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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pacquiao, Roach give HBO more to work with than Cotto does

Pacquiao Cotto 24/7
Miguel Cotto has a low voice, like Sonny Liston’s, but HBO is hard-put to portray him in much depth, especially when Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach have been wading through floodwaters in the Philippines all month.

HBO’s second episode of “24/7: Pacquaio/Cotto” premiering Saturday will do its best as Cotto “continues his training in Tampa, Fla., and is treated to a birthday celebration by his wife and children.” But here’s betting HBO’s serial documentary will remain more one-sided than the fight will be.

The ending of episode one was fascinating, with Roach growing exasperated with Pacquiao’s refusal to flee the Philippines and minimize the training distractions in the final three weeks, and Pacquaio in subtle rebellion before making amends.

The aftermath was the highlight of a press conference staged Wednesday by Top Rank. It could just as easily been produced by HBO, as Roach got to the heart of the issues raised by episode one.

“There were no disagreements in camp,” Roach said. “I just felt it was urgent that we do get out of there before the typhoon hit. . . . Manny was more relaxed about it, and I told him that I would be waiting in Manila for him, just trying to get him motivated to go. That night at midnight he got motivated for me to go and he called me and said ‘let’s go.’ So we left at midnight and went right to Manila.”

As for our impression that distractions had reduced Pacquiao’s training focus? “Those first four weeks were the best that we ever had,” Roach said. “Manny was on fire from day one. . . . The last week in Manila was a little tougher, with the politicians trying to make meetings with Manny and pulling him in every direction they could. Those five days in Manila were not that great, but the first four weeks were great.”

Setting up episode two, Roach said “Now we are back at the Wild Card, and Manny boxed great yesterday and had 10 good rounds, and he’s about 95 percent there right now and we are ready to go.”

Pacquiao concurred. “I feel I am 100 percent conditioned,” he said, “and I can’t wait for November 14th. As for the emotional pull of typhoon aftermath, “it is very difficult for me, but I have to focus on my fight because nobody can help me in the ring. I am not only fighting for me, but I am also fighting for my country.”

Although Pacquiao stays within his limits when he’s speaking English, his eyes and his surroundings are frequently revealing, and he seems to relish the “24/7” coverage even when he finds it embarrassing.

Meanwhile, Cotto has made his training camp as placid as possible by shifting it from Puerto Rico to Tampa. So far, my favorite thing about him is that his best friend is obese, suggesting Cotto is not a superficial person and deserves more than a superficial portrayal. It’s hard to imagine the birthday party there will yield anything as revealing or artistic as that last scene a week ago in Baguio.

Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-802-SF-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m10d29-Pacquiao-Roach-give-HBO-more-to-work-with-than-Cotto-does

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