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Pacquiao launches traditional weight loss contest before big fight

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Manny Pacquiao AFP FILE PHOTO

LOS ANGELES—World eight-division boxing champ Manny Pacquiao has launched a weight-loss contest among female family members of the Team Pacquiao with the “biggest loser” standing to pocket nearly P450,000 ($1=P44.98).

Pacquiao said the two-week weight-loss contest, which started Sunday and would go on up to April 6, was not just meant to encourage health and fitness among female team members but also for them to appreciate the “hard work and hardship of attaining the weight limit for a boxer.”

It was not immediately known how many female members of the team were overweight but as of Tuesday, the number of contestants has already reached 30.

Pacquiao said those who would lose 10 percent of their pre-contest weight would go home richer.

Those who would only achieve an eight-percent weight loss would be getting $3,000 each, he said.

Clement Asencio, a member of Team Pacquiao, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that to be able to get cash, the participants would have to shed off not less than eight percent of their total body weight.

“The final weigh-in will be held on April 6 to determine the winners,” Asencio said.

But he said Pacquiao made it clear that only one female team Pacquiao member would get the top prize of $10,000.

“Only one biggest weight loser will bring home the $10,000 prize,” he said. It was unclear yet how a winner would be picked if several contestants were able to lose 10 percent of their weight.

“(But) others, who would succeed in reducing by eight percent their total body weight, would pocket $3,000 each,” Asencio said.

In 2008, the weight-loss contest included male members of Team Pacquiao with assistant coach and trainer Buboy Fernandez emerging the winner.

“This time, male members of Team Pacquiao were excluded because each of us has an assigned task while Congressman Pacquiao is training for his fight. If we ourselves are participants to the contest it would affect our work considering that we have to skip meals, do the roadwork, etc. just to lose weight,” Fernandez said.

But male Team Pacquiao members need not be envious though because Pacquiao has planned a basketball tournament for the men, Fernandez said.

Already, he said that the Team Pacquiao was divided into several teams for the basketball tournament, in which, big prizes would also be up for grabs.

Aside from being pugilist, Pacquiao is also a basketball buff and a billiards enthusiast.

He also raises fighting cocks in his sprawling farms in Sarangani.

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