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By Ronnie Nathanielsz

The great Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions says its about time Filipino ring idol Manny Pacquiao " stands up for himself, takes charge of his career and does what’s right" and that "continuing like this he can end up like other fighters" with their careers ruined. De La Hoya added " we don’t want that."

De La Hoya called Viva Sports/Manila Standard Today shortly before lunchtime and said he hoped Pacquiao would read the story and realize that he has the opportunity "to be one of the big success stories in boxing and now is the opportunity for him to really stand up for himself."

De La Hoya said he was concerned that a protracted lawsuit between Golden Boy and Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions over the contractual dispute involving the right to promote Pacquiao’s fights could jeopardize Pacquiao who "may not be able to fight for many months" and stressed he didn’t want to see that happen. De La Hoya said Golden Boy "did nothing wrong and did everything legal, the way it is supposed to be and the truth will prevail." He said "its now up to the judges and we’ll take it from there."

De La Hoya indicated the earliest the lawsuit can be resolved is within a month or a month and a half and he was hoping they could "take care of the situation within that time" because a rematch with WBC super featherweight champion Marco Antonio Barrera on March 11 was on the cards. He said the Barrera fight "is absolutely what everybody wants to see. Marco wants to fight Manny and I am sure Manny wants to fight Barrera." At the same time De La Hoya pointed out that Golden Boy has all the fighters Pacquiao needs to fight and Pacquiao "can make big money on big fights."

Golden Boy scoffed at the announced plans of Arum for Pacquiao to fight undefeated Edwin Valero who has a record of 20 KO’s in 20 wins but whose opponents were classified by Pacquiao himself as "tricycle drivers." De La Hoya insisted that Barrera was "the best fight out there for him. There’s no reason for Pacquiao to be fighting the Valeros of this world. People want to see the biggest fight and Manny Pacquiao wants to fight the best and Barrera wants to fight the best. So they should fight each other."

De La Hoya hinted that there may be people around Pacquiao "who are telling him what’s best and this is unfortunate" because they are giving him the wrong advice. Even the head of Pacquiao's management team Shelly Finkel referred to the "bad advice" being given Pacquiao by some so-called advisers.

De La Hoya stated that Pacquiao should stand for himself just like he (De La Hoya) did when he quit from managers and promoters, including Arum. De La Hoya recalled that one day he stood up and said " I have to do what’s right for my career. This is what I want and this is right while this is wrong and I took charge. I want to make sure that everything is fine and do what’s right. This is what Manny has to do. Take charge." De La Hoya added, "when Manny Pacquiao talks a lot of people will listen."

De La Hoya told The Standard, "I want to tell him, hey Manny stand up for yourself. You are the fighter that’s risking your life up in that ring. You have to be the voice and stand up and speak for yourself, just like I did." The Golden Boy stressed that "ultimately it has to be Manny. They have to wake up one day. I am not afraid to face Manny and tell him that continuing like this, he can end up like other fighters" whose careers were ruined or unfortunately cut short. De La Hoya noted "fighters like us don’t have a long lifespan inside the ring. We must take the opportunities as they come and take advantage."
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