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Promise doesn’t faze Pacquiao

Their fight at the MGM Grand Garden is three weeks away, but the hype machine for Oscar De La Hoya‘s return to the ring against Manny Pacquiao already is rolling.

Pacquiao was autographing boxing gloves this week in Los Angeles when he reached into a box and pulled out a red glove that already had been signed.

It was from De La Hoya. On the glove, he wrote, "Manny, I am going to knock you out! — Oscar."

De La Hoya added a smiley face to his signature. Pacquiao? He laughed it off.

"He is a great fighter, the Golden Boy," Pacquiao said. "I have been watching him since he won the gold medal at the (1992) Olympic Games. He has beaten some very famous fighters. That’s why defeating him will be very special and important for everyone in the Philippines."

FAMOUS DOGS — First, they were infamous, thanks to their former owner. Now, Georgia, Handsome Dan, Red, Curly and other pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick‘s dogfighting operation are getting a shot at fame as stars of a line of boutique red wines.

The Vicktory Dogs Wine Collection features colorful portraits of 22 dogs confiscated from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels that now live at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah.

"As a signature collection, it’s through the roof," said Matt Hahn, co-owner of Carivintas Winery, a Southern California company that combines wine selling and philanthropy.

Each bottle includes a portrait of one of the dogs on the label. On the back, instead of a description of the wine, is a brief story about each four-legged friend. The pit bulls have been living at Best Friends since January as handlers try to reverse the mental damage done at Vick’s 15-acre estate in southeastern Virginia. Vick, a former NFL quarterback, is serving a two-year prison sentence in connection with the dogfighting operation.

"Everybody has their favorite, and people are buying for different reasons," Hahn said. "Some people will drink the wine; some will never open the bottle."

The entire set, including 22 bottles and two others commemorating Best Friends’ 25th anniversary, costs $672. The set also can be split, with each half selling for $380. Individual bottles go for $40. Ten percent of each sale goes to Best Friends. The money will be used to oppose dogfighting around the country and to fight laws that target specific dog breeds.

HISTORIC TRIP — Eastern Michigan decided to play a noontime basketball game Nov. 7 so the local elementary schools in Ypsilanti could attend.

The kids got a lot more than a day away from the classroom. They saw history as the Eagles routed Marygrove, 119-48.

For Eastern Michigan, it was a record for margin of victory, breaking the mark of 71 points set against another powerhouse, Western Ontario, in 1968. Marygrove is an NAIA school.

Eastern Michigan counted the game as part of its regular-season record; Marygrove considered it an exhibition.

The grade-school kids? They were just happy to be on a field trip.

COMPILED BY STEVE CARP REVIEW-JOURNAL

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