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Оскар Де Ла Оя срещу Мани Пакюао - 6 декември 2008

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Pacquiao: "I believe I can beat him in the way I beat Diaz."

After weeks of speculation, rumors, monetary negotiation fall outs, and notable one-liners from trainers and boxers, it is now official.

Oscar De La Hoya will fight Manny Pacquiao on December 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a 12 round, non-title match.

The fight will be at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds and the pair will fight using

8 oz. gloves, as stipulated by the Pacquiao camp.

Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank held a teleconference with members of the media to announce the fight, now signed and set to round out the 2008 boxing season.

"I've thought about fighting Pacquiao for months," said De La Hoya, in the teleconference that included all the major players of the fight, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaeffer, Top Rank head Bob Arum, DLH and Pacquiao.

De La Hoya was evasive in stating that this will be his last fight.

When questioned of first signaling this will be his farewell to the sport, then today leaving the door open and not proclaiming retirement, DLH said, "My foot got caught in the door."

"I don't want (my retirement) to be the focus of this fight. I'm not going to mention it."

The proclamation of this super fight ended months of speculation and a list of possible opponents for DLH that included Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto, Paul Williams, and Sergio Mora .

De La Hoya finally picked Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao, and "The Pacman" couldn't be happier.

Speaking to the media from his native Philippines at 2:30 a.m., Pacquiao said, "This is my greatest challenge. When I take that walk to the ring to fight Oscar, I will carry all the people of the Philippines- the entire country- on my shoulders. I promise I will fight with all of my heart and that I will give everything I have. Like my trainer Freddie Roach says, I have what it takes to win the biggest fight of my life."

De La Hoya was questioned as to if he thinks his size advantage, (DLH is 5' 10 ½" with a 73" reach advantage, while Pacquiao is 5'6 ½" with a 67" reach) will be able to neutralize Pacquiao's speed, the only viable advantage the current WBC Lightweight champion holds.

"Speed will be tricky. I have to find a way to increase my speed. I'll also have to work on 'pulling the trigger', like Freddie Roach said."

Pacquiao's trainer, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, has said recently that "this isn't the DLH of ten years ago," and DLH had a hard time "pulling the trigger" in his last fight with Floyd Mayweather Cinco De Mayo weekend in 2007.

Top Rank's Bob Arum, who promoted DLH in the early 1990's, will co-promote the event alongside Golden Boy Promotions.

"This fight has worldwide complications. The fight will be talked about all around the world."

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaeffer held the same sentiments, and also addressed the size differential and signing of the fight.

"This was the only (proposed) fight that got people talking." "One is bigger, but older. One is younger, and faster."

The last issue ironed out by both sides before the signing of the fight was the purse spilt.

DLH initially proposed a 70-30 spilt.

Pacquiao vehemently declined, to which De La Hoya counter-offered a 67-33 split.

It is not known the figure on which they both agreed to, as both camps declined to discuss the agreed amount.

Nevertheless, both camps are elated that the fight was finally signed, and now look forward to December.

"Manny Pacquiao is considered the best fighter in boxing today and I always want to fight the best," said DLH. "I am glad we were able to make this fight happen because while Pacquiao is at the pinnacle of his success and has defeated all of the top fighters he has faced, I am going to show the world that it stops with me. December 6 couldn't come soon enough."

[Ed. Note: Oscar De La Hoya has opened up as a close 8-5 betting favorite: De La Hoya -155 / Pacquiao +135]

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