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Fighters Network

Manny Pacquiao hits the speed bag during a workout for the media Wednesday in Hollywood, Calif. Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank

Bob Arum, Manny Pacquiao’s promoter, likes to say that Mexican boxing fans are beginning to consider the Filipino star one of their own. Well, it might be a matter of “if you can’t beat him, join him.”

Pacquiao has won nine consecutive fights – seven over Mexican-born opponents and two over Mexican-Americans, David Diaz and Oscar De La Hoya. The last time he fought a non-Mexican fighter was in 2004, when he stopped Fahsan 3K Battery of Thailand in four rounds.

Now, apparently bored with pummeling fighters from south of the border, he’s moving on to Europeans. He fights Ricky Hatton on May 2 in Las Vegas.

“That’s why I’m still hungry for this victory; it’s the first time I fight the English,” he said as he wrapped his hands before working out for the media at the Wild Card Gym.

Pacquiao squirms a bit when asked about his dominance over Mexican/Mexican-American fighters, against whom he’s 12-1-1 in his career (losing to Erik Morales and drawing with Juan Manuel Marquez).

THE RING’s No. 1 fighter pound for pound doesn’t want to be perceived as arrogant over his success.

“I like Latino fans,” he said. “They really love boxing. It’s nothing personal. I want to show them that ÔǪ Manny Pacquiao is a nice person, a friendly person, friendly to everyone.

“ÔǪ It’s my job to perform in the ring, to give excitement to the audience, the people who like boxing. That’s our job.”

He might not be finished doing a job on the Mexicans.

It seems every fighter near his weight class is clamoring to meet him because his popularity translates into money for everyone involved. Shane Mosley called a press conference Saturday simply to say he wants Pacquiao.

Among others he mentioned as possible opponents was Marquez, THE RING’s No. 2 fighter pound for pound. Pacquiao drew and won by a split decision in their previous two fights, which means a third fight makes sense.

Pacquiao also mentioned Edwin Valero, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Floyd Mayweather Jr. as possible opponents if he beats Hatton.

Pacquiao on De La Hoya: Oscar De La Hoya cited his knockout loss to Pacquiao in December as proof that he could no longer live up to his high standards in the ring and retired.

Pacquiao said his rival is smart.

“He made a good decision. He already has done a lot in boxing, so he deserves it,” he said, and then made reference to his punishing victory over De La Hoya. “That’s one of the reasons why he retired. His mind wanted to give more exciting fights to the people but his body can’t do that.”

Pacquiao was asked to name the best fighter he’s faced. Marquez? Morales? Marco Antonio Barrera? Nope. It was De La Hoya, who he dominated.

What was behind that? It might be simple admiration for De La Hoya’s body of work. Or it might be his response to those who say De La Hoya was a shell of himself the night they fought. Or it might be both.

Mosley-Pacquiao?: Mosley believes Pacquiao would recognize that he’s a better opponent for the pound-for-pound king than another prospective foe, Mayweather, because of his style.

“Freddie (Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer) said he really wanted to fight me,” he said. “It would be a much better fight for him because I’ll go to him. I’m a fighter and he’s a fighter.”

Of course, the main reason Mosley wants the fight with Pacquiao is the money. He has another reason, though: He wants to supplant Pacquiao as the top fighter pound for pound in the world at 37 and counting.

Mosley was considered the best fighter in the world by many when he outpointed De La Hoya in 2000.

“That’s my next goal,” he said, “to get back to the top of the pound-for-pound list.”

The way he looked when he knocked out Antonio Margarito in Januarey, anything is possible.

Arum on De La Hoya: Arum, who promoted De La Hoya for most of his career, also believes the fighter made the right decision.

“No boxer, no athlete wants to retire,” he said, “because retiring is the end of a time in his life he really enjoyed. Oscar had to face the fact that boxing is a dangerous sport. And if he continued fighting, he might’ve taken more beatings like the one he took from Manny Pacquiao.

“That’s something that has to have troubled Oscar because these type of beatings a permanent scar on the body and the brain. Oscar was wise, I think, in choosing this moment to retire.”

Heavyweight disgust: Arum watched the Chris Arreola-Jameel McCline fight on HBO last weekend ÔǪ but wishes he hadn’t.

“Let me tell you something,” he said. “I really got sick to my stomach Saturday night with these two heavyweights who were obviously overweight and out of condition fighting on HBO and representing heavyweight boxing in this country. That to me was a disgrace.

“We in boxing criticize the UFC, but Dana White would never, ever allow athletes like that to fight on his cards, out of shape with ridiculous rolls of fat. I think it’s ridiculous. HBO is so worried about lights and camera angles; they should worry about the athletes they give time to.”

Flyweight fury: If Nonito Donaire successfully defends his IBF flyweight belt against undefeated Raul Martinez this Saturday in the Philippines, his next fight could be a bantamweight title bout, according to Arum, the talented Filipino-American's promoter.

Arum says Donaire would like to invade the 118-pound division, and a matchup with the winner of the Fernando Montiel-Eric Morel fight for the vacant WBO bantamweight title could be next.

Montiel, the former WBO 115-pound titlist, and Morel, a former flyweight titlist now campaigning (and looking sharp) at bantamweight, are scheduled to fight on the June 27 Kelly Pavlik-Sergio Mora undercard in Atlantic City.

“It would be a tremendous fight, but Nonito has a tough fight this Saturday; Raul won't be easy,” Arum said of Martinez (24-0, 14 KOs).

The co-featured bout to Donaire-Martinez, which will be available via pay per view in the U.S., is a junior flyweight showdown between IBF 108-pound titleholder Ulises Solis and former beltholder Brian Viloria.

Arum says the winner of Solis-Viloria could face WBO and THE RING 108-pound champ Ivan Calderon next.