Feature Story

Pacquiao defends Koncz

By Nick Giongco

Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao shielded his Canadian adviser Michael Koncz from criticisms from various sectors of the fight game over the weekend, telling an assembled media in a luxurious hotel that he (Koncz) doesn’t act without his go signal. “Mike doesn’t act alone. Whenever he does something for me, you can be rest assured that it is with my permission,” said Pacquiao. “I like him because he does what I tell him to do. He has my confidence.”

Koncz was embroiled in a controversy recently after engaging top trainer Freddie Roach in a heated exchange of words over the still-unresolved matter of where Pacquiao will be setting up his training camp.

During that same forum with the members of the press, Pacquiao said he will begin training in Baguio upon his arrival from a five-city press/publicity tour beginning Sept. 10 in New York. From New York, Pacquiao and his team will travel to Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Roach had wanted that Pacquiao and him train in the mountains of Toluca in Mexico where there’ll be no distractions, fearing that Pacquiao’s decision to remain in the Philippines could mess up their preparations for the Nov. 14 fight with Miguel Cotto.

But long-time Pacquiao friend Buboy Fernandez, who is also one of Roach’s assistants, told Fightnews and Manila Bulletin that Roach need not worry about getting distracted once they begin training in Baguio.

Fernandez said he just inspected the facilities in a boxing gym inside a local hotel and found it up to the task.

“Coach Freddie will like the gym and the location,” said Fernandez, stressing that Pacquiao fans will not be allowed to get inside while they are in training.

Despite his dislike for Baguio, Roach said he has no choice but to travel to the Philippines, saying that he will do his best to make sure Pacquiao will be more than ready for Cotto.

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