Pacquiao ready to face De la Hoya

MANILA - Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao yesterday said he was focused and ready for this weekend's "dream match" with American Oscar de la Hoya.

MANILA - Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao yesterday said he was focused and ready for this weekend's "dream match" with American Oscar de la Hoya.

Pacquiao, the World Boxing Council lightweight champion who is acknowledged by many experts as the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, said he was "ready and excited" going into tomorrow's fight, billed by promoters as the "dream match" against the much bigger De la Hoya.

"I am prepared for the Saturday fight. This will be a good fight," Pacquiao told local radio from Las Vegas on the eve of today's official weigh-in.

"I am focused on the fight. I am ready, I am excited," he said, adding that he was counting on his legion of fans back home to pray for him.

Pacquiao is a superstar in the boxing-crazy Philippines, where practically everything grinds to a halt during live broadcasts of his fights.

The "dream match" is expected to generate a purse of $100 million (about R1,02billion) to be divided between the two fighters, with De la Hoya taking in the lion's share at 60 percent.

The non-title bout is to be fought at the 66,7kg welterweight limit, the first in this category for Pacquiao, who has won four world titles at four lower weight divisions.

With a 47-3 record, with two drawn and 35 knockouts, Pacquiao is the first Asian to hold belts in four different weight classes.

De la Hoya, who has won world titles in six different weight classes, meanwhile has not fought at 66,7kg in seven years. - Sapa-AFP

X