Thursday, November 4, 2010
LOS ANGELES—Manny Pacquiao says he is ready and 100 percent focused despite distractions outside the ring. His opponent, Antonio Margarito, meanwhile, believes he will defeat the Filipino pound-for-pound champion, something no Mexican fighter has done since Erik Morales in 2005. Pacquiao and Margarito hosted separate media day workouts earlier this week in Los Angeles as both men make final preparations for their middleweight championship showdown at the Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas on November 13.
Both men have a lot at stake in this fight. Pacquiao needs to prove that he can juggle being the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, while serving as a Philippine Congressman.
For Margarito, Pacquiao is his road to redemption. Margarito, who was suspended for a year after being caught loaded wraps before his bout against Sugar Shane Mosley, said defeating Paquiao would help clear his name.In Pacquiao’s training camp, distractions have become the top story. The newly elected Congressman from Sarangani has admitted that while training in Baguio City, Philippines he wasn’t 100 percent focused. His trainer Freddie Roach said it was the worst training camp since they have been together.
"Politics is taking his focus [away]," said Roach. "Manny’s mind is on politics and not sparring. Before politics he was singing and acting and that was just all fun stuff. This is something serious that he takes very seriously and he actually loves being a politician. I have competition now. It used to be just boxing but he loves politics and boxing."
"Even with the other two typhoons he never missed a day of training," added Roach. "(This training camp) he missed a day to meet the President [Benigno Aquino]. I know it’s only one day but that’s how much politics means to him now. So I have competition. I just need to get his focus right and so far, since he’s been in LA, it’s heading into the right direction."
Pacquiao said he is happy to be back in LA, and he’s regained that focus and would be ready for Margarito come November 13.
"My mind is set. I feel like I’m 100 percent conditioned and into this fight," said Pacquiao.
With the focus back, Roach and Pacquiao are preparing for a fierce and motivated opponent.
Margarito has a considerable height and natural weight advantage. Boxing pundits expect Margarito to weigh in 160 pounds during fight night, 10 pounds above the required weight limit.