By Nick Giongco
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said Mexican president Felipe Calderon will roll out the red carpet for Manny Pacquiao if the Filipino pound-for-pound king decides to spend the first half of his training camp in the world-famous resort city of Cancun in the Yucatan Peninsula. Arum said Calderon will be on hand to welcome Pacquiao, who has a scheduled Nov. 14 fight with Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao has been advised to train outside the US to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes after it was discovered that he has surpassed the allowed number of days for non-residents the last three years.
An IRS provision called the Substantial Presence Test has been explained fully to Pacquiao and the fighter has trained his sights on the Bahamas, Vancouver, Canada and Mexico as candidates to host the first four or five weeks of training camp.
Pacquiao told Fightnews and Manila Bulletin during a visit to his ailing former chief handler Rod Nazario on Friday that he will fulfill his promotional obligation by going on a four-city press tour that kicks off at Yankee Stadium in New York on Sept. 10. The following stops will be San Juan in Puerto Rico on the 12th, San Francisco on the 13th and Los Angeles on the 14th.
After the press tour, Pacquiao, 30, said he will likely return to the Philippines to train possibly in Baguio City before deciding where to set up camp with Freddie Roach, his training assistants and sparring partners.
Pacquiao told Nazario, who hosted a party in celebration of the ninth anniversary of the popular weekly show In This Corner, that Cotto is a dangerous opponent although those who were in attendance, including long-time supporters Moy Lainez, Gerry Garcia and Lito Mondejar erupted in laughter when the lethal-hitting lefty delivered those words.
Nazario was Pacquiao’s business manager from 1995 until 2005 and it was the boxing old-timer who made it possible for Pacquiao to make his US debut in June 2001.