July 12, 2006
It's official. Three-division world champions Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao and Erik "El Terrible" Morales will get it on for the third time to determine who really is the best man inside the ring. Pacquiao and Morales each own a victory over the other in their two previous fights – both considered "Fight of the Year" candidates -- which have attracted over 700,000 pay-per-view buys combined. The announcement was made today by Bob Arum, chairman of Top Rank and Shelly Finkel, Pacquiao's manager. Promoted by Top Rank, Pacquiao-Morales III will be a 12-round super featherweight bout, taking place Saturday, November 18, and televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV.
"Erik is very determined and he is anxious to take on Pacquiao for a third time," said Arum. "These two great champions have always given it their all, each and every second in the ring, especially against each other. I expect this third fight to be the most exciting of the trilogy – and that's saying something!" Finkel put it more simply. "Manny will start training in August. He is thrilled to have this rubber match to show he is the better man."
Pacquiao, (42-3-2, 32 KOs), from General Santos City, The Philippines, returns to the ring looking for his third victory of 2006. He won a 12-round unanimous decision over former world champion Oscar Larios on July 1 at the sold-out Araneta Coliseum in The Philippines, the same arena that hosted Ali-Frazier III – the "Thrilla in Manila."
On January 21, Pacquiao avenged his previous loss to Morales scoring a dramatic and historic victory dealing "El Terrible" his first-ever knockout loss, stopping him in the 10th round, utilizing his secret weapon -- the savage punch known as "Manila Ice." Pacquiao has gone 16-1-2 in his last 19 bouts with all 15 of his victories coming by knockout, including a sensational stoppage of world champion Marco Antonio Barrera. A former WBC flyweight, IBF jr. featherweight and The Ring magazine featherweight champion, Pacquiao is the No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger for WBC super featherweight title and a consensus Top-3 "Pound-for-Pound" fighter. He is trained by Freddie Roach.
Morales, (48-4, 34 KOs), from Tijuana, Mexico, is universally recognized as one of the best boxers in the world at any weight, pound-for-pound. He is also one of the most exciting and has fought in several of the most sensational battles of recent years, including his 12-round unanimous decision victory over Pacquiao in their first battle. A former WBC super bantamweight champion, two-time WBC featherweight champion and WBC super featherweight champion, Morales became the second fighter from Mexico to win world titles in three weight divisions – Julio Cesar Chavez was the first. Like Chavez, Erik is also a certain future Hall of Famer. Morales' Hall of Fame caliber resume boasts victories over Pacquiao, Marco Antonio Barrera, Carlos Hernandez, Jesus 'El Matador' Chavez, Guty Espadas, Paulie Ayala, Injin Chi, Kevin Kelley, Wayne McCullough, Junior Jones, Jose Luis Bueno, Daniel Zaragoza and Hector Acero-Sanchez.
Erik is also a class act as he displayed after his loss to Pacquiao in January.
"I ran into a guy with a lot of ambition who wanted to win very much," said Morales. "He was in great condition and was obviously well-prepared to fight me. It was a very tough, intense fight. I think I had some good moments early, but was getting very tired as the fight was going in the later rounds. I have nothing but respect for Pacquiao, he's a good person and he beat me. You won't hear any excuses from me."