[PHOTO - ALL SET: Pound-for-pound king and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao (right) acknowledges his cheering fans who flocked to the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Pacquiao is all set to defend his WBO welterweight title against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez, their third boxing match, on Saturday, November 12, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Sunday, 10 am, Manila time). (AP Photo)]


LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Moments after escaping the maddening crowd that welcomed him Tuesday, boxing icon and Sarangani Representative Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao dissected his upcoming third fight with Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez, and shared his thoughts about a potential super fight with Floyd Mayweather.

But Pacquiao offered little hope of a fight with Mayweather, saying he is not losing sleep over efforts that have failed to arrange a fight with him as he is secured with his place in boxing history.

Facing select members of the print media at the VIP Lounge of the MGM Grand here, Pacquiao said he doesn’t worry about Marquez’s speed and punching power, saying he can cope with them.

But the one thing that worries Pacquiao remains Marquez’ marvelous counter-punching, a trait that has made this weekend’s rubber match very appealing among pundits.

“Speed is not a problem, power too. Just his counter-punching,” said Pacquiao, a huge 9-1 favorite to beat up Marquez and retain his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown before an expected capacity crowd of more than 16,000.

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank blames Mayweather’s people for the inability to make a deal but reports have it that talks with the other group should commence after this week’s event.

Pacquiao offered no extra hope to fans that he will fight Mayweather next year, but his trainer says the long-awaited showdown might be the only challenge left for the Filipino icon.

“What I’ve done, I’m happy (with),” Pacquiao said Tuesday.

“Whatever fight my promoter gives me, I’ll take it and fight hard,"" he added.

Unbeaten Mayweather, Pacquiao’s main rival as the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter, has not made a deal to fight the Asian southpaw even though such a bout figures to bring about $50 million for each fighter – if it ever happens.

“I think that fight has to happen,” said Freddie Roach. “It needs to happen because it’s the only challenge out there (for Pacquiao). I don’t see any other challengers,” he said.

Even so, Pacquiao’s camp made it clear that Mayweather’s hand-picking a date and site for his next fight and then offering to fight “Pacman” is unacceptable.

“I’m kind of tired of Floyd,” Roach said. “Shut up and fight or not. We’ll fight him any day of the week. Who is he to make the rules?”

“If that fight doesn’t happen, I’m not going to cry,” he stressed.

Told about the fact that Marquez is already 38 years old, considered ancient in a young man’s sport like boxing, Pacquiao, 32, brushed it off, saying “it’s not a factor” believing that his rival is a fine physical specimen.

Knowing that Marquez is still a livewire opponent despite the overwhelming odds, Pacquiao said he has actually gotten better since their last meeting in March 2008.

“I have improved and had learned more techniques and gained more experience since three or four years ago,” he said.

Marquez will only be fighting for the second time in his stellar 18-year career as a welterweight, and part of his build-up was to bulk up by tapping the expertise of a nutritionist and a conditioning coach, the first time he has employed these kinds of services.

Pacquiao, however, is not alarmed, saying the bigger Marquez gets, the better for him.

“Bigger target,” said Pacquiao, chuckling.

Pacquiao is passionate after Marquez has claimed he truly won their prior fights.

“He disrespected me. The most important thing to me is respect,” Pacquiao said. “I’m not mad at him. I’m not mad at anybody. It’s about what I need to prove.”

Pacquiao wants to silence Marquez once and for all. (With a report from AFP)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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