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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    Erik Morales, Manny Pacquiao, and Freddie Roach Interviews 

    While few rematches look like digitally-produced replicas of their fighters' original encounter, most seem to be won these days by the same boxer who prevailed in the first. When super featherweight stars Erik Morales (48-3, 34 KOs) from Mexico and Manny Pacquiao (40-3-2, 31 KOs) from the Philippines first fought last March 19, that battle was won by Morales by 12-round unanimous decision. So when these two face each other again this Sat., Jan. 21, in Las Vegas, we must try to ask what will be different this time around.

    We did just that on two media conference calls with these warriors and their teams, with Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach on Jan. 3 and Morales on Jan. 5.

    The outcome of this fight is expected to be determined by numerous variables which may be different from last year's bout. After that fight, held in the super featherweight class of 130, Morales went up to lightweight at 135 to face Zahir Raheem on Sept. 10. The speedy and crafty Raheem thoroughly outboxed Morales to win a clear-cut unanimous 12-round decision in an upset that had many questioning whether Morales was beginning to fade. The loss meant that Morales had been defeated in two of three fights. This time, Morales will have to come back down to 130 to face Pacquiao, and the effects of that cutting weight after having fought at lightweight will have to factored in to any pre-fight analysis of what to expect.

    Pacquiao, on the other hand, is a featherweight fighting four pounds up because that is where millions more dollars can be made than at his natural weight. His proclivity is in the power department, but that was nullified enough in their first fight by the bigger Morales to tip the balance away from Pacquiao. Also in that fight both fighters wore Winning gloves, derided by some as "pillows," rather than Pacquiao's favorite, Reyes gloves, known more as punchers' gloves. That concession was made in the fight contract by Pacquiao's now-departed handlers, and this time out he will get his wish to wear Reyes. But Morales, who has 34 KOs in his 51 fights, does not exactly give sponge baths in the ring, and he may switch to a glove which is supposed to help the power punchers.

    Pacquiao is supposedly more mentally prepared and focused for this fight than the first one last March. He has changed promoters and managers, and his team has said that there will be no massive entourage of fans, hangers-on, and freeloaders distracting him from what he must do in the ring. He will supposedly also not have to worry about being shortchanged or ripped off by those who have dotted the i's and crossed the t's for him. Morales has also since dismissed his father as his chief trainer.

    Of course, what happens in the ring Jan. 21 will answer many if not all of these questions.

    You can listen to our discussions with these fighters for free.

    For our discussion with Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach, click here or here or here.

    For our discussion with Erik Morales, click here or here or here.

    These files are in MP3 format, so please allow a few moments for them to download.

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