By Eddie G. Alinea and Dennis Principe
Courtesy of The Philippine Gazette
Baguio City, yes. Manila, no.
This was how famed trainer Freddie Roach answered a query whether he would again allow Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao to establish his training camp in Baguio for his future fights.
“Baguio is very good. The weather is cold and very pleasant. It’s an ideal place for altitude training needed by any fighter to prepare for a bout,” Roach said after the world junior- welterweight wound up his five-week training stint Saturday at the Gerry Penalosa Gym in Mandaluyong City.
“The most important thing is in Baguio, there were no disturbance,” he said.
“Had it not for the typhoons that hit the city, we could have stayed there for five weeks and attain fully what we planned to accomplish,” he said, reiterating that if he will have his way and Pacquiao again decides to train here, he will recommend it.
The 49-year-old Hall of Famer added though that Manila, where Pacquiao undergone the last week of his preparation, will be his last choice, if ever the capital city will again be considered owing to what he said were distractions that, in one way or the other, affected Pacquiao’s training.
Roach was referring to a pair of workouts that were canceled because of sign of tiredness on the part of his boxer, which he attributed to his staying late at night entertaining visitors, mostly politicians and movie personalities.
“There’s just too much going on in Manila, but we were forced to be here because of the typhoons,” Roach said.
Despite the disruptions Roach assured that the preparations went well and that whatever delay incurred, the training team will make up when the group arrive in Los Angeles where Pacquiao will stay for two weeks before proceeding to Las Vegas where he will battle world welterweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.
The welterweight championship fight titled “Firepower,” is set November 14 at the MGM Grand Arena.
“I’m not really worried. He’s (Pacquiao) in great shape he just got to get his mind on track and we’ll have no problems,” said Roach hours before they left for the United States Saturday evening.
Pacquiao himself expressed satisfaction with the way his training went.
“Gumanda ang kondisyon ko. Pagkatapos ng lamig sa Baguio, init naman dito sa Maynila. Medyo nakatulong sa endurance ko,” he told GAZETTE.
Pacquiao opted not to train in Hollywood because he is nearing the limit of his maximum allowable stay, as a non-US resident, in the United States.
Under the Substantial Presence Test, Pacquiao, if he stays beyond the limit, would have to pay taxes based on his earnings worldwide.
Meantime Pacquiao arrived in Los Angeles Sunday morning (Manila time) where he will undergo two more weeks of training at the Roach-owned Wild Card Gym in Hollywood starting today.
Top photo: Six-time world champion pound-for-pound king Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (R), General Santos, Philippines gets help with his gloves from chief trainer Freddie Roach (ctr) and members of Team Pacquiao at the Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood Monday during his first day of training since arriving in the United States on Saturday. Pacquiao is preparing for his upcoming “FIREPOWER” World Welterweight championship fight against three-time world champion and the pride of Puerto Rico Miguel Cotto, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Pacquiao vs Cotto is promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions,Cotto Promotions,MGM Grand and Tecate, will take place, Saturday,November 14 at the sold out MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be available live on HBO Pay Per View.