No Weight Issues For Manny Pacquiao

By Matthew Hurley: According to trainer Freddie Roach the issues surrounding Manny Pacquiao’s weight have been grossly exaggerated. After his last bout against Marco Antonio Barrera back in October some red flags popped up concerning not only Manny’s weight but, perhaps, his dedication. There were minor problems with the scales for the Barrera rematch, which he won via unanimous decision, and his training regime was not quite as rigorous as Roach would have liked. In the aftermath of that victory Pacquiao went on sabbatical, spending time with his family, filming a movie, fulfilling contractual obligations for endorsement deals and packing on some pounds. He then hinted at a move up to the 135 pound limit for his next fight. It was then that his trainer and his promoter Bob Arum reeled him in.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday Arum sat down with Pacquiao and they ironed out his obligations for 2008 and it all begins with WBC super featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez. The two fought to a spirited draw back in 2004. The rematch with Marquez has reinvigorated the Filipino fighter and, at Roach’s insistence, Pacquiao agreed to commit himself to an extended training camp at the Wild Card Gym in California. Where he seemed somewhat spent making the 130 pound limit against Barrera he is now right on target for next Friday’s weigh in.

At the last official weigh in for the long anticipated fight, which was conducted by the WBC, Manny tipped the scales at 139 pounds while Marquez came in at a surprisingly light 132 pounds. According to Roach, as of last week Manny was hovering around 135 pounds and would have no problems reducing down to 130 by the time of the last official weigh in.

Reports from Roach’s Wild Card Gym indicate that Pacquiao is in a similar mindset that he locked himself in for his second and third fights against Erik Morales, both of which he won by knockout. At a recent press conference Pacquiao acknowledged that Marquez represents a huge stumbling block on his way up to the 135 pound division.

“Here we go again,” he said, smiling. “I thought it was over when I knocked him down three times in the first round (of their first bout). I was surprised he was still standing and fought all twelve rounds. That’s why I don’t want to take this fight easy. That’s why I want to prepare hard. It is not about the belt, it is about the honor of my country. I have a lot of respect for Juan Manuel Marquez and his professional accomplishments.”

The undercard for Marquez – Pacquiao II will include possible future Pacquiao opponent WBC lightweight champion David Diaz, 33-1-1 with 17 KOs going up against Roman Montano, 14-3-2 in a scheduled 10-round non-title bout.

WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano, 34-1 with 15 KOs will defend his title for the second time against mandatory challenger Terdsak Jandaeng, 29-2 with 19 KOs.

NABO bantamweight champion Abner Mares, 15-0 with 9 KOs will defend his belt against Diosdado Gabi, 30-3-1 with 21 KOs.

Marquez – Pacquiao II ‘Unfinished Business’ will take place on March 15th at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT.

Article posted on 04.03.2008

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