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SAYS FREDDIE ROACH
Pacquiao will lord over light welters

By Francis Ochoa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:31:00 11/19/2008

Filed Under: Pacquiao, Boxing

MANILA, Philippines?If Freddie Roach has his way, the world better roll the red carpet out for the next undisputed light welterweight champion of the world.

And Manny Pacquiao believes that when he?s done with Oscar De La Hoya in their ?Dream Match? on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas, nobody in boxing will bother asking who exactly Roach is referring to.

?This is my (chance) that the name Manny Pacquiao will be known not only in the Philippines, but in all boxing,? the iconic Filipino jaw-buster told reporters during a media day at the Wild Card gym Monday in Los Angeles.

?This is the biggest fight in my boxing career.?

Roach, meanwhile, told Manila reporters via a conference call in Tuesday?s PSA Forum at Shakey?s UN Avenue branch that he doesn?t see Pacquiao sliding back to lightweight to defend the WBC title he won via a slam-bang ninth-round destruction of David Diaz.

The trainer believes the Pacman can gobble up bigger foes at the light welterweight class.

?I think 140 is his (new) fighting weight and 140 is the most realistic weight,? Roach told PSA members.

Roach pronouncement sets Pacquiao up for the possibility of claiming a crown at a fifth weight class. Pacquiao is currently the only Asian to win world titles in four different weight divisions.

?Soon after [Pacquiao beats De La Hoya], Manny will become the [light] welterweight champion of the world,? Roach said.

In the meantime, Team Pacquiao is focused at the task at hand; without doubt the Gen. Santos City native?s biggest mission?literally?in his career.

While De La Hoya has said in the past that he is a natural welterweight, Pacquiao will be debuting in the 147-lbs mark for the first time. The Pacman started his career at 106 lbs.

Pacquiao is currently at 151 lbs while De La Hoya is down to 145.

The 29-year-old Pacquiao will give away four inches in height to the 5-foot-10 De La Hoya. The Golden Boy?s reach is measured at 73 inches, five inches longer than Pacquiao, making it a safe bet for him to utilize his jab a lot during the fight.

But Roach said Pacquiao (47-3-2, 36 KOs), who is known for his ability to apply pressure from start to finish, will easily wear down the 35-year-old De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs).

?You look at the history of boxing when the older guy fights the younger guy, like when (Muhammad) Ali fought (Larry) Holmes or when Joe Louis got beaten by Rocky Marciano,? Roach told Reuters. ?I don?t think Oscar will be able to keep up and I think we will knock him out in the late rounds.?



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