Pacquiao Dela Hoya

They may have a misunderstanding over fight contracts, but Manny Pacquiao still goes for Oscar De La Hoya in an actual ring battle.

Pacquiao has picked De La Hoya to win by unanimous decision over Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their blockbuster bout dubbed “The World Awaits” on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I’m for De La Hoya by decision,” said Pacquiao, in a recent interview with The Freeman’s Emmanuel Villaruel. “He is bigger and an excellent counter-puncher.”

Pacquiao expects the fight between two of the world’s most stylish boxers to be very close.

But if it reaches the full route, Pacquiao said De La Hoya -- who is involved in a legal tussle with Bob Arum of Top Rank over the right to promote Pacquiao’s next few fights -- will prevail.

Despite De La Hoya’s impressive 30 knockouts in 38 victories, however, Pacquiao insists chances are remote that he would be able to stop Mayweather, who is unbeaten in 37 fights with 24 knockouts.

“It’s possible, but De La Hoya has only a five-percent chance of knocking out Mayweather because of their varied styles,” explained Pacquiao. “De La Hoya is a counter-puncher while Mayweather is the type of boxer who loves to run around.”

Pacquiao, chosen by both Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America as this year’s best fighter, said it would be difficult for De La Hoya to tag Mayweather because the American, regarded as the world’s best boxer pound-for-pound, tends to back away after unleashing one or two punches.

And the 34-year-old De La Hoya, a noted counter-puncher, could find it hard to push Mayweather, 30, to the corner.

Meanwhile, two-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach said De La Hoya is in great shape for his bout against Mayweather which has been tagged as the fight of the decade by many boxing quarters.

In an interview with Boxing Talk’s Brad Cooney, Roach promised a more offensive-minded De La Hoya at fight time.

Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer who supervises De La Hoya’s preparations in Puerto Rico, also revelaed that Pacquiao had asked him to help prepare his younger brother, Bobby, for his fight against Mexican Humberto Soto on June 9 in New York.