Pacquiao and Morales meet for third time Saturday

Nov 17, 2006 - 10:14 PM LAS VEGAS (Ticker) - Former world champions Manny Pacquiao and Erik Morales will stage their rubber match on Saturday night.

Pacquiao tried for a knockout in his first fight with Morales in March 2005 and ended up bloodied and beaten. In the rematch, Pacquiao fought more strategically and was able to drop Morales.

Billed as "The Grand Finale," the third super featherweight fight between the two will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center.

In their first bout, Pacquiao (42-3-2, 32 KOs) kept looking for the big punch to land on the hard-chinned Morales (48-4, 34 KOs), who continually peppered his opponent en route to a close but unanimous decision.

Pacquiao sent Morales to the canvas for the first time in his career and scored a 10th-round technical knockout in the rematch.

"I will beat him in this fight just like I beat him in the last fight," Pacquiao said. "I am the best super featherweight in the world and I will prove it again."

After beating Morales, Pacquiao won a 12-round unanimous decision over Oscar Larios on July 1 at The Philippines. The former WBC flyweight and IBF junior featherweight champion is 16-1-2 in his last 19 fights with 15 coming by knockout.

The second fighter from Mexico to win titles in three divisions, Morales has not fought since losing to Pacquiao. Morales appeared to tire in that fight after struggling to make the 130-pound weight.

This time, Morales upgraded his training regimen to enable him to make the weight without depleting strength.

"I undertook great physical preparation and lost a lot of weight," Morales said. "I am ready for this fight."

Morales is a former WBC super bantamweight, featherweight and super featherweight champion.

On the undercard, Omar Nino Romero (24-2-1, 10 KOs) will fight Brian Viloria (19-1, 12 KOs) in a much-anticipated rematch for the WBC light flyweight title. Three months ago, Romero took the title away from Viloria, winning a 12-round decision.

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