Pacquiao hype about to begin

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — MANNY Pacquiao leaves for the U.S. next week to begin training and take part in a seven-city promotional tour hyping his upcoming mega fight with Oscar dela Hoya.

If plans go according to schedule, the country’s boxing pride departs on September 14 as he prepares for an extensive campaign tour to drum up interest in the December 6 fight many considers as the biggest boxing event in years.

Earlier, Top Rank head Bob Arum announced the publicity stunt for the $100 million bout kicks off at the famed Statue of Liberty in New York on October 1.

The group will then make stopovers in key cities around America including San Antonio and Houston in Texas, San Francisco and Los Angeles in California, Las Vegas in Nevada and a still to be named major U.S. city.

Dela Hoya and his outfit Golden Boy Promotions, which co-promotes the fight with Top Rank, are also going to do their share promoting the showdown.

“This is going to be a global event because Pacquiao is the Asian standard bearer, while dela Hoya is of Mexican descent from the United States. People all over the world are going to be talking about this fight and that’s what makes it as big as it is,” Arum declared.

In his two previous fights this year against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez and American David Diaz, Pacquiao also did promotional campaigns around major U.S. cities to hype up the showdown.

The result was a resounding success, including a new pay-per-view record in the lower-weight class division when the Filipino scored a razor-thin split decision over Marquez last March in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, sources within the Pacquiao camp said the 29-year old three-time world champion is likely to stay in the U.S. all the way until the day of the fight.

The reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title holder has already began some light cross training in General Santos City, according to the source, quoting top Arum associate Michael Konz, who was around when Pacquiao’s newly-constructed commercial building in the province was inaugurated yesterday.

Upon his arrival in the U.S, the Filipino southpaw is expected to sustain his light workouts by running early in the morning daily and doing some light gym training to stay in shape.

Training proper begins come October at the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles.

Easily the biggest fight in his 15-year career bound for the Hall of Fame, Pacquiao is moving up two weight classes from the 135-pound rank to battle the man considered as the biggest draw in boxing today.

The sport’s current pound-for-pound king is fighting his first bout as a welterweight after both parties agreed to do the highly-anticipated showdown at a catch weight of 147 pounds.

Talking in a different light now, dela Hoya, 35, admitted going down from middleweight to welterweight will be a big struggle for him.

“The fact is yes, I’m older and I have to come down in weight to 147, which is going to be a struggle and is going to benefit him (Pacquiao),” dela Hoya said in an interview that came out in the Houston Chronicle.

Boxing’s Golden Boy earlier maintained fighting at the welterweight class won’t be a problem to him since his natural weight hovers around 147 to 150 pounds.

Dela Hoya last fought in the same division in 2001 when he scored a fifth round knockout of Arturo Gati.

“Manny is very complicated, he’s awkward,” added the 1992 Barcelona Olympic gold medalist and six-time world champion. “He’s very explosive with both hands and very fast.”