Thursday, September 17, 2009
LOS ANGELES — They smiled at each other, shook each other’s hands, and hardly spoke ill of the other during the media blitz that took them to five other stops from the US East Coast down to the Caribbean and to the West Coast the past seven days.
But come fight night on November 14 in Las Vegas, Miguel Cotto isn’t going to think twice of laying his best shots on Manny Pacquiao.
“It’s just work,” Cotto told the gathering of scribes at the Beverly Hills Hotel during the penultimate stop of the five-city press tour that brought them to New York, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, here and further down south to San Diego during the conclusion of the media blitz for the fight dubbed "Firepower".
“If I don’t hit him, he’s going to do it against me, you know,” said the 28-year-old Cotto, who defends his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown at the MGM Grand.
Aside from the WBO strap, Pacquiao and Cotto are also slugging it out for the newly-created World Boxing Council (WBC) Diamond Belt that WBC chief Jose Sulaiman specially made for the fight that will be fought at a catch weight of 145 lbs.
Pacquiao also didn’t bash Cotto during interviews, telling everyone who asked him that he has so much respect for the Puerto Rican pride.
“I have nothing bad to say about Miguel Cotto,” said Pacquiao. “We’ll just be doing our jobs.”
Cotto was no longer around when the tour made its way to San Diego on Tuesday, having opted to return to his hometown of Caguas in Puerto Rico to get ready for the trip to his training camp in Tampa, Florida, where his team is expected to arrive this weekend.
Pacquiao also didn’t waste time and after taking center stage at the Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, he flew back here on a private plane so he could catch a Philippine Airlines flight that eventually brought him back to Manila on Thursday morning.
Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz said they’ll travel to Baguio on Sunday to begin the four-week grind there.
“We won’t wait for (trainer) Freddie (Roach) to arrive so we’ll go ahead,” said Koncz.
Roach is expected to arrive either Monday or Tuesday with conditioning coach Alex Ariza and possibly a couple of sparring partners.