Manny Pacquiao says he is in talks to fight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko

This file photo taken on April April 26, 2017 shows World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight defending champion Manny Pacquiao gesturing during a promotional press conference at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2018
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Manny Pacquiao says he is in talks to fight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko

MANILA: Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao said on Wednesday he was in talks for a blockbuster bout with world champion Vasyl Lomachenko, widely considered the best “pound-for-pound” fighter on the planet.
Pacquiao, 39, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, is eyeing an April date with the Ukrainian World Boxing Organization superfeatherweight champ during a break from his duties as a Philippines senator.
“There are negotiations now about the number one pound-for-pound (boxer) which is Lomachenko,” Pacquiao said in an interview on ABS-CBN television.
“There are still talks on the weight, reducing the weight,” said Pacquiao, who has been fighting as a welterweight.
Pacquiao aides told AFP there has been no agreement on the venue and the actual date of the Lomachenko fight.
Rated by boxing experts as the world’s top “pound-for-pound” fighter, Lomachenko, 29, has lost just once in 11 pro bouts and won all the others by knockout.
Pacquiao, whose loss of his WBO welterweight title to Australia’s Jeff Horn last year left his record standing at 59 wins, seven losses and two draws, is now in the twilight of his career.
The Filipino southpaw retired briefly in 2016 but made a comeback to retake his WBO title from Jessie Vargas just months later. He has not scored a knockout win in the past eight years.
In contrast Lomachenko cemented his status last year after retaining his WBO junior lightweight title.
Lomachenko, who won gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, rocketed to the top of his weight class after turning pro in 2013, winning nine world championship fights in his first 11 contests.
Pacquiao, who has not climbed the ring since the Horn loss, said last month he had opened talks to fight mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor in April.
But the Irishman said he wanted his next bout to be a return to the octagon after losing a boxing bout to unbeaten Floyd Mayweather by a 10th-round technical knockout in their much-hyped fight in Las Vegas in August last year.
On Wednesday, Pacquiao rejected calls for him to retire for good, adding he did not believe his recent losses tarnished his record.
“You know, I miss boxing,” Pacquiao said, adding he was “still okay.”
Pacquiao, elected a senator in 2016, said he would only train for three months for an April fight so he did not neglect his legislative duties.
“That’s more than enough.”
Pacquiao said Wednesday he was also open to fighting British boxer Amir Khan but said any fight would have to be done in April when the Philippine Congress would go on break.


Ronaldo faces multi-million tax fraud fine in Madrid court

Updated 22 January 2019
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Ronaldo faces multi-million tax fraud fine in Madrid court

MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to Madrid for a court date on Tuesday in which he could be fined 18.8 million euros ($21.4 million) for tax fraud as part of a deal reached with the Spanish taxman.
As part of an agreement arranged in June with the former Real Madrid hero’s lawyers, prosecutors are also asking that the Portuguese attacker, who last summer left the Spanish capital for Italian champions Juventus, be handed a 23-month jail sentence.
However Ronaldo would not spend a day in prison as sentences of up to two years are generally not enforced in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes.
The hearing, due to start at 9:50 am (0850 GMT), is expected to last just a few minutes as the deal is officially presented to the judge.
He in turn will give the final sentence on Tuesday or the coming days, according to a spokesman for the court in northern Madrid.
Ronaldo will not be given special treatment when he arrives and will have to climb up the courthouse steps amid a likely media scrum despite the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s lawyers asking he be allowed to enter the building by car to avoid the spotlight.
The court president refused the request, saying that despite his “great fame,” he wouldn’t “compromise security” at the building, according to a court document.
His request to appear via videoconference was also denied.

Denial
Madrid prosecutors opened a probe into Ronaldo in June 2017 and he was questioned in July that same year.
“I have never hidden anything, nor have I had the intention of evading taxes,” he told the court then, according to a statement from the sports agency which represents him, Gestifute.
Prosecutors accuse him of having used companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions — notably the British Virgin Islands and Ireland — to avoid having to pay the tax due in Spain on his image rights between 2011 and 2014.
His lawyers said there had been a difference in interpretation of what was and was not taxable in Spain.
The deal between Spain’s taxman and his lawyers has allowed Ronaldo to avoid having to sit through a long trial that could have damaged his image and seen him handed a heftier sentence.
Ronaldo is not the only footballer to have fallen foul of Spain’s tax authorities.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, once Ronaldo’s big La Liga rival, paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.
The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of 252,000 euros, equivalent to 400 euros per day of the original term.

Accused of rape
But Ronaldo’s legal wrangles won’t be over after a probe was opened in the United States in October after a former American model accused him of raping her in Las Vegas in 2009.
Police in the western US city recently asked Italian authorities for a DNA sample from the footballer.
Ronaldo has always strenuously denied the accusations.
In a New Year’s Eve interview with Portuguese sports daily Record, he said he had a “calm conscience” and was “confident that everything will very soon be clarified.”