Arum: Morales and Pacquiao still on for Jan. 21

NEW YORK -- Erik Morales lost his fight to Zahir Raheem
on Saturday night but gets to keep his big payday against Manny
Pacquiao anyway.

The purpose of Saturday's doubleheader pitting Morales against
Raheem and Pacquiao against Hector Velasquez in Los Angeles was
to set up a Jan. 21 bout between Morales and Pacquiao. In
pre-fight buildup, promoter Bob Arum said Morales and Pacquiao
would meet again if they both won Saturday.

Despite Raheem's upset decision over Morales, Arum claims his
original plan stands. Morales and Pacquiao still will fight
Jan. 21 and make $1.75 million apiece.

"This does not affect the January 21 fight," Arum said. "We're
going ahead with it."

Arum is the promoter for Morales and Raheem, so why not let
Raheem fight Pacquiao instead? Because Arum thinks there's more
money to be made from a Morales-Pacquiao rematch.

Morales won the first fight, and Arum suspects his loss to
Raheem will stoke interest among Pacquiao fans from the

"This time the Filipinos will probably be even bullish with
Pacquiao's chances. The Filipinos will be betting more money on
Manny," Arum said.

It is a good thing Arum is not the commissioner of baseball as
he probably would have let the New York Yankees play in the
World Series last year despite losing to the Boston Red Sox in
the playoffs because the Yankees attract more interest.

Raheem, who fought on the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, instead will
try to land a lightweight title shot after scoring the biggest
win of his career by far.

"I beat a legend tonight," Raheem said. "I've always believed in
myself. I have just always needed an opportunity like this."

Although the decision was unanimous against him, Morales thought
he won.

"He didn't seem like he wanted to fight," Morales said. "He kept
running. I thought I was more aggressive and should have won.
But give him credit. He was slick and he boxed very well. He was
very difficult to hit and he got in a few good shots."

Raheem actually was just as aggressive and nearly twice as
accurate as Morales. Raheem landed 161-of-586 punches compared
with 85-of-543, according to CompuBox. Raheem had a 111-62 edge in
power-punch connects. He also staggered Morales in the fifth

"I think I'm ready for anyone in the lightweight division now,"
Raheem said. "Anybody they want to put in front of me, let's

Morales said he's ready to go back down to junior featherweight
against Pacquiao, although he won't rule out meeting Raheem
again eventually.

"I'm still looking at fighting Pacquiao again and then after I
beat him, I'll come back and get Raheem," he said. "I'll just
study his style and next time I'll have to answer."

Pacquiao held up his end with a sixth-round KO of Velasquez and
is happy to have another shot at Morales.

"I will prepare harder this time for Morales," Pacquiao said. "I
will get back at him. That's why I will train for no less than
two months for our rematch."

Barrera's prospects
Marco Antonio Barrera also could figure in the future of Morales
or Pacquiao. Barrera, who has won two of three from Morales
and got stopped by Pacquiao, takes on Robbie Peden Saturday
night in Las Vegas.

Barrera's WBC and Peden's IBF junior lightweight titles will be
at stake. The winner could be in line for a defense later next
year against the Morales-Pacquiao winner.

Perhaps because the fight has not gained the attention of the
Morales-Pacquiao doubleheader, Peden's promoter Dan Goosen tried
to spice things up by predicting a KO victory for the heavy

"I believe anyone who has smart money will put a ton of it on
Robbie Peden because I feel he is going to stop Marco Antonio
Barrera," Goosen said. "That's the type of shape he's in."

"Dan Goosen will not be stepping in the ring," Barrera replied.
"The one stepping in the ring is Robbie Peden."

Roy Jones update
Rumors that Roy Jones injured his left hand in training and
might withdraw from his October 1 bout against Antonio Tarver
prompted Jones to issue a terse statement saying he will show up
for the fight.

"I'll be there," Jones said. "Nothing stops the RJJ."

That's about all Jones has said about the Tarver fight. He's
skipped all the news conferences for the bout, remaining home in
Pensacola, Florida, while Tarver carries the promotion.

"All he's been is a bunch of hot air," Tarver said of Jones.

As for the injury talk, Tarver said, "Leave all those excuses in
Pensacola because I don't want to hear it. He won't be able to
hit me with that left hand anyway - so he won't be needing it."