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Monday, November 9, 2009

Pacquiao: Weighty worry hounds Cotto

HOLLYWOOD—Going by Miguel Cotto’s website updates, you’d think that the Puerto Rican boxing star is running a very relaxed camp.

Manny Pacquiao isn’t convinced, though.

The pound-for-pound king, who has been jovial and worry-free for several training days now, thinks Cotto is still shedding off pounds with about eight days to go before their Nov. 14 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“I think he’s dieting,” said Pacquiao.

Several foreign journalists who saw Cotto during his press preview Tuesday think he’s even crash-dieting.

In contrast, Pacquiao is enjoying the benefits of fighting in a heavier weight—he gets to eat more.

“Because of my training, I need to eat,” Pacquiao told reporters after five more rounds of sparring at the Wild Card gym. “We’re making sure that I don’t go under the weight.”

The Filipino icon is expected to start tapering off from his beastly regimen as he prepares to leave for Las Vegas in two days’ time.

Pacquiao normally weighs at 149 pounds, but his weight easily goes down to 146 after training.

He sparred against Urbano Antillon and Ray Beltran on Saturday, before heading off to an engagement. He was delayed a few minutes because of crowd issues at the Wild Card parking area, but the Los Angeles Police Department sent squad cars to solve the problem.

The crowd was eventually dispersed in about an hour.

Cotto, meanwhile, in his last two posts on his Twitter account, said he has little worries going into the homestretch of his camp.

“[I’m] at the house, resting,” Cotto posted. The Puerto Rican, who will stake his WBO welterweight crown against Pacquiao, was watching an HBO primer on the fight Saturday, saying “Today’s 24/7 was really good.”

Reacting to a well-wisher, Cotto posted in Spanish: “I feel good. I trained hard but I’m very happy.”

Pacquiao feels that weight issues favor his bid to become the first fighter to win seven world championships in as many weight divisions, noting how tough it was to meet the super featherweight limit of 130 lb when he dominated that class.

“It has a big effect on a fighter,” said Pacquiao. “When a fighter is engaged in a tight battle, it becomes a disadvantage if he had to lose weight before the fight.”

Several journalists who watched Cotto pegged the Puerto Rican’s weight at 150 to 152 lb. Even Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, believes that Cotto is struggling to make the weight.

But Cotto’s own conditioning coach, Phil Landman, said his ward will easily meet the catch weight of 145.

“We’ll be fine during the weigh-in,” Landman told reporters Tuesday.

With Team Pacquiao motoring to Las Vegas Monday, the boxer is expected to take it easy Sunday and skip his regular jogging schedule.

He will spar four or five more rounds Monday before leading a huge convoy through the four-hour road trip to Las Vegas. He already has 149 rounds of sparring thus far.

Source: inquirer.net

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