Pacman seeks to extend legacy


DALLAS, November 12- Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao hopes to extend his legacy as he goes for his eighth belt in as many weight classes when he and Antonio Margarito clash in a world title fight Saturday.

Pacquiao, who will step into the ring Saturday against the biggest man he has ever fought, is hoping his second fight at Cowboys Stadium goes better than the first.

Pacquiao’s first fight in Dallas in front of a crowd of over 50,000 eight months ago turned out to be a letdown because Joshua Clottey went into a defensive shell, refusing to thrown any punches.

Pacquiao says that won’t happen this time when he and Mexico’s Margarito battle for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super welterweight title.

The Filipino superstar will be going for his eighth title in his eighth different weight class and his 12th consecutive victory since losing to Erik Morales in March 2005.

"For sure there will be a lot of boxing because of his (Margarito’s) style," Pacquiao said. "That’s what I want.

"Margarito can give a good fight because he has an aggressive style and he throws a lot of punches. I believe it will be a great fight."

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach at one time described their training camp as the worst ever but with the fight now just days away, Pacquiao says there are no more distractions and he is completely focused.

"There is no problem in our training camp," Pacquiao said. "The first two weeks we had a problem because I was trying to gain weight but the problem is I can’t move when I am that heavy. So I decided to maintain 148 pounds."

The super welterweight title is usually challenged for at 154 pounds but the two fighters have mutually agreed to contest the title at a "catch weight" of 150 pounds.

Pacquiao, a southpaw, expects to enter the ring at 148 pounds and while the much bigger Margarito could come in as much as 10 to 12 pounds heavier on the night of the fight. Margarito already has a four-inch height advantage and a six-inch reach advantage.

Pacquiao’s last fight was a 12-round decision over Clottey for the WBO 147-pound title. Pacquiao expects to be just slightly heavier against Margarito than he was for Clottey, whose goal was simply to survive all 12 rounds without getting knocked out.

"I try to gain weight for this fight but I look terrible," Pacquiao said. "I can’t move at that weight and my speed is not there. My regular training weight is 142 pounds. I tried to gain weight to 147, 150 and 154 to get big but my speed is gone."

Pacquiao’s game plan will be to capitalize on his quickness around the ring and superior hand speed.

He and Roach train for each fight by getting sparring partners who model their opponent’s style. But Pacquiao’s genius is in figuring out his opponent’s weaknesses in the first few rounds then using that to break down their defence before going for the knockout.

"Margarito is a volume puncher," said Roach. "As long as you stand in front of him he will throw six- and eight-punch combinations. He is not like Clottey at all. He will fight. This will not be a Clottey rerun because (Margarito) will try to win."

Margarito will likely try to use his reach advantage to tire Pacquiao out with the jab and then go for the kill with a big right hand.

"The time is here and there are no excuses," Margarito says. "There will be a new Mexican champion on the 13th."

Roach says they know what Margarito’s weaknesses are.

"I studied Margarito’s fights," he says. "He is not that good. He punches like a girl."

Margarito still carries the stigma of the hand-wrap scandal that netted him a one year suspension ban from boxing and that was before he was labelled a pariah this week for the way he and his camp members mocked Roach, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.

He will step into the ring for the first time in the USA since he was caught using illegal gloves against Shane Mosely and he hopes to atone for his sins with a win over Pacquiao.

"Antonio is ready," said manager Sergio Diaz. "He has been taking a lot of stones being thrown by everyone and everywhere."

Promoter Bob Arum said he expects the crowd to exceed the 51,000 that witnessed Pacquiao’s last fight at Cowboys Stadium and sell over one million pay-per-view purchases in 137 countries.