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Boxing | International

'It's going to be a war!'



Manny Pacquiao will have a slight weight advantage when he fights Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Pacquiao weighed in at the welterweight division's 66.7kg limit on Friday and Marquez came in at 65 kg.

"It is going to be a war," Marquez told the crowd at the weigh-in. "It is most important to show people who the best man is."

Hundreds of screaming Filipino fans tried unsuccessfully to shout down their Mexican rivals. Chants of "Manny! Manny!" were answered with even more boisterous calls of "Marquez! Marquez!" from the flag-waving Mexican supporters as about 5 000 people squeezed into the MGM Grand Garden arena.

"I am happy to give honour to my country in boxing," the 33-year-old Pacquiao told the crowd.

His huge following was on display at the arena, with many of his supporters flying in from his home country and other parts of the United States.

The 16 000-capacity arena is sold out for the fight, so the weigh-in was as close as many would get to the fighters.

One Filipino couple started queuing in the wee hours of the morning, almost 12 hours before the doors were scheduled to open.

Marquez walked to the scales first. He stood there wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts, a thick gold chain around his neck and an orange paper bracelet. He still came in well under the limit for the non-title fight.

Pacquiao followed Marquez on to the scale, and then stepped off and posed like a body builder as his fans cheered and Marquez's supporters booed.

The Mexican's fans drowned out Pacquiao with a chorus of boos as he talked about trying to help the victims of a typhoon that devastated the southern Philippines this week.

"This fight is dedicated to those fans," Pacquiao said, adding that he would try to be better focussed on Saturday.

The boxers were joined on podium by former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, promoter Bob Arum, and their trainers, Freddie Roach for Pacquiao and Ignacio Beristain for Marquez.

Pacquiao has a professional record of 54-4-2, with 38 knockouts. Marquez stands at 54-6-1 with 39 knockouts.



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