PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — WIN or lose in his December 6 fight with Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao appears no longer keen of returning back in the lightweight division and defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) 135-pound title.
With his 12-round showdown against De La Hoya set at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, the Filipino southpaw admitted that he has to shed off the excess 12 pounds if and when he decides to campaign again in the junior welterweight class.
And for Pacquiao that would mean going through the same agonizing stage when he tries to lose weight while campaigning as a super-featherweight (130 pounds) during his fights with Eric Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Medyo mag-reduce kasi ako sa 135 pounds e. Kaya pag-iisipan ko muna,” said the 29-year old four-time world champion when asked of his plan after the De La Hoya fight.
In his last outing five months ago, Pacquiao didn’t concern himself with issues pertaining his weight, easily tipping the 135-pound limit and resulting in a ninth round destruction of American David Diaz to wrest the WBC lightweight belt.
Going up two weight classes won’t be a problem either.
With a month to go before taking on the former Barcelona Olympic gold medalist, Pacquiao’s weight ranges from 150-152. He said his team plan to maintain it until about two or three weeks before the fight when he slowly reduces to 149-148 and then come at exactly 147 on the day of the weigh-in.
“Sa ngayon ganoon pa rin ang pagkain ko, mostly Filipino foods. Kain lang muna ng kain para ma-maintain natin `yung timbang,” he said. “Siguro kalagitnaan ng buwan (November), tsaka tayo mag-start magbawas sa timbang.”
Former Pacquiao assistant trainer Justine Fortune admitted Pacquiao taking on the bigger and more experienced De La Hoya is sort of a mismatch, while invading the welterweight rank would not be good for him either, where the big boys such as Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, among others, currently reign.
But Fortune believes Pacquiao is best fitted as a lightweight or junior welterweight (140 pounds) where his speed and power ‘destroys people.’
A potential opponent for him at the 140-pound class is former champion Ricky Hatton of Britain and possibly, Marquez, if and when the Mexican great decides to go one weight class up to pursue another mega-buck fight with the Pacman.
Although he won and drew with Marquez in their first two meetings, Pacquiao said he’s not discounting taking on again the great counter puncher from Mexico.
“Alam mo si Marquez di naman natin iniiwasan. Kung si De La Hoya nga kakalabanin ko e,” said the Filipino ring icon. “Pero siyempre depende rin `yun sa promoter. If the price is right. E ako naman boksingero lang. Ang hanap ko talaga ay laban.”