Manny Pacquiao eyes next fight in Malaysia in May or June

Manny Pacquiao will be aiming for the 60th win of his career. (AFP)
Updated 07 March 2018
0

Manny Pacquiao eyes next fight in Malaysia in May or June

MANILA: Philippine boxing idol Manny Pacquiao said his next opponent would be either world champion Lucas Matthysse or Danny Garcia in Malaysia in May or June, after rejecting an undercard offer to face Mike Alvarado.
Pacquiao told ABS-CBN television in an interview aired Tuesday that his camp had narrowed the choices down to World Boxing Association welterweight champion Matthysse, of Argentina, or the American former WBA super-welterweight and World Boxing Council welterweight champ Garcia, who was unbeaten until last year.
“Definitely, Malaysia is where we will fight. If not May, this coming June, maybe third week of June, so the preparation will not conflict with my work,” said Pacquiao, who is also a senator.
Last week Pacquiao, 39, rejected an offer to fight on the undercard of the Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford fight in the US in April.
Pacquiao, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, previously said he was eyeing an April date with Ukraine’s World Boxing Organization superfeatherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko during a break from his senatorial duties.
Asked why he would fight in Malaysia, Pacquiao said “because those in Malaysia appealed to also have a fight there.”
Pacquiao is a national hero in the Philippines but there have been growing questions about whether the aging boxer can still command the mammoth paydays that his fights used to earn.
He lost his WBO welterweight title to the Australian Horn last year to leave his record standing at 59 wins, seven losses and two draws, and 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 January, Pacquiao rejected calls to retire for good, adding he did not believe his recent losses tarnished his record.
He parlayed his sporting fame to get elected to the influential Senate in 2016 and has had to juggle his training and matches with his legislative schedule.
mm/sm/amz


River edge out Boca after extra time to win Copa Libertadores

River prevailed 5-3 on aggregate after the first leg finished 2-2. (AFP
Updated 10 December 2018
0

River edge out Boca after extra time to win Copa Libertadores

  • River Plate came from behind to beat bitter Argentine rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 in extra time
  • The fixture postponed on three occasions and then relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid

MADRID: River Plate won the Copa Libertadores by beating their fiercest rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 after extra time on Sunday, bringing an end to a final tainted by violence and moved more than six thousand miles away from Argentina.
Boca took the lead through Dario Benedetto but Lucas Pratto equalized before Juan Quintero and Gonzalo Martinez scored in extra time, aided by Wilmar Barrios being sent off, to win a fittingly dramatic contest for River.
It means River prevailed 5-3 on aggregate after the first leg finished 2-2 and the club reclaim the trophy they had last won in 2015, lifting it for the fourth time in their history.
“The only thing I feel is sadness for not winning the cup and giving it to the people of Boca,” Boca coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said.
“It is difficult to say to people that we haven’t won, especially those that made so much effort to come from Argentina.”
Postponed on three occasions and then relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid, the supporters of these two great clubs showed in the Santiago Bernabeu why this fixture had been billed as one of football’s greatest ever.
Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin were among the 62,200 in attendance.
But, despite the bouncing huddles in the streets, the plumes of blue and red smoke, the swinging scarves, fluttering flags and fans that were chanting in their seats three hours before kick-off, there was nothing to extinguish the lingering sense of regret.
There was no repeat of the scenes that cast a shadow over Argentinian football and saw the original game at River’s El Monumental on November 24 postponed, when around 50 fans attacked Boca’s team bus and left some of their players injured.
Madrid, which will also host the Champions League final in June, was chosen in part because of its record of hosting major events and the security, which included around 2,500 police officers, did its job before kick-off.
Fans were separated into zones either side of the stadium and had to go through checks even to enter the area immediately surrounding it.
The shame was only that the operation was not as thorough 15 days ago and that a minority decided to take advantage.
Both clubs were allocated 25,000 tickets, with 5,000 of those reserved for residents of Argentina. The fear had been most of those buying would be tourists and neutrals, but the atmosphere suggested different.
Both teams had initially refused to play in Spain’s capital but as the losers, Boca’s sense of grievance will now become more entrenched.
They felt River were responsible for the chaos two weeks ago and should have forfeited the trophy. They took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the appeal was rejected on Saturday.
When the players shuffled out two hours before kick-off to inspect the pitch, they held up their phones to capture the thousands already inside and the view of a stadium most of them had never played in before.
The cheers grew louder when they came out for kick-off. Then there were whistles as the teams swapped ends and each were greeted by their opponent’s fans behind the goal.
Jonatan Maidana was playing for Boca when they last won the Copa Libertadores 11 years ago and, now in the red and white of River, he almost gave his former club an early lead, slicing just over his own crossbar.
The game lacked quality but came alive one minute before half-time. Nahitan Nandez’s superb pass split two River defenders and Benedetto kept a cool head, guiding into the corner, before taunting the beaten Gonzalo Montiel.
River had been inferior but improved. Their first real attacking move was also a brilliant one as Leonardo Ponzio and Quintero exchanged passes before the latter pulled back for Pratto to sweep home.
The game meandered toward full-time and seemed destined for penalties until Barrios was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Exequiel Palacios and soon after, Quintero struck.
It was a goal worthy of winning the tournament, as he collected 25 yards out, glanced up and whipped the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.
Leonard Jara almost snatched a late Boca goal but his shot nicked the outside of the post. Then, with Boca’s goalkeeper Esteban Andrada up for a corner, River added the final touch.
Martinez ran the ball into the empty net and River’s substitutes and staff were already pouring onto the pitch to begin the celebrations.