Sports News in Brief
LAS VEGAS - Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring on December 8, almost surely in a fourth fight against Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez. Promoter Bob Arum said final negotiations were scheduled with Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz for the fight, which would be the first for Pacquiao since he lost a hotly disputed decision to Timothy Bradley on June 9.
LONDON - Stoke striker Michael Owen admits he should have left Manchester United before the start of last season after enduring a frustrating spell at Old Trafford. Owen spent most his three years with United as a bit-part player and he made just four appearances during an injury-ravaged final season with Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
LONDON - Chelsea have called on their fans to show "respect" ahead of what is set to be a highly-charged west London Premier League derby away to Queens Park Rangers. The match will be the first between the clubs since Chelsea and England defender John Terry was found not guilty of using a racial slur against the Hoops' Anton Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last October.
FIANO, Italy - Joel Sjoholm of Sweden shot an 8-under 64 to lead by one stroke from Lee Slattery of England after the first round of the Italian Open on Thursday. Sjoholm made eight birdies on the 7,282-yard Royal Park I Roveri course outside Turin, while Slattery picked up three shots in his last four holes. Seven players were tied for third at 6 under. They are English trio Richard McEvoy, Richard Bland and David Howell, South African duo Garth Mulroy and Keith Horne, Victor Dubuisson of France and Gareth Maybin of Northern Ireland.
MANCHESTER, England - Sir Alex Ferguson was relieved to welcome a fit Robin van Persie back to Manchester ahead of Saturday's clash against Wigan at Old Trafford. The Dutch forward, who has started the season in impressive goal-scoring form for United, came off at halftime of Holland's 4-1 victory over Turkey with a thigh injury.
GOLD COAST, Qld - Wallabies skipper Nathan Sharpe believes Argentina's high-spirited approach and unorthodox methods make them dangerous underdogs at Skilled Park tonight. Captaining Australia in the first Test to be played in his Gold Coast home town, Sharpe is the only member of the Wallabies 22 to have experienced a brutal battle against the Pumas.
SYDNEY - Seven days after being taught a finals lesson by perennial heavyweights Melbourne, South Sydney are aiming to graduate with their first NRL finals victory in 25 years. The Rabbitohs admit they were outclassed by the Storm, but say the lessons they learnt will help them take down Canberra at ANZ Stadium tonight. A win there would be their first in the finals since they beat Balmain 15-12 in a minor preliminary semi-final in 1987.