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Boxing: Manny Pacquiao plans to keep punching against Antonio Margarito

Boxing

Pacquiao plans to keep punching

ARLINGTON, Texas — Freddie Roach has a game plan for Manny Pacquiao. If he had his way, it would be in place tonight, when Pacquiao moves up in weight and seeks his eighth title in a bout against Antonio Margarito. (Card starts at 9 on HBO pay-per-view). There's one problem.

"He could box more and be a little smarter," the trainer said. "But he likes to exchange punches, and that's what sells tickets. That's what makes him exciting, and that's what makes him who he is."

Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 knockouts) doesn't figure to change his style against Margarito (38-6-1, 27 knockouts) even though other things have changed since he last stepped into the ring at Cowboys Stadium in March.

Pacquiao now is a congressman in his native Philippines, which has earned him attention from outlets such as 60 Minutes and National Public Radio. That has caused consternation among fans who worry it has interfered with Pacquiao's training. Not to worry, he said: "I'm always hungry for a fight. There is no distraction."

Pacquiao, who began fighting at 107 pounds, plans to enter the ring at his heaviest ever. But he still will be much smaller than Margarito for the bout that is for a 154-pound title, though the contract weight is 150 pounds. Margarito weighed in at 150, Pacquiao at 144.6.

That doesn't concern Roach, who believes Margarito's style is perfect for his fighter.

"Margarito's defense is terrible, and he can't throw a straight punch," Roach said. "Manny will be down the middle all night. We've got a great, great game plan for him."

WBA heavyweight title: Champion David Haye weighed in at 210 pounds for today's defense against Audley Harrison in Manchester, England. Harrison, who is 2 inches taller at 6 feet 5, weighed 253.5. Haye (24-1, 22 knockouts) is a big favorite for the first all-British heavyweight title fight since Lennox Lewis defended the WBC title against Frank Bruno in 1993. He said beating Harrison (27-4, 20 knockouts), the 2000 Olympic gold medalist, will be "a warmup" on his way toward unifying the titles.

Baseball

Twins star wants easier home homers

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said he and teammates are disappointed that planned improvements to Target Field don't include moving the outfield fences in. In their first year at the stadium, the Twins hit 52 homers, compared with 90 on the road.

"Right-center (371 feet) to left-center (371 feet) is ridiculous," Morneau wrote in an e-mail to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "It's almost impossible for a right-handed hitter to (homer to the) opposite field and very difficult for lefties. … You start to develop bad habits as a hitter when you feel like you can only pull the ball to hit it over the fence."

A's: Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, 27, was acquired from Toronto via waivers. In 2010 he hit .244 with 21 homers and 51 RBIs.

Marlins: Lefty reliever Dustin Richardson, 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 26 games this year, was acquired from Boston, which got left-hander Andrew Miller. Miller, the sixth overall draft pick in 2006, went 1-5 with an 8.54 ERA in nine games (seven starts) for Florida.

Et cetera

Tennis: Roger Federer got to his first Paris Masters semis, beating Jurgen Melzer 6-1, 7-6 (7-4). Federer, who had lost in the quarters three times, faces Gael Monfils (6-2, 2-6, 6-3 over Andy Murray). Robin Soderling (7-5, 6-4 over Andy Roddick) faces Michael Llodra (7-5, 6-1 over Nikolay Davydenko).

Cycling: The World Anti-Doping Agency denied proposing Tour de France riders be tested in the middle of the night. Its report last month said riders should be tested at night. Friday, it said it recommended testing "early in the morning or late at night; at less predictable times."

Times wires

.Fast facts

Ironman World Championship

What: 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run

When: 6:45 a.m. today

Where: Clearwater Beach

Course/road closures: Outdoors.tampabay.com

Boxing: Manny Pacquiao plans to keep punching against Antonio Margarito 11/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 12, 2010 10:57pm]

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