Pacquiao Will Remain At Super Featherweight

manny pacquiao12.10.07 - By Matthew Hurley: At the post fight press conference for Marco Antonio Barrera – Manny Pacquiao, Barrera maintained a level of dignity throughout the proceedings but couldn’t resist getting in a dig at his two time conqueror when he invited WBA super featherweight champion Edwin Valero onto the dais. When asked by a reporter if he thought anyone could beat Pacquiao, Barrera gestured over his shoulder and said loudly, “Valero."

Despite what appeared to be a genuine respect between Barrera and Pacquiao make no mistake, deep down Barrera will forever resent Pacquiao and while his hyping of Valero may in the end help make that intriguing match up possible it was a rather classless thing to do particularly after Pacquiao praised Barrera to the hilt; this despite Barrera’s rather lackluster showing. Pacquiao, who always seems to exude a genuine positive attitude and a healthy respect for his opponents, later remarked that he didn’t appreciate Barrera’s comments, but he said that with that ever-present grin on his face. It’s interesting to contrast Barrera’s sometimes-dirty ring tactics and unwillingness to give his opponents credit with his more emotional nemesis Erik Morales. The temperaments of both fighters mirror their fighting style. Barrera became more tactical as his career progressed while Erik wore his heart on his sleeve and thought of the fans first, even if it got him into to trouble in the ring. So it comes as little surprise that not only did Erik acknowledge Manny’s superiority at the end of their trilogy but even made several comical beer commercials with him.

But the issue ultimately comes down to what Pacquiao will do in 2008. According to his trainer Freddie Roach quite a lot is planned. The first thing that trainer and fighter decided on was that the “Pac Man” will remain at 130 pounds. The decision represents both common sense and monetary gain. There are several good fights to be made in the super featherweight division and all of them will bring Pacquiao substantial paydays. As for jumping up to the lightweight division there is a latent fear that it just might be one division too high. Remember, Pacquiao started his career as a flyweight. Pacquiao may sacrifice power and some speed if he attempts another weight jump.

There is also pride at stake. Again, Pacquiao didn’t take kindly to Barrera’s remarks. It’s also interesting to not that both Morales and Barrera used Valero as a sparing partner – Morales before his first fight with Pacquiao and Barrera for their rematch.

“I felt challenged by Barrera’s statement that Valero can beat me. So I’ve decided to stay here for the moment and take the challenge,” he said.

Roach added, “There are a lot of big fights at 130. There’s the winner of the Juan Manuel Marquez and Rocky Juarez fight and the winner of Humberto Soto and Joan Guzman fight.”

In the end the news is good because it will provide several compelling match ups for arguably the most exciting fighter in the sport. The plan is also to fight three times in 2008, which is even better.

Article posted on 12.10.2007

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