao through fight advertising sponsorships in the Philippines,” said senior vice president for marketing Javi Mantecon. “Now, we are again supporting Pacquiao against (Juan Manuel) Marquez but this time, LBC will be there inside the ring when they finally square off. Like LBC, Pacquiao delivers with speed.”

LBC’s logo will be prominently placed in Pacquiao’s fighting trunks when he stakes his WBO crown against the Mexican known as “Dinamita.” Mantecon will be at ringside cheering for the Filipino icon in Las Vegas on Nov. 12.

How LBC got intimately involved with Pacquiao came almost by accident. “It was during LBC’s recent staging of Ronda Pilipinas,” related LBC’s hard-working media specialist Jocel de Guzman. “We went through Vigan in our ninth leg to Baguio and Gov. Chavit (Singson) suggested why not involve the Congressman in the next Ronda with a route through General Santos City and Sarangani.” The idea came across like a lightning bolt.

Before long, Mantecon and an LBC team visited Pacquiao in his Baguio City training camp. The connection was a natural. Pacquiao was aware of LBC’s support for cycling through the revival of a nation-wide tour and even shared a little-known secret about his boyhood during his meeting with the LBC visitors.

“Congressman Manny related how as a boy selling pandesal in General Santos City, he rode a bike and felt that’s how he developed strong legs which have helped him in his boxing career,” said De Guzman. “Through Ronda Pilipinas, Congressman Manny hopes to show his support to our Filipino riders.”

* * * *

The revival of a nation-wide tour broke an absence of over 10 years. “There have been tours in Luzon but not on a national scale for a long time,” said De Guzman. “LBC couldn’t be a more fitting partner for a nation-wide cycling tour. We put up a P70 Million budget for Ronda Pilipinas and ran 12 legs in 16 days starting in Cagayan de Oro and finishing at the Luneta. We brought in 96 riders and 16 teams. We gave out P7 Million in cash prizes, including P1 Million for the top team and P1 Million for the grand champion.”

As it turned out, Eastern Pangasinan’s Santy Barnachea topped the individual category with Nueva Ecija’s Joel Calderon finishing second and 19-year-old George Oconer third. American Vinyl/LPGMA took the team honors with 7-11 at second and Tarlac at third.

De Guzman said LBC gave its all-out support to the grand revival. Martin Bruin, a former Tour de France chief referee, reprised the role for Ronda Pilipinas as LBC delivered a strong message that it was a no-nonsense tour. De Guzman noted that American triathlete Chris Allison, an American, has been tapped to assemble a team of young and promising riders led by Oconer for exposure in overseas tours as a major step in raising the Filipinos’ level of competitiveness.

In Baguio, the LBC team filmed interviews with Pacquiao, Freddie Roach, Buboy Fernandez, Alex Ariza and training team discovery Marlon (Tyson) Somodio.

* * * *

“We shot over an hour of footage, showing Congressman Manny in training, playing basketball and talking about his coming fight,” said De Guzman. “Congressman Manny mentioned that while he’s got nothing to prove against Marquez, he’s out to win convincingly because this is personal. Buboy spoke about an incident where he had to send a package from General Santos City to Los Angeles within two days some years ago and LBC did it for him. The package was addressed to Bob Arum.”

Fernandez was shown on TV wearing an LBC cap at ringside during Pacquiao sparmate Jorge Linares’ recent fight against Antonio de Marco at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Is he in line for an endorsement contract? A source said it wouldn’t be far-fetched.

De Guzman said LBC is producing 12 one-minute episodes for internet viewing to establish its support of Team Pacquiao. The first two episodes are now accessible.

“Congressman Manny represents the global Filipino which LBC has been serving for 61 years now,” said De Guzman. “Buboy represents the homeland Filipino and that’s why the relationship is so appropriate and real.”

To extend its support further, LBC is sponsoring free live airing of the Pacquiao-Marquez fight in selected stadiums and theaters in 10 sites all over the country for customers, affiliates and partners. The sponsorship will dovetail LBC’s promotion of its virtual pre-paid “send and swipe” credit card, the LBC Remit Express which enables the owner to receive deposits and pay bills using the same plastic. Owners may use the card to take out cash from ATM machines or purchase goods or services without transmitting actual cash.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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