Tuesday, September 22, 2009
BAGUIO CITY — Manny Pacquiao’s training moved a notch on Tuesday with the arrival of Freddie Roach, who could not help but heap praises on his prized pupil after doing nine hard rounds with the mitts.
“Manny looked today as if he is ready to fight on Saturday,” said an amused Roach.
“Manny’s already sharp and he did what I wanted him to do. He moved as if he’s already been training the past two months.
“The power and the speed is right there today. I am very impressed,” added Roach, whose next concern is how to slow his hardworking fighter after a fiery start.
“He wanted to make an impression on me and he certainly did.”
Roach and conditioning coach Alex Ariza and Wild Card enforcer Rob Peters arrived in Manila from a 15-hour direct flight at 3:45 a.m. from Los Angeles and after clearing customs and immigration an hour later, they were driven to the Philippines’ summer capital on board a van driven by Enrico Tan of Avis. Also on board the van for the six-hour journey was this reporter.
“I am looking forward to working with Manny again,” said Roach, who will be here to spend four, five or even six weeks and help Pacquiao prepare for his November 14 showdown with Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.
“It didn’t take long for Pacquiao and Roach to reconnect as they went through the motions of the punch mitt session just like the olden days when all the master needed was make eye contact and his pupil would respond with a blazing combination.
Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz said that in the succeeding days, Pacquiao’s training will be closed for viewing and it will only be on Thursday next week that members of the media will be allowed to watch the proceedings with the arrival of Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.
Koncz said former Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson will fetch Arum at the airport in Manila then will fly him on board his private plane for the media day scheduled that day, the only time that Pacquiao will let writers, photographer and broadcasters to see him train.
Pacquiao intends to train here until mid-October then move to the Wild Card in Hollywood for the final push but Roach said he won’t be surprised if his fighter opts to spend five or even six weeks here before heading to the US.
Roach, meanwhile, revealed that two sparring partners – Shawn Porter and Urbano Antillon – are flying in from the US this Sunday.
“If we spend more than four weeks here, I will ask one more guy to come over,” said Roach.
Roach said Pacquiao will kick off his sparring session on Tuesday or Thursday next week – depending on Manny’s condition – and not on the physical shape of the sparmates.
“They (sparring partners) get paid,” said Roach.