By Dennis Principe
Former world champion Michael Katsidis of Australia flew to Manila to personally challenge Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao to a showdown. Katsidis arrived in the country Thursday evening and graced the weekly “SCOOP sa Kamayan” session along with manager Brendon Smith. Katsidis said he is being backed by a major Australian online betting company Sportsbet.com which recently sold half of its shares to an Irish group for a staggering $200 million. Katsidis said his backers are willing to support and even bankroll his challenge of Pacquiao. The Australian is hoping that his presence here in the country will jumpstart negotiations with the Pacquiao camp. Katsidis, who has set up his training camp in Thailand, is coming off an eight round Technical Knockout win over former world champion Jesus Chavez. Katsidis is best known for his brutal 12-round slugfest against Filipino Czar Amonsot last July 2007 in Las Vegas where both fighters ended up in the hospital. Katsidis won that fight via a close unanimous decision while Amonsot ended up being medically suspended indefini tely by the Nevada State Athletic Commission as specks of blood were traced outside of his brain. The 28-year-old Katsidis (25-2, 21 KOs) lost his interim crown to Joel Casamayor via a 10th round stoppage March of last year. For his comeback fight after the Casamayor debacle Katsidis fought and lost to Juan Diaz in a close 12-round verdict September of 2008. He has since recovered from those twin losses with back-to-back wins over Chavez and Angel Ramirez this year. Click for video download.