MANILA, Philippines – Freddie Roach will be in for a surprise when he checks on Manny Pacquiao as soon as they begin their eight-week training for the Nov. 13 title fight with Antonio Margarito at the Cowboys Stadium in Texas.
Roach is scheduled to leave Los Angeles this weekend, just in time for the official start of their training on Monday.
Pacquiao has loosened up the last couple of days, taking morning jogs and a couple of trips to the ElordeBoxing Gym in Quezon City, very near the House of Representatives, his home as a congressman.
Based on those who saw Pacquiao train, the 31-year-old pound-for-pound champion moved like he’s never been away from the gym, considering that he’s been out of action for close to six months now.
The last time Pacquiao was on the ring was March 14 when he overpowered Joshua Clottey in 12 rounds.
“Parang hindi nagbabago ang bilis. Timing na lang ang kailangan (Nothing has changed when it comes to speed. Timing is all he needs),” said his trusted close-in guy, Jojo Sta. Teresa.
Roach is flying in with Pacquiao’s sparring partners. They are Rashad Holloway, undefeated junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan and Glen Tapia. Another name, Michael Medina, is also in the mix.
Roach had wanted to bring in Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as one of the sparring partners but Bob Arum was somehow against the idea.
“I’ve just been getting the right sparring partners and working on that right now. I guess I have the right guys now and I don’t see it being a hard fight. We’re too fast for him and I think we’ll knock Margarito out,” Roach told the Las Vegas Examiner.
Pacquiao himself is confident that getting in shape for his next fight will come sooner than expected. While outside the ring, he said he made sure he kept his weight in check.
“I’m 150 to 151 right now,” he said, meaning there’s very little effort needed to keep him close to where his handlers want him to be for his WBC super-welterweight (154 lb) clash with Margarito.
There’s a catchweight of 151 lb, and Pacquiao’s strength conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, will have to let Pacquiao put in some extra weight to make sure there’s something to burn while he works out.
Pacquiao said he wants to climb the ring at 150 lb or probably a couple more bites heavier than that as he faces the 5-foot-11 Margarito.
“Hatton should fix his life for the sake of his family and himself. He should not be engaged in that kind of activity because he is a family man. Kawawa ‘yung pamilya niya at nakikiramay ako sa kanya (It’s his family that would suffer and I sympathize with him) for what he is going through now”, Pacquiao said when interviewed yesterday by The STAR at his home in Laguna.
Hatton was seen in a video showing him sniffing cocaine.
Pacquiao also advised Mayweather Jr. to change his ways.
“Kahit marami siyang masamang salita laban sa akin ay hindi ako nagagalit sa kanya, naawa pa nga ako sa kanya. Dapat ituwid na niMayweather ang kaniyang buhay ngayon (Though he had said some nasty things about me, I don’t take it against him. In fact, I pity him. He should fix his life this time),” Pacquiao said.
Mayweather was jailed briefly last week due to domestic violence when he allegedly hit his ex-girlfriend and stole her cell phone during an argument in front of their three children. – with report from Rose Tamayo-Tesoro