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Feature Story

Pacquiao to leave RP Oct. 24

By Dennis Principe

Famed American trainer Freddie Roach is heaving a sigh of relief after prized ward Manny Pacquiao assured him they will leave for the United States earlier than expected. Roach said Pacquiao has agreed to fly to Los Angeles on October 24 which will give them more time to recover from jet lag. “That’s the plan. We will have our final training here the morning of the 24th then will take the flight back to LA later that day,” Roach told Fightnews.

Roach insists his main concern is to avoid any ill-effects of long distance traveling and that all their training efforts here in Baguio will not go to waste. Pacquiao has been known to miss few of his flights coming from the Philippines on his way to training camp in Los Angeles.

The hall-of-fame trainer said a win for Pacquiao will only happen if they prepare long and hard for their upcoming foe Miguel Cotto, the world welterweight champion from Puerto Rico.

At stake in their 12-round battle is Cotto’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) 147lb crown with the Puerto Rican agreeing to fight at a catch weight of 145lbs to be staged at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We need to have a perfect fight plan just like what we had when we beat (Oscar) De La Ho ya. Cotto is a lot stronger and has become smarter in his last fight,” said Roach.

Roach said leaving on the 24th will mean they will arrive in Los Angeles Saturday evening, giving Pacquiao an extra day of rest the whole of Sunday.

“We’re going to have two weeks at the Wild Card Gym then our final week will be in Las Vegas. All the adjustments and so forth will not be a factor by that time,” said Roach.

Roach was expecting Pacquiao to schedule their trip two weeks before their November 14 bout. But everything has been turning out to be much better between them in discussing how to wrap up their training.

“I told him we have to leave two weeks before the fight. Anything later than that will create some problems and I don’t want that to happen especially for this type of fight,” said Roach.

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum arrived in the country Thursday morning and proceeded to the country’s summer capital and witness the sparring session of the boxing sensation.

Arum obviously didn’t like what he saw when American sparring partner Shawn Porter peppered Pacquiao with several left jabs.

“He’s gotta be able to fight that speed style which he showed intermittently in today’s sparring. He’s gotta be able to do it the full round every round,” said Arum after witnessing Pacquiao’s four-round sparring.

Though Arum sounded downbeat at least with what he saw that day, the astute promoter quickly added there is still enough time for Pacquiao to get himself in fighting shape.

“It’s a work in progress. He has a lot further to go which is normal because he‘s gotta have to give weeks and weeks of training. He’s got a lot of work to do,” said Arum.

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