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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Pacquiao respects Mosley amid intense buildup

Posted: 04 May 2011 07:32 PM PDT

Pacquiao speaks during a news conference at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas yesterday, May 4, 2011. — Reuters pic

LAS VEGAS, May 5 — Manny Pacquiao has been installed as an odds-on favourite for his WBO welterweight title defence against Shane Mosley but the Filipino has taken great pains not to underestimate his American challenger.

While Pacquiao is already acknowledged as one of the best offensive fighters of all time, he said yesterday he had not prepared for a fight in such intense fashion since he took on 10-times world champion Oscar De La Hoya three years ago.

"I have trained hard for this fight," Pacquiao, who has a career record of 52-3-2 with 38 knockouts, told a packed news conference at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theater. "I am in 100 per cent condition. You know why?

"Because I never underestimate Mosley. Mosley is a good fighter. Do you think he's old? He's not old. He moves like a 32-year-old, a 31-year-old. His hand speed and foot speed is still strong."

Mosley, a four-times world champion in three weight divisions, is a boxing veteran at 39 and many critics believe he is a shadow of the man who twice beat De La Hoya.

Yet it has often been said that styles make fights and Pacquiao knows full well that his American opponent, an agile and highly intelligent boxer, loves to attack.

"Mosley is not that easy (an) opponent," the 32-year-old Filipino, who was smartly dressed in a black suit and white dress shirt, said of their showdown on Saturday.

"He is a good fighter. He is strong, he throws a lot of punches and he moves fast. He is the kind of fighter you can't under-estimate."

Asked by reporters when he had last felt a similar level of concern preparing for a bout, Pacquiao replied: "The De La Hoya fight. De La Hoya throws a lot of punches, moves fast and is bigger and taller."

Pacquiao, moving up two weight classes for his first fight at welterweight, stunned De La Hoya with an eighth-round TKO in their non-title fight in Las Vegas in December 2008.

That victory confirmed the Filipino's pedigree and he has since won a further four fights, most recently an eighth world title in an unprecedented eighth weight class against Mexican Antonio Margarito in November.

Last week, Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach said his fighter had never prepared better for a bout, and he emphasised the point during yesterday's news conference.

"We know we're in a tough fight," the bespectacled Roach said. "We respect Shane and his camp. They have a great team.

"But we are 100 per cent ready. Everybody has worked really hard at this training camp. I think it's the best training camp we've ever had and Manny is in the best shape ever.

"We need to peak for this fight because Shane's one of the most crafty guys out there. He's intelligent and experienced and you can't replace experience, that's for sure."

Mosley, who has not competed in the ring since his draw with Sergio Mora in September, predicted an all-action contest at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.

"This is going to be a terrific fight, a great fight," said the American, who is 46-6-1 with 39 KOs. "We're both warriors, we both love to fight and we're both winners.

"And when you get two winners in there, you know it's going to be a heck of a fight. So I'm excited. I'm ready. It's going to be a blockbuster ... and I'm happy to be a part of this."

Pacquiao, like Mosley, is no lover of the trash talking that so often dominates the buildup to professional fights and he had a special message for those attending yesterday's news conference.

"All of my life, I have had to fight," said the Filipino, who rose from poverty in his homeland to become a beloved sportsman and win a seat in his national congress. "As a child, I had to fight just to eat.

"The biggest fight of my life is not in boxing. No, the biggest fight in my life is how to end poverty in my country and this Saturday, I will wear yellow gloves (in the ring) as a symbol of unity and poverty." — Reuters

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Home sweet home may be the difference for Man United

Posted: 04 May 2011 07:06 PM PDT

LONDON, May 5 — Manchester United will bank on their extraordinary home record to see off the late title challenge from a rejuvenated Chelsea as the Londoners seek victory on Sunday to set up a nail-biting Premier League finale.

With three games remaining United have 73 points to Chelsea's 70 and both teams have a goal difference of +38.

Arsenal, still with a slim title chance, have 67 points while Manchester City, with a game in hand, occupy the final Champions League qualifying slot on 62.

United's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal last week, combined with Chelsea's last-gasp 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, ensures that Sunday's Old Trafford clash will be a showdown worthy of its "Super Sunday" TV billing.

Champions Chelsea scored a 2-1 win at United at a similar stage of the season last year but Alex Ferguson (picture) said his side would be fresher this time.

"The problem for us last year was emotional tiredness," the United manager told Sky Sports after yesterday's 4-1 win over Schalke 04 booked a Champions League final showdown with Barcelona at Wembley later this month.

"This time we are fresh, we are in the final at Wembley and we are going to go for it on Sunday." United have been formidable at home in the league, dropping only two points at Old Trafford all season.

"Every time they win the title they win it at Old Trafford," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "We are comparable away from home but they get the points at home."

Ferguson's vast experience at dealing with a welter of big games at the end of the season gave him the confidence to make nine changes from the team beaten by Arsenal for the game against Schalke.

United will be back to full strength against Chelsea, assuming England striker Wayne Rooney overcomes the tight hamstring that ruled him out of contention yesterday.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti deserves huge credit for the way he has hauled his team back into title contention after a mid-season slump.

The Londoners, in March, were down in fifth place and 15 points off the pace with a game in hand on United.

However, Chelsea's 2-1 home victory over the leaders began the process of chipping away at the deficit and now they know another win would offer a glorious chance of retaining their title and completing one of the most unlikely comebacks for many a year.

A draw would suit United, who finish the season with a game at Blackburn Rovers and a home match with relegation-haunted Blackpool.

Chelsea end the campaign with a home match against Newcastle United and an awkward last-day trip to Everton.

Arsenal are also in action on Sunday, at Stoke City who have followed up the run to their first appearance in an FA Cup final by taking five points from their last three league games to climb to mid-table and ensure survival.

Manchester City visit Everton on Saturday where a win would secure fourth place if Tottenham lose at home to Blackpool in the evening game.

Spurs's poor recent run has seen them slip to sixth place on 55 points. Liverpool are above them on goal difference having played a game more and will bid to continue their impressive run at Fulham on Monday night. — Reuters

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