Press Release
April 20, 2009

Loren urges Pacquiao: Pave way for 2nd Thrilla in Manila

Senator Loren Legarda urged today world boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao to consider holding in the Philippines his next fight after Ricky Hatton, saying such a fight can be rightly billed as the Second Thrilla in Manila.

"I know that the big money fights are in the United States and elsewhere. But I believe Manny has already achieved such an iconic stature in the world of boxing to make a big fight happen in the Philippines," said Loren.

"If Manny can negotiate mega-buck deals, I believe that he can convince fight promoters to consider the Philippines as the location for his next fight. He can, so to speak, throw his weight around for, after all, he is the world's best pound-for-pound fighter now."

The senator issued the statement as she noted the overwhelming pride and joy that Filipinos from all walks of life showed following the big victories scored on local soil Sunday by two other Filipino boxing heroes, Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria.

"While Filipinos follow Manny's fights wherever they are held, the Donaire and Viloria fights showed that the victories of Filipino athletes are extra special when posted before our countrymen."

Loren said that by drawing in well-heeled fight aficionados to the Philippines and by focusing international boxing coverage on the country, Pacquiao, Donaire and Viloria can help promote the Philippines as a tourism destination.

"Imagine Pacquiao, Donaire and Viloria in a dream boxing presentation. It can even be billed as the Philippines Versus The Rest of the World," she said.

"I congratulate Donaire and Viloria for making us proud. I wish Pacquaio the best of luck as he tangles with Hatton," she said.

In the Thrilla in Manila held on October 1, 1975, the legendary Muhammad Ali stopped Joe Frazier in the 14th round to cap their bitter trilogy to determine the real heavyweight champion of the world.

Over the weekend, Donaire knocked out Raul Martinez of Mexico in the fourth round to retain his IBF flyweight crown, while Viloria dethroned another Mexican, Ulises Sotto, in the 11th round of their IBF lightflyweight title clash.

Loren also lauded the victory posted by another Filipino, Denver Cuello, who stopped Japanese Hiroshi Matsumoto in round four of their non-title bout.

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