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Ex-champ unsure of outcome

MANILA, Philippines -  Former IBF flyweight champion Rolando Bohol said the other day he couldn’t predict if Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather will win in their May 2 showdown as the outcome will depend on the boxing style that dominates the scheduled 12-round bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

But Bohol guaranteed the fight will be one for the books. “In my humble opinion, the contrast of styles between the two champions will dictate the outcome of the fight,” he said in a text message from Las Vegas. “Manny will probably have to knock out Floyd to win. If not, it will go to the scorecards and the decision could favor Mayweather. My feeling about this fight is like everybody else. It’s about time. The training and strategy between these two great champions with unquestionable achievements will be second to none. My attitude is to enjoy the fight and may the better man win.”

Bohol said as much as possible, he’d rather stay out of the boxing limelight and focus on his work in a Las Vegas hotel. “I don’t want to get involved in boxing anymore,” said the Negros Occidental native who migrated to the US in 1994 and initially settled in Honolulu before moving to Las Vegas. “All I can say is good luck, Manny.”

Bohol, 49, finished up to second year of a Business Management course at FEU then embarked on an amateur boxing career that led to a gold medal in the National Open and a silver at the Palarong Pambansa. He turned pro in 1984 and four years later, won the IBF flyweight title. Bohol lost the crown to Duke McKenzie on an 11th round knockout in his second defense in London. Bohol closed out his career on a losing note, suffering knockouts to Orlando Canizales in an IBF bantamweight title bout and Johnny Tapia in 1994. His final record was 34-15-3, with 7 KOs. As a pro, Bohol traveled around the world, fighting in Japan, South Korea, Colombia, England, Thailand and Hawaii, Massachusetts, Texas and New Mexico in the US.

Bohol said he’s excited to get together with Filipinos who’ll be in Las Vegas for the big fight. He has already booked hotel rooms for promoter Bebot Elorde and his family. A huge delegation of Filipinos is expected to witness what is being called the Fight of the Century. Pacquiao, 36, and Mayweather, who turns 38 today, will unify the WBO, WBA and WBC welterweight titles. The winner will be recognized as The Ring Magazine’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. At the moment, Mayweather is ranked No. 1 in the pound-for-pound ladder, heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko No. 2 and Pacquiao No. 3.

Boxing promoter and manager Johnny Elorde said Pacquiao will win by decision in a close fight. “It will be Manny’s finest moment,” he added. “There will be a rematch.” International matchmaker Lope Sarreal, Jr. also chose Pacquiao to win in a tight contest. “Floyd is good in his defenses but scared of Manny’s punches and of Manny being a southpaw,” said Sarreal. “Definitely, there will be a second and maybe, a third fight. Manny should not fight the way Floyd wants him to fight. Magaling si Floyd sa in-fighting, sobrang gulang.”

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ALA Boxing trainer and former two-time world title challenger Edito Villamor said it’s 50-50. “They’re both great boxers,” he said. “The one who makes a mistake loses the fight. A rematch will depend on if the fight on May 2 is close and exciting.”

The fight should’ve happened as early as March 13, 2010. But negotiations broke off for one reason or another. Now, five years later, the fighters realize they owe it to the sport and the public to give the fans what they want----the ultimate duel between the undefeated Mayweather and the only man in history to capture eight world titles in different divisions.

Mayweather has set the rules, conditions and parameters of the fight. Pacquiao gave in to everything he wanted – a 60-40 split to favor Mayweather, no restrictions on choice of gloves and drug-testing supervised by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Mayweather’s take could reach up to $120 Million while Pacquiao’s share may go over $80 Million. It will be the biggest paycheck for both fighters.

“Should it have happened four or five years ago?,” wondered Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Yes, maybe. But better late than never.” Oscar de la Hoya, who fought and lost to both Mayweather and Pacquiao, said it’s a fight that was destined to happen. “I’m a boxing fan first,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s taking five, six or seven years to make. I would love to see it because it’s the very best going in against the very best. It’s a dangerous fight for both guys.”

 

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