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DAY OF RECKONING

Pacquiao risks WBO title vs former Aussie teacher.

BRISBANE, Australia – Some people are talking about a changing of the guard as Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring and defends the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against Jeff Horn early afternoon of Sunday at Suncorp Stadium.

But Pacquiao, the 38-year-old eight-division champion, refuses to acknowledge that the torch is about to be passed and a young lion is taking over the pride.

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“I feel great and I am ready to defend and keep my crown,” Pacquiao said after weighing in at 146 lbs during the official weighin Saturday morning at one of the halls of 52,500-seat arena.

The division limit is 147 lbs.

Pacquiao, the prohibitive favorite, later feasted on a steamed white rice, beef stew, beef soup, stir-fried bitter gourd with egg, roasted chicken and boiled eggs after conquering the scales.

Joined by a bevy of political personalities, Pacquiao consumed a mountain of rice and took a generous portion of the delectable dishes on the table as he gets ready to make the first defense of the WBO 147-lb title he took last year in Las Vegas.

“Excited to be fighting again and looking forward to put on a big show for the boxing fans,” said Pacquiao, whose next fight could be in November provided that he survives the fresher and younger Horn.

While he has talked about luring Floyd Mayweather into a rematch, Pacquiao (59-6-2 with 38 KOs) insists that he is not looking past Horn (16-0-1 with 11 KOs).

“We trained hard and I can’t wait to show everyone that I still have it,” added Pacquiao, who executed his trademark muscle-flexing move after making the weight.

Those in attendance cheered when Pacquiao pulled off this act while the reaction to Horn’s ability to get down to 147 lbs sounded like pieces of paper being crumpled.

There were concerns earlier when Horn himself disclosed that he was still carrying excess baggage less than 48 hours before the fight.

But Horn didn’t look as though he had to go through hell in dropping to 147 after telling a large gathering Thursday that he was still more than two kilos overweight.

Apparently, the reduction wasn’t at all too drastic as Horn didn’t appear to be gaunt and was even in a bubbly mood.

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