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Friday, October 16, 2009

All work, no play for Freddie

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MANILA, Philippines - Freddie Roach has fallen in love with Baguio City but while admitting the summer capital is a romantic place, he said yesterday there’s no time for romance as it’s all business in Manny Pacquiao’s training camp.

A certified bachelor, Roach said he’s currently unattached. “No Filipina girlfriend,” he added. “Not yet.”

Roach, who arrived in Manila from Los Angeles early morning last Sept. 22 and immediately went to Baguio City to work out with Pacquiao that afternoon, said he was never against training in the high-altitude location, about 5,000 feet above sea level.

“I was never against it,” he said from his Manor House suite. “I was concerned about the time zone, the jet lag Manny will have to overcome when he flies to the US. But I think adjusting is no problem. We’ll arrive in Los Angeles three weeks before the fight.”

Pacquiao set up camp in Baguio City last Sept. 20. He will break camp and leave for Manila next Thursday. Then, Pacquiao will train for two days at Gerry Peñalosa’s gym in the Marketplace Mall on Kalentong Street, Mandaluyong. On Saturday night, Oct. 24, Pacquiao and his team will depart for Los Angeles via Philippine Airlines.

Roach said the plan to train at Rod Nazario’s Wild Card Gym in Parañaque after coming down from Baguio was scrapped because the ring in Peñalosa’s facility is more suited for sparring.

“Manny’s hitting harder and he’s stronger than ever before,” said Roach. “I can feel his power when we do the mitts.”

As for Baguio, Roach said there’s no difference training in the city or the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.

“The Shape-Up Gym (in Cooyeesan Hotel Plaza) is a beautiful facility, no different from our Wild Card,” said Roach. “We’re doing everything we would be doing at Wild Card. When we’re training, we don’t let the fans in just like at Wild Card so it’s the same situation. We follow the same schedule, run in the morning and do work in the gym in the afternoon. We do the same thing wherever we are. We train just as hard in Los Angeles or anywhere else. Right now, we’re enjoying our best training camp ever. Manny’s comfortable and he’s happy. We’ve got the best quality sparring partners and that’s vital.”

Roach said when it’s not storming, Baguio City is the perfect place to be.

“It’s a wonderful city,” he said. “It’s sunny in the morning then it gets cloudy but pleasant in the afternoon. You can’t do anything about the typhoons. That’s Mother Nature at work. But there’s no upside to the storms. We prefer no typhoons. I heard there’s another storm coming this weekend.”

Roach said he doesn’t mind the fans crowding him for photographs and autographs. “I think Filipino fans are great,” he said. “I love the Filipino people. It’s a good feeling that they recognize me for what I’ve done in boxing and with Manny.”

Roach said when Pacquiao reports for training in Los Angeles, he will go hard in the first week and spar 12 rounds.

“We’ll fly in Saturday,” said Roach. “Manny will rest on Sunday then we start heavy training on Monday. We’ve got two weeks in Los Angeles before we drive to Las Vegas on the Monday of fight week. We’ll be ready for Cotto on Nov. 14.”

Pacquiao and Cotto agreed to face off at a catchweight limit of 145 pounds with the Puerto Rican’s WBO welterweight crown at stake.

The other day, Pacquiao weighed in at 146 pounds after sparring with Porter, Antillon and Castillo.

Roach said Pacquiao should make the 145-pound limit easily and he expects the ring icon to climb the ring at 149, no more than 150, even if Cotto will likely enter close to 160.

Antillon, 27, is scheduled to fly out to Los Angeles today after staying three weeks in Baguio. He is preparing for a comeback after suffering his first loss to Miguel Acosta last July. Antillon once knocked out Pacquiao’s brother Bobby in a single round and has a 26-1 record, with 19 KOs. His departure leaves Pacquiao with Shawn Porter, Danny Escobar and former two-time WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo as sparmates.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=514917&publicationSubCategoryId=69

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