Saturday, October 23, 2010
CALIFORNIA, United States—World pound-for-pound champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao stands to earn as much as $25 million from his November 13 fight against Mexican American Antonio "Tijuana Tornado" Margarito, according to his promoter Bob Arum.
"Manny is guaranteed $15 million for the fight, and including his share from the pay-per-view upside, he could make as much as $22 million to $25 million," Arum said in a phone interview from Manila.
Arum, chief executive of Top Rank Promotions, predicts that Pacquiao vs Margarito will exceed the almost 1.2 million PPV sales generated by Pacquiao's fight with Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto last November 14.
The top boxing impresario also said Margarito, who is guaranteed $3 million for his biggest pay check, could earn as much as $7 million to $8 million if the PPV sales hit 1.3 million or more, as expected.
Arum said he was glad that Pacquiao, who has had a hard time keeping his training schedule, is finally focusing on his preparations for his stab at a record-extending eighth world title in as many weight classes.
He stressed that Pacquiao has to be at his best to beat the bigger and stronger Margarito.
"I know that Margarito is training extra hard for this fight. I know that for a fact because I get updates from my fighters' camps," Arum said. "Manny is everyone's favorite, but if he comes less that 100 percent for the fight he could lose."
The Hall of Fame promoter branded as "crazy" the widening odds which showed Pacquiao now a 6-1 favorite in some online betting outlets to steamroll Margarito.
"Six-to-one odd is just crazy. To me the odds should be something like 2-1 or thereabouts," he explained.
Arum said tickets sales for the fight at the state-of-the-art Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas are selling briskly, adding that he expects the live gate to hit 60,000 to 70,000.
Arum said he is flying out of Manila Thursday afternoon and expects to get to Las Vegas almost the same time due to the 15-hour time difference.
He said that Pacquiao is scheduled to leave for Los Angeles Saturday night to resume his training at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood owned by his trainer Freddie Roach.
Arum said Pacquiao will hold a media day on Wednesday at the Wild Card Gym to be followed the following day by Margarito's turn to show off his wares to the press.
Robert Garcia, Margarito's trainer, confirmed that Margarito will hold his media day past noon at the Fortune Gym, a 1950s-style gym on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood. The gym is owned by former heavyweight contender Justin Fortune of Australia.
Garcia said Margarito sparred eight rounds Wednesday afternoon and will spar 10 rounds on Friday.
Margarito 'very sharp'
"Tony (Margarito's nickname) is very sharp. You should see for yourself," he enthused by phone. "We're having an excellent training camp, and we're right at the stage [of preparations] that we want to be."
He said his prized Mexican American fighter will spar 12 rounds for the last time on Monday and then gradually taper down.
In Baguio City, meanwhile, Roach told the Manila media that they have two more weeks of rigorous training, even as he assured that Pacquiao would be in tip-top shape on the night of the fight.
The heavy training, Roach added, would include more sparring with tougher spar mates, including undefeated junior middleweight contender Vanes Matirosyan (28-0, 17 by knockouts) of Glendale, California.
The six-foot Matirosyan, who fights with the ferocity of Margarito, is expected to give Pacquiao the kind of workout that would prime the Filipino icon for his tough battle with the hard-punching Tijuana Tornado.
Antonio Margarito is a 6½-to-1 underdog against Manny Pacquiao. And most boxing writers believe those odds, as lopsided as they are, give the former welterweight titleholder the benefit of the doubt.
The prevailing thought on Margarito is that he has virtually no shot at beating a fighter as superbly talented as Pacquiao, especially given the manner in which he was pummeled by an aging Shane Mosley after he was caught with illegal knuckle pads in his gloves.
Many fans and members of the sports media were outraged that Margarito, whose license was revoked by California‘s boxing commission, received an opportunity to be in the same ring with the sport’s biggest attraction.
To many, the only silver lining to this dark cloud over the sport is the knowledge that Margarito, a plodding pressure fighter who did not look sharp during a comeback fight in May, will not only be hopelessly outclassed by Pacquiao but brutally beaten into submission.
But what if Margarito’s day of reckoning somehow becomes his day of redemption?
What if Margarito beats Pacquiao? How would the media react to that inconceivable upset? How would fans view it?
“It’s almost unthinkable,” said Martin Rogers, a columnist for Yahoo! Sports who believes Margarito probably knew what was going into his wraps the night of the Mosley fight. “But then we hear reports out of the Philippines about how unfocused Pacquiao has been in camp. We hear that Margarito has been looking strong in camp. Say what you will about Margarito’s level of skill, but the man can fight. I suppose we have to give (an upset) some plausibility.
“Personally, I hope it doesn’t happen. I didn’t think Margarito’s ban from the sport was long enough, and I certainly don’t think he deserved this fight with Pacquiao.”
Rogers isn’t alone in that opinion. Some members of the media will view a Margarito victory as a complete failure of the sport’s ability to govern itself. Sergio Machado, the programming director for Fanaticos.com, the Spanish-language sports section of AOLLatino.com, is among them.
“If Margarito beats Pacquiao, my immediate reaction will be to ask Margarito if he thinks the victory finally erases the handwraps controversy from his image,” Machado told RingTV.com. “My sense is that it doesn’t, but I would like to know his answer. It’s tough to analyze a case in which a guy is being accused of something he says he had no idea about, and there’s no way to prove if he’s innocent or guilty. But the bottom line is that his case is a total mess, and I strongly believe that the lack of authority in boxing and promoters controlling too much in the sport is the main cause of it. Boxers should be responsible at all times for what goes in and around their wraps, and if something is not right they should be punished, harshly. However, there’s nothing written in the sport’s rules to specifically address this with a clearly defined penalty. There’s nothing that states on paper that a boxer should be out of the sport for X amount of time because his team, the team that bears his name on their backs, tried to load his gloves.
“No authority means anarchy, and in Margarito’s case, anarchy and soft punishment will have prevailed if he wins on Nov. 13.”
Bert Sugar views the scenario of a Margarito victory in much simpler terms.
“Boxing would lose if Margarito won because Pacquiao is such a lovable hero, and Margarito is a sullied non-hero with a mark against him,” said the boxing historian and noted author.
However, Sugar doesn’t believe an upset will constitute the “black eye for the sport” that many boxing writers will claim it to be.
“Nobody has more cynicism than the boxing press,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll find something wrong with Pacquiao if he loses. They’ll say he looked past Margarito. They’ll still think Margarito had something in his gloves. They’ll maintain the mental hard-on with the wraps, I guarantee you that, and they’ll say it’s the worst thing the sport has ever had to endure.”
More-controversial figures than Margarito have been the focal point of the sport, according to the 73-year-old journalist, including Sonny Liston and Mike Tyson, both of whom claimed the heavyweight title (or a portion of it) following prison terms for violent crimes.
“I don’t put Margarito into the Liston and Tyson category,” Sugar said. “I’ll put him into the ‘comes-back-from-the-discarded-pile’ category if he somehow wins, because he’s not just coming back from a suspension, he’s coming back from what looked like a career-ending beating from Mosley.”
Rogers believes overcoming those obstacles will likely endear Margarito to many fans.
“One thing I’ve noticed about American culture, especially where sports figures are concerned, is that Americans love a redemption story,” said Rogers, a native of Britain who moved to the U.S. a little over three years ago. “I think Americans are quicker to forgive than Europeans are. When I first moved to the U.S., Michael Vick had just pleaded guilty to his part in running an illegal dog fighting ring. I thought his career was over. If you had asked me then if Vick would ever play in the NFL again after doing his jail time, I would have told you no, unequivocally. But now he’s not only back in the NFL and starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, he seems to have been forgiven by most football fans.
“I think the same thing can happen with Margarito. A lot of people will say ‘Wow, this guy came through a rough patch in his life and beat the best fighter on the planet.’ He will generate some degree of support by beating the odds. It will make for a fascinating story that people will cling to.”
The redemption aspect of a Margarito victory that Rogers speaks of is something that will likely resonate with Mexican boxing fans, according to Machado.
“From what we’ve been reading on our message boards, my sense is that a huge majority in México supports Antonio Margarito,” Machado said. “Within that majority, probably a strong 70 percent thinks he’s innocent and believes what Antonio has said about the night of the Mosley fight. The other 30 percent probably thinks Margarito already went through the right punishment and should be allowed to fight again.
“From this I gather that, at least to the Mexican and Mexican-American community, an upset by Margarito will be perceived as the final step towards redemption. I think they will celebrate it big and in some weird way forget about the hand-wrap episode.”
However Machado is quick to point out that not all Latino and Latino-American fight fans feel the same way about Margarito.
“Other Latino communities, those not related to Mexico, generally view Margarito as a cheater," he said. "I see that especially with Puerto Rican fans. The Puerto Rico-Mexico rivalry in boxing probably plays a part in this, but I know many Puerto Ricans are dying to see Margarito get knocked out by Pacquiao. They have a strong reason for this beyond the historic rivalry because most of them think Margarito had loaded gloves against Miguel Cotto.”
But what about the general public, the casual boxing fan who hasn’t followed Margarito’s plight beyond what he or she will watch on HBO’s 24/7 series?
Rogers believes the less an individual knows about the sport the more he or she will be inclined to accept, or even embrace, a Margarito victory.
“The quickest group to forgive him will be the general public, those who don’t really follow boxing except for the one or two big events the sport puts on every year,” Rogers said. “They know who Pacquiao is. They know he’s the man. They don’t really know who Margarito is, but most people like to get behind the underdog. Hardcore fans will have a mixed immediate reaction but will probably follow the casual fans in forgiving Margarito. Even if they view Margarito as a bad guy, I think they’ll be interested in what comes next. Boxing has revolved around its two stars -- Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather -- for the past 18 months even though they haven’t fought each other. A Margarito victory breaks the logjam.
"All talk of Pacquiao-Mayweather ceases for talk of a Margarito-Pacquiao rematch, and fans might welcome something new.”
Rogers says the last group in boxing to accept a Margarito victory will be that “cynical bunch” that Sugar spoke of.
“I don’t want to speak for all of the media, but I think most of the press will be slower to forgive Margarito, if at all,” said Rogers, who counts himself among that group. “Those who know fighters, especially those who know fighters who have suffered some degree of neurological problems due to punches they’ve taken in the ring, will not forget about what Margarito almost did.
“To those who know how much damage loaded gloves can do to a human being, and this group includes most prize fighters as well as the media, I don’t think a victory over Pacquiao will ever right the wrong that was done.”
Freddie Roach might have been the most relieved man in the world on Oct. 23 when Manny Pacquiao’s training camp wrapped up in the Philippines and his team flew to America to set up its base.
Training will resume at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif. where the entourage will go through two weeks of heavy workouts and then head east to Dallas, Texas on Nov. 8 for the final week of preparation for Pacquiao’s showdown with Antonio Margarita on Nov. 13.
The group trained in the Philippines for four weeks and the sessions produced mixed results. Whether its honesty or gamesmanship, Roach told the BBC he’s a little worried about the fight. The main concern is Pacquiao’s speed or lack of it at the moment. But that can be considered natural as he’s moved up in weight from 106 lbs to 151 during his career.
It became apparent to Roach that Pacquiao also has other things on his mind these days, considering he has the added responsibilities of being a congressman. Pacquiao takes his position seriously and doesn’t want to let his countrymen down after being elected in the May Philippine elections.
It’s believed his Pacquiao’s political duties interfered with training to some degree. He left camp for Manila twice, one time to meet the president of the Philippines. He also missed his roadwork on occasion because of bad weather and tiredness from playing basketball. However, he did still train in the rain a couple of times.
Pacquiao wrapped up camp in his homeland by sparring 10 rounds, but Roach said his boxer was playing too much during the session. It appeared Roach couldn’t get to the USA ,where he’s hoping there’ll be fewer distractions from now on.
The team will resume training at the Wild Card on Oct. 25 and it looks like Roach is going to put his foot down for the next two weeks at least. He said he’s going to close the gym from lunchtime until 5pm everyday so Pacquiao can concentrate on training and nothing else. He wasn’t happy with the number of people who were present during sparring sessions in the Philippines. There’s no doubt Roach will feel at home at the Wild Card considering he owns and runs the club and trains his fighters there most of the time.
Roach added that he’s looking for a more serious atmosphere in L.A. and hopes Pacquiao kicks his sparring into high gear instead of taking things easy. But sparring partners Michael Medina and WBA Jr. Welterweight Champion Amir Khan said it’s hard to judge a boxer on sparring alone because nobody really gives it 100 percent. Khan said Pacquiao has the power and speed to stop Margarito late in the fight or take a decision to add the WBC Super Welterweight Championship to his WBO welterweight title.
Roach’s tactics may be paying off already -- Pacquiao has reportedly cancelled an appearance at San Diego’s Barona Resort and Casino on Oct. 24. to concentrate on training. If things go according to plan, Pacquiao should be back up to speed by the time the team heads to Texas.
Bodog.com has the odds of Pacquiao beating Margarito at 4/23 and the odds of the underdog Margarito winning set at 15/4
Over the last few weeks, reports from the training camp of Manny Pacquiao have been mixed to say the least. At times Pacquiao appears to be impressing with his work ethic and rapid progress, at others he is reported to be struggling in sparring and having trouble with his motivation.
Only yesterday, trainer Freddie Roach hinted that Pacquiao would be retiring from the sport in the near future to concentrate on his political duties, and that he doesn't have the same kind of passion for boxing that he once did. Talking to the BBC world service, who are putting together a documentary on the highly decorated fighter, Roach said:
"We are going to lose Manny Pacquiao to politics, for sure"
"After the first couple of days of training Manny came up to me and said 'I miss my job', and I said 'you're at your job', and he said 'no, I miss Congress'."
Immediately, discussion amongst fans began over whether this would be Pacquiao's last fight, whether he is losing interest and whether, as a result, Margarito has a good chance of an upset.
Many of those fans though must have a short memory.
Before Pacquiao's recent fights with both Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey, sources within his camp hinted that he was considering retirement and that each could be his last fight. The reason given then was that his mother wanted him to retire, now it is that his political duties are causing him to lose interest.
Similarly, Manny said that he would fight only once more after being elected as a congressman. He has also said the same thing before though, stating before the Clottey fight that his mother had given her blessing for him to fight once more. So in that regard, it appears that nothing is set in stone.
Pacquiao himself has yet to comment on what his trainer said, and the fact that all these revelations about his struggles in training and possible impending retirement are coming before he fights an opponent very few perceive as a real challenge can't be ignored.
Clearly, from the undercard Top Rank have added to the card, there were concerns that the fight might not sell as well as he would like. The solution? Simply make the main event appear to be a lot closer than it probably will be, which in this case meant reports that Pacquiao was struggling or unmotivated.
Roach's recent comments were also in stark contrast to those of Bob Arum, who talking to Michael Marley only last week was happy to reel off a shortlist of Pacquiao's potential next opponents for the new year. In the same interview he also mentioned that Pacquiao would be sticking to welterweight in the future, and that he would be fighting twice in the new year.
Which doesn't sound much like a fighter on the verge of walking away from the sport. Neither does it sound like a fighter that his promoter is concerned will lose his next fight.
If this is the case, why the hard sell from Arum and Roach?
When Margarito was first announced as an opponent for Pacquiao, across the board the feeling was that the fight would be an easy one for Pacquiao. Margarito hadn't performed well in his last couple of fights, and even at his best has the kind of sluggish movement and slow starting that fighters like Pacquiao are great at exploiting.
Even now, after the mixed reports from Pacquiao's camp the odds for the fight are as long as they ever were, and the expected result according to the bookmakers is a knockout win for Pacquiao in under ten rounds. A result not pegged as the most likely outcome before his fights against either Cotto or Clottey.
So while Margarito could be a tougher opponent that he is being given credit for, purely because of his size and weight advantages, don't expect to see any of Pacquiao's supposed training issues on display in November. And don't expect to see Pacquiao hang up his gloves any time soon either.
Cliff Thorne, Pitt: "Pacquiao says he's retiring before every fight, but he needs to keep fighting to stay popular especially if he wants to get further in politics"
Harry Reynald, Akron: "They have to sell the fight somehow, and Margarito's last two fights aren't going to sell a million pay per views"
MANILA, Philippines — Manny Pacquiao “played a bit too much” in logging 10 rounds of sparring Saturday afternoon, chief trainer Freddie Roach said after presiding over the Filipino fighter’s final workout in the country, a little over three weeks before the Nov. 13 collision with Antonio Margarito in Dallas.
Team Pacquiao was scheduled to leave for Los Angeles Saturday night and Roach is looking forward to the start of training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood this Monday.
“I am closing the (Wild Card) gym from 12 noon to 5 p.m.,” said Roach, obviously pissed that there were simply too many people inside the Elorde Gym during the sparring with Amir Khan and Michael Medina.
Pacquiao did three rounds with Medina, had four with Khan and had another three with Medina before doing the other gym staples.
Roach said he expects the atmosphere at the Wild Card to be a lot serious than the ones he had seen in Manila and even in Baguio where he spent four weeks with the 31-year-old Pacquiao.
Pacquiao had his moments during the intense session with the world super-lightweight champion Khan, who gave a good account of himself against the world’s No. 1 boxer.
“Manny just loves to play,” said Roach, who did not sound very alarmed that Pacquiao has been taking it nice and easy.
“By fight time, we will be there,” said Roach.
Khan and Medina also defended Pacquiao’s antics, saying it’s hard and even not right to judge a mere sparring session.
“You don’t give your 100 percent in sparring,” said Khan. “Manny has speed and power and he will beat Margarito by late-round stoppage or 12-round decision.”
Khan theorized that “Manny could have taken it easy with me today.”
Medina echoed the same sentiments, saying Pacquiao remains topnotch.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao said he would be happy to face Floyd Mayweather before Filipino fight fans in what is likely to become a sequel to the epic 1975 Thrilla in Manila but clarified that staging such an ambitious promotion would depend on whether the country has what it takes to match Las Vegas' outlandish ways.
“Ang tanong ay kung kaya ba ng bulsa natin,” said Pacquiao when asked about fighting again on local soil. "Talagang gusto ko ulit na lumaban sa harap ng ating mga kababayan pero talagang malaki ang budget na kailangan para dyan."
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is very confident of his chances against “Tijuana Tornado” Antonio Margarito of Mexico in their November 13 face-off.
With just a notch below his killer form and 3 weeks of training to go, Pacquiao is certain he has the upper hand against the taller Mexican.
“Ready na tayo (I’m ready) … the fight will be for the country’s honor,” said the pound-for-pound king.
Pacquiao, who also reigns as World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion, said he has already reached his ideal weight and power level.
He said his team is now only fine tuning his speed level.
“’Yung conditioning natin, ‘yung laki ng katawan… okay naman. ‘Yung speed lang i-develop pa natin (The conditioning, the body size… are okay. We’re working on developing more speed),” said the Philippines’ boxing congressman.
Pacquiao and Margarito will fight for the World Boxing Council (WBC) super welterweight title at a catchweight of 151 pounds.
This requires the 5’6” Filipino boxer to bulk up to make him formidable enough to trade punches against the 5’11” Margarito.
Pacquiao sought the support of his countrymen. He dedicated the fight to his fellow Filipinos.
"Sana ipagdasal n'yo ko... Karangalan nating lahat ito (Please pray for me... this will be for our country)," he said.
Going for a swift victory
A report by PhilStar.com said Pacquiao may opt to stop Margarito in the early rounds.
“Siguro aatake kami (We might move in) first and second (rounds),” he said in the report. “But it depends.”
Pacquiao wrapped up his training in the Philippines on Friday, working out under the heavy downpour at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila.
After his speed drills, the "Fighter of the Decade" gave himself a 9 ½ rating on a scale of 1 to 10.
Pacquio is set to leave for the US on Saturday for the remainder of his training camp before heading to Texas where the fight will take place.
PNoy wishes him luck
After his training, Pacquiao donned a barong as he paid President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III a courtesy call.
The president wished "The Pacman" good luck in his fight.
Aquino also urged Filipinos to rally behind the "Pambansang Kamao" (National Fist). -- With reports from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN; ANC; and The Philippine Star
Two seconds after Manny Pacquiao finishes his 1,400th sit-up during a recent workout, he curls into a ball on a foam mat and closes his eyes. "Like how I used to sleep," he said.
Fifteen years and seven division championships ago, Pacquiao left his home in General Santos City, Philippines, to turn pro and train at a gym in Manila, where he slept on a mattress made of cardboard. Forty-eight hours after his workout, he will take his seat in Congress, four rows from the back, several miles from the gym where he once slept, a building that Pacquiao today owns and has renamed the MP Tower, which houses the offices of his promotional company. His executive suite sits above two floors of dormitories filled with bunk beds. Manny Pacquiao rarely wants for a mattress these days, although that's because his time is rarely spent at rest.
Friday, Oct. 8
Pacquiao taps trainer Freddie Roach on the chest before gloving up, reminding him to turn off his microphone for an HBO film crew. After working 18 rounds of strategy and stopping only once for a drink of water, Pacquiao heads to the dressing room, where a confused expression falls over his face.
"I feel ..." Pacquiao said, pausing. "I don't know."
"Tired?" conditioning coach Alex Ariza said, as if teaching the word to Pacquiao for the first time. "Bro, you got to take it easier."
Pacquiao eventually nods, but first stares at Ariza, frozen for about five seconds, seeming to process the word "easier" as though he might fire Ariza just for suggesting it.
Saturday, Oct. 9
Pacquiao descends to Manila, where a day later he will take part in a 10-kilometer run to help sponsor clean up of a garbage repository also known as the Pasig River. Pacquiao has decided to skip mitt work Monday, staying in Manila.
Monday, Oct. 11
It's 5:45 a.m. at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the scheduled time and place of Pacquiao's morning track work, but the only sign of the man is across the street in the form of an enormous billboard advertisement of Pacquiao's smiling face hawking milk from New Zealand. Usually, the only place one world champion makes another wait is in the ring before a fight. But this morning, in an SUV, WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan -- another Roach trainee -- has been waiting to train with Pacquiao since dawn. (Khan would spar Pacquiao twice a week later.) After an hour, the motorcade arrives and the sprints began.
Pacquiao darts back for a meal before attending a closed-door meeting with Philippine executive secretary Paquito Ochoa, affectionately known as the "little president." At about 3 p.m., Pacquiao normally would be at the gym ending his mitt work. Instead he is arriving at his congressional office in a navy Calvin Klein suit.
From the outset of camp, Pacquiao has been eager to showcase his newly elected position (from which he is technically on a two-month leave of absence for his training). After Pacquiao's first day of training in Manila in September, he waited for Roach to work mitts with UFC star Georges St. Pierre (who said, after watching Pacquiao's speed, "I have to go after that?"). Once finished, Roach followed Pacquiao in a convoy to Congress, where Pacquiao informed Roach in the chamber, "I would like to introduce a bill to make you a Filipino citizen."
Discussing his potential citizenship after Pacquiao's return from Manila on Oct. 12, Roach smiles at the thought of pledging his allegiance to the Philippine flag. "In America, I've never voted in my life," he said. "But if a citizen of the Philippines, I'd vote for Manny Pacquiao."
The four-time trainer of the year has grown increasingly concerned about losing his champion to politics. Recently, Pacquiao turned to Roach and said, "I miss my job."
Unsure quite what Pacquiao meant, Roach pointed to the ring and stated the obvious: "This is your job."
"No," Pacquiao said, shaking his head. "I miss Congress."
Physical injuries more commonly occur in a boxing ring than on a congressional floor, but Pacquiao is both an unconventional fighter and politician. His new political focus has led to the change in wardrobe, a seemingly superficial alteration that was of nearly cataclysmic proportions: Pacquiao's leather shoes, though stately, are believed to be the cause of severe inflammation in his left foot, a condition known as plantar fasciitis.
But since returning from Manila, Pacquiao has bought a new pair of shoes, ceased playing basketball and has steadily improved in sparring. "Problems like this happen all the time in training, and things are now back to normal," Roach said.
Still, panic continues to grip the media. Pacquiao is the Philippines' favorite son, and the media is his irresponsible, overprotective parent. Each time their champion deviates from his usual training, a type of hypochondria leads to reports of Pacquiao's imminent demise. But their presence has been a source of distraction in itself: Pacquiao was dragged to a banquet one day after 9 p.m. at the behest of members of the Philippine media; the following night, advisor Michael Koncz had an impromptu, open-to-the-media wedding, for which Pacquiao served as a signatory witness and performed with his band at the reception.
Despite Pacquiao's sparring being closed to reporters, it is covered by the Philippine media in daily articles with fabricated quotes and third-hand accounts written as first-hand access. "Every day in the Philippines, I'm quoted by a reporter who never even spoke to me," Roach said. On a courtesy visit to his fighter last week, promoter Bob Arum began receiving calls from the Wall Street Journal and USA Today based on "a quote in one Filipino paper that was completely invented, saying I predicted Margarito would beat Manny in the fight."
Saturday, Oct. 16
Amid the media reports, foot inflammation, basketball, trips to Manila, plans of wedlock, sparring and swarms of visitors, a storm has gradually picked up speed, morphing into a typhoon headed directly toward the province where Pacquiao is training. Last year, back-to-back typhoons ravaged Baguio during Pacquiao's preparations for his fight against Miguel Cotto, causing an estimated $600 million in devastation, taking some 500 lives and forcing his team to decamp early.
After training, Roach asks Pacquiao, "Manny, should we go before the typhoon gets here?"
Pacquiao smiles confidently, "The typhoon won't come here."
Roach nods, then mutters to himself, "If we were smart, we'd get the hell out of here."
Sunday, Oct. 17
After Pacquiao completes the 65th of his targeted 137 rounds of sparring, Roach presses his fighter again on when he wants to leave. "Maybe Wednesday," Pacquiao replies.
Pacquiao then adds, "There is time."
For Pacquiao in his prime, there always is.
MANILA, Philippines — Declaring that he is nearly in peak form and almost ready to go, Manny Pacquiao said on Friday he will pounce on Antonio Margarito as soon as the bell sounds signaling the start of their scheduled 12-round world super-welterweight title fight on Nov. 13 in Dallas.
“Aatake kami sa first and second rounds,” Pacquiao told scribes on Friday after a workout done under the pouring morning rain at the Rizal Memorial track oval.
A day after capping his high-altitude training camp in Baguio City on full throttle, Pacquiao ranked his conditioning from a scale of 1 to 10 at “nine and a half,” something the 31-year-old pound-for-pound king hopes would calm the nerves of his concerned followers.
“Ready na tayo,” said Pacquiao, who, despite missing several roadworks and a couple of afternoon training sessions, affirmed he is right on track in reaching the desired level of conditioning by the time he answers the bell at Cowboys Stadium.
Before leaving Baguio Thursday afternoon, Pacquiao sparred 11 rounds with Amir Khan, Glen Tapia and Michael Medina that left a smile on the face of chief trainer Freddie Roach, who has been a tad worried on the progress of his prized puncher’s buildup.
Training assistant Buboy Fernandez also echoed his boss’ assessment.
“Nasa 90 percent na kami ngayon,” said Fernandez, who shares the training chores with Nonoy Neri under the strict supervision of Roach and conditioning coach and taskmaster Alex Ariza.
Drenched in a mix of perspiration and rain, Ariza presided over the wet workout, issuing orders like a general in the beaches of Normandy and making his presence truly felt when he ordered Pacquiao back to the tracks when the rains began to fall.
Pacquiao hesitated for a moment but gave in and finished all the drills that had been laid out as rains pelted the ground and onlookers and mediamen began scampering for cover.
Pacquiao will train in Metro Manila until Saturday afternoon and will board a Philippine Airlines flight for Los Angeles in the evening to kick off the final phase of his training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
Roach said a couple of sparmates are eagerly awaiting Pacquiao’s arrival so they could test the mettle of the world’s No. 1 fighter.
Dispelling notions that he has yet to prime up for his scheduled showdown with Mexican Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao declared himself fit and raring to go for their November 13 title bout at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
"Ready na tayo. Sana ipagdasal ninyo ako, dahil karangalan natin lahat ito," said Pacquiao, still dripping in sweat shortly after his morning workout on a rainy Friday at the Rizal Memorial track oval in Vito Cruz, Manila.
Pacquiao and Margarito will slug it out in a 12-round duel for the World Boxing Council (WBC) junior middleweight crown.
Asked by GMA News TV reporter Chino Trinidad on where his condition is right now on a scale of 1 to 10, the 31-year-old boxing champion replied "nine-and-a-half" without batting an eyelash.
Pacquiao however shared the opinion of his famed trainer Freddie Roach that he still needs to improve his speed after climbing again to a higher weight division.
"Kumportable naman ako (sa timbang ko). Hindi naman tayo mabagal. Mabilis na rin tayo pero gusto ko pang i-develop talaga yung speed ko," he added.
And so certain is Pacquiao about his present condition that he isn't discounting the possibility of bringing the fight early to the towering 5-foot-11 Mexican.
"Depende," replied the Pacman when asked what the first few rounds of the title fight will be like. "Siguro aatake kami first or second round."
Pacquiao, Roach, strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza and the rest of Team Pacquiao arrived in Manila Thursday night following a six-hour trip from Baguio City, where the group set up a four-week training camp in the country's summer capital.
Barely getting rest, the world's top pound-for-pound fighter returned to training Friday morning, doing sprint and speed drills supervised by Ariza at the Rizal Memorial track oval despite the bad weather.
Later in the day, the Filipino southpaw trained at the Elorde Gym.
He is scheduled to hold his last sparring session in the country on Saturday before departing for Los Angeles later in the night for the final phase of his preparation at the famed Wild Card Gym.
Already waiting for Pacquiao in L.A. is rising junior middleweight prospect Vanes Martirosyan, who said that he already got a call to serve as one of Pacquiao's sparring partners upon the seven-time world division champion's arrival in the U.S.
"I just got the phone call and I can’t wait to get in there with Manny," said Martirosyan, owner of a 28-0 record with 17 knockouts.
Martirosyan is among the names mentioned by Roach as Pacquiao's possible additional sparmates in the U.S. along with Peter `Chocolate Kid’ Quillin.
Pacquiao has already sparred for a total of 57 rounds, spending equal time each with Michael Medina, Glen Tapia and current World Boxing Association (WBA) light-welterweight title holder Amir Khan.
"At least, I get to spar with the best fighter out there. I will give him all he can handle," said the Glendale, California-based Martirosyan. – JVP/KY, GMANews.TV
Undefeated Filipino world title prospect Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta thinks that Manny Pacquiao’s quickness and “extraordinary” speed will carry him to victory against the bigger and stronger Antonio Margarito in their November 13 fight.
“Manny has extraordinary speed. His speed is different,” Gesta told Filipino-American boxing scribe Dennis Guillermo of Examiner.com. “Other fighters have speed, but . . . Manny has speed and explosiveness that [allow him] to throw punches from weird angles and all kinds of angles.”
The San Diego, California-based Gesta (19-0-1, 9 by knockouts) said that most boxers could only throw punches effectively from a certain stance.
But Pacquiao is one elite fighter who could throw punches from any angle with either hand and that is how he confounds even bigger opponents, he added.
“Manny can throw anything, and they’re fast punches,” said Gesta, a speedy lightweight southpaw about the size of Pacquiao.
Most of big-name fighters whom Pacquiao has defeated—David Diaz, Oscar Dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto—have said that in the heat of their bouts, they did not see Pacquiao quick hands hitting them.
Gesta observed that Pacquiao’s speed is hard to emulate and hard to go up against.
“Sometimes you’d think you got it figured out but when you’re there, you can’t see those punches coming because they’re very fast and he can throw them at any angle. That’s why a lot of people have a hard time against him,” he explained.
According to Gesta, Pacquiao enjoys “a great advantage” over Margarito based on their fighting styles.
“Manny moves a lot and he likes opponents who come forward so he can counter them,” said the 23-year-old, who is being tipped as the Philippines’ next world champion.
“I think Margarito may be too slow for Manny and he has been off from boxing for quite a bit. I really think Manny has a big chance to win this fight if they both exhibit the same styles they used to,” he added.
Meanwhile, respected trainer American Naazim Richardson considers Pacquiao a “brilliant” fighter mentored by a great coach, which allows him to rule boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings.
“I must admit that, right now, Freddie [Roach] and Pacquiao are the powerhouses in [boxing],” said Richardson, the trainer of ageless fighters Bernard Hopkins and “Sugar” Shane Mosley.
“Freddie is just brilliant in how he handles Manny, and Manny is just brilliant in how he follows what Freddie shows him,” Richardson was quoted by veteran sportswriter Michael Marley during Wednesday’s press conference to hype the December 18 Bernard Hopkins versus Jean Pascal light heavyweight title fight in midtown Manhattan.
“I must say that Pacquiao is an extraordinary talent as well,” he said.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Slowly but surely, pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao is getting used to the extra weight.
Although already bulked up for his showdown with Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13, Pacquiao still put up a masterful 11
rounds of sparring against three foes at the Shape Up Gym yesterday at the close of his training camp in Baguio
“It (sparring) went okay,” Pacquiao told GMA News in Filipino. “My speed, power and footwork are back.”
Forced to gain at least three pounds, Pacquiao appeared sluggish in sparring last Saturday, according to Top Rank chief Bob Arum.
Now accustomed to the added poundage, Pacquiao impressed sparring partners Glen Tapia and Michael Medina and even World Boxing Association light welterweight champion Amir Khan yesterday.
Khan and the unbeaten Tapia spent four rounds each and Medina three with Pacquiao as chief trainer Freddie Roach tried to refine strategies.
Filipino trainer Nonoy Neri told the Inquirer that Pacquiao, who usually weighs 145 pounds at this stage of training, tipped the scales at 148 before the team drove down to Manila at 4:30 p.m.
Team Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz said everybody was pleased because Pacquiao “looked sharp and so much better.”
Joe Ramos, a close associate, said Pacquiao will work out at the Rizal Memorial Track and Field Stadium at 6:30 a.m. today before training at Elorde Gym in Quezon City in the afternoon.
The seven-time, seven-division world champion will have his final sparring session in Manila tomorrow before taking the evening flight to Los Angeles.
BAGUIO CITY—If not for a dazzling final-day workout by Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, this second tour in this breezy city would have been a disappointing training camp for famed trainer Freddie Roach.
After Pacquiao dominated his 10-round sparring session opposite sparmates Michael Medina, Glen Tapia and fellow world champion Amir Khan Thursday afternoon, Roach said he now sees the Filipino icon to be in a state, where the guru wants him to be at the conclusion of their storm-hit Northern Philippine camp.
“Today, his focus was very evident as well as his speed. We’re a work in progress and we still have two weeks of hard training,” said Roach. “We’re not ready yet, but we still have two weeks to get there and a lot of fine-tuning to do.”
Roach admitted they had a much better training camp here last year, when they prepared for Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in their eventual takeover of the welterweight division.
Despite the admission, Roach felt relieved they still have enough time to make up for whatever lapses they encountered as they are set to return to their old, reliable sweatshop that is the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.
“There won’t be distractions there, because we don’t have to go to Manila and go to Congress and so fort. These distractions were an issue for me, but he turned it around today, so I expect him to get better and better from hereon until we leave out,” said Roach.
The pound-for-pound king, meanwhile, has a different perspective when asked about supposed training diversions that has often marked his celebrated boxing career.
“That’s part of life. I consider those non-believers as my motivation to succeed further. I know I always give my best in training. The rest, I leave everything to God,” Pacquiao told the Manila Standard after his workout.
The 31-year-old Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) said the sluggishness he had before was part of his meticulous adjustment to the grueling Plyometric regimen implemented by conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
Late afternoon yesterday, Pacquiao and his team left for the metropolis, where Roach still plans to conduct two more hard training days that include 12-rounds of sparring Saturday at the Elorde Gym in Quezon City.
The multi-titled Pacquiao is eyeing to conquer his eighth division in his first fight at the tough super welterweight class against Mexican Antonio Margarito of Mexico on Nov. 13 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas.
The 12-round battle for the vacant World Boxing Council super welterweight crown will be at a catch weight of 151 lbs.
Come November 13th, seven-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) will strut his wares against the hard-hitting mauler Antonio Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs). Both guys come forward. Both boxers are high-output volume punchers. Aside from the size and reach, the obvious difference is that Pacquiao is an elite speedster while Margarito is a topnotch power puncher. Their upcoming bout is another case of speed versus power, no doubt about it.
And many people are thinking speed will carry Manny through en route to an 8th title in as many weight classes. And it is quite understandable why. But if you care to look at history, speed winning over power is not always the case.
Nine years ago, a same high profile clash of champions occurred and it ended in a major upset. Speed demon and heavy favorite Zab Judah, then the IBF light welterweight champion, slugged it out with Australia’s heavy bomber and then WBC and WBC light welterweight titlist Kostya Tszyu.
Judah, brash and undefeated, was Tszyu’s superior in speed, skills, ring savvy, and whose power was nearly equal to Tsyzu’s, at the time. Many predicted a big victory for Judah, but Tsyzu would end the night in a very surprising and emphatic fashion.
Tsyu, a bruiser who relies mostly on his power, was getting bruised up by Judah in the first round. The American exploited Tszyu’s slow reflexes and tagged the Australian almost at will. If anything, the first inning showed that Judah is too fast and too quick for the heavy hitting albeit slow Kostya Tsyzu. The second round was relatively the same as the first. However, something happened that nobody really was bracing for.
TSZYU KNOCKED OUT JUDAH. AT THE DYING SECONDS OF ROUND 2.
Judah was backing down from an attacking Tsyzu when the Australian caught Judah with a huge right cross to the chin, sending Judah to the canvass. The power of the Tszyu’s cross was too strong that a wobbly Judah fell to the mat one more time after trying to beat the referee’s count.
Lucky shot? Maybe. But there is no doubt that power owned speed in that fight.
Fast forward to nine years later. Pacquiao will definitely exhaust his speed advantage against the much slower yet durable and heavy pounding Margarito. Now, this is no prediction that Pacquiao will lose. Both men can lose or win.
And supporters from each side can present a valid argument. There is no doubt that Pacquiao-Margarito will be a war of speed against power. A classic matchup that will definitely hook in fight fans all over the world.
Will Pacquiao’s speed fully capitalize on Margarito’s slowness? Will Margarito heavy shots find their target? The answers will surface come fight night. But as the lessons of Judah-Tszyu taught us boxing fans, better brace yourself for a different result.
There will be a number of things at issue on Nov. 13 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium when ex-titlist Antonio Margarito takes the ring for an HBO televised, Top Rank Promotions battle against WBO welterweight (147 pounds) king Manny Pacquiao.
The 31-year-old Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 knockouts) will take a 12-fight winning streak into the bout, this, as he pursues an eighth title in as many different weight divisions and the WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) belt.
The 32-year-old Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) is looking to erase the stains left on his reputation as the result of a hand-wrapping scandal that has tainted his legacy.
In this HBO video, boxing analyst Max Kellerman, Pacquiao, Margarito and their respective trainers, Freddie Roach, and, Robert Garcia, faceoff to address some of the issues heading into the big fight.
His trainer Freddie Roach described it as his best training day in Baguio City yet, while sparring partner Amir Khan went further and said it's the best he's ever seen Manny Pacquiao since they first met. "It's the best I've seen him since I've known Manny. Today he looks so sharp, quick and he looked very, very explosive.," Khan told GMA News. Equally fast himself, the 23-year-old Bolton, UK native Khan has been helping Pacquiao shape up in Baguio while also preparing for his showdown with Marcos Maidana on December 11.
"Thing is I've been working on the right hand for about 8 years now and it's getting better and better all the time. I think that will be the knockout punch," Pacquiao's Hall of Fame boxing trainer said. Roach is pleased at how Pacquiao has bounced back and worked hard after initial reports of the pound for pound king still finding his speed and rhythm last week.
Pacquiao is now done with his camp in Baguio and is currently in Manila. He will be flying to LA this weekend where he will be concluding his camp for Margarito at Roach's Wild Card Gym. Pacquiao definitely saved his best for last in the City of Pines as reports also indicated that he sent a couple of his sparring partners home with bloody noses for souvenirs.
At the moment Antonio Margarito is a very confident man. Now deep into a grueling training camp for his November 13th fight with Manny Pacquiao, the Tijuana brawler is looking to redeem his image after being shaken by his January 2009 hand wrap controversy that cost him a year of his fighting career as well as overall respect from the sport.
Magarito has been training in Oxnard, California with his new trainer Robert Garcia at the Oxnard Boxing Academy and seems to be a man with a newfound focus at this point in time. Despite opening up a 7-1 underdog to the dynamic Pacquiao, Margarito feels the Filipino icon will be in for a rude surprise come fight night.
“Pacquiao won’t stand up to my punches,” Margarito declared in a recent interview with John Martinez of FightChronicles.com. “He’s been shook by smaller fighters than me and he will find out the hard way that his punches won’t hurt me.”
Margarito’s bandwagon has begun to fill up more and more in recent weeks and if anything we should have a fairly competitive clash by the time he faces Pacquiao next month. What does seem for sure is just how financially bolstered Margarito will be after the fight, which takes place at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Slideshow: Reliving the excitement of Margarito vs. Cotto: Why the 'Tijuana Tornado' is still a threat
“He is guaranteed $3 million and he has an upside on the pay per view,” Margarito’s promoter Bob Arum recently told the Philippine Star. “So if everything goes the way I think it would go, he should make approximately between 5 to 6 million.”
Arum’s Top Rank headquarters are based out of Las Vegas and he definitely seemed to rub a few people the wrong way his selection of Margarito as Pacquiao’s opponent. Arum knows how to sell a fight, as evidenced by the 50,000 plus in attendance and over 700,000 pay per view buys for Pacquiao’s March domination of Joshua Clottey in the same venue, and he feels he has another hot ticket on his hands. Arum has been quoted as saying that Pacquiao-Margarito could potentially draw 1.3 million buys.
De La Hoya chides Arum on Twitter
Fighter turned promoter Oscar De La Hoya has recently been spotted in Toronto and New York helping promote the December 18th light heavyweight title fight between Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins. As president of Golden Boy Promotions, De La Hoya is a busy man these days and also has two big shows lined up in Las Vegas on November 27th at the MGM Grand and December 11th at the Mandalay Bay with the hopeful Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis and Amir Khan-Marcos Maidana events.
In an attempt to keep up with the times, the still very svelte 37-year old has been on a Twitter spree as of late as he has been using the social networking site to give away free prizes to his fans and keep everyone updating about all Golden Boy related events. While that certainly makes for good folly, what is surprising is the fact that he is apparently taking some cheap shots at promoter Bob Arum as well.
“What happens is when you have so many promoters it makes life difficult but one day you watch,” De La Hoya claimed. “Golden Boy wants to put the best fights on, believe me we try hard, but all these dinosaurs make it tough. Bob is 90 years old, get my point?”
De La Hoya and Arum currently have been in somewhat of a cold war with one another regarding their promotional entities. Such a fact was typified by the behind the doors talks concerning negotiations for a possible Pacquiao fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., whom Golden Boy has worked with closely for his past four fights.
While it’s understandable that De La Hoya is going to be competitive in any realm he enters as a professional in the sport, taking shots at Arum like this is pretty low. Arum, who is actually 78 not 90 as Oscar suggested, has certainly had to play hardball several times in his forty plus years in the sport but attacking his age is something that is uncalled for.
Ex-sparring mates Green and Johnson collide on November 6th at the MGM Grand
On November 6th Allan ‘Sweetness’ Green will look to bounce back from his horrendous performance against Andre Ward this summer when he faces off with gritty former champion Glen ‘Road Warrior’ Johnson at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The Showtime-televised event serves as both a Stage Three matchup in the Super Six tournament as well as the co-feature to the Juan Manuel Lopez-Rafael Marquez battle.
What is interesting about that fight is that the two men know each other very, very well through their training days in the South Florida area. Johnson served as a chief sparring partner to help get Green ready for his March 2007 defeat to Edison Miranda in Puerto Rico and the reports are conflicting as to how the sessions went down.
Green trained for that contest out of both John David Jackson’s Contender’s Gym as well as Shannon Briggs’ personal facility and people were in awe of his abilities while in camp. When Johnson worked with him there were those who said the rugged Jamaican really pushed Green to the limit with aggressive style and it should be interesting to see how their fight breaks down on the professional level.
I witnessed Green’s last few days of training for the Miranda bout and he was seemingly dehydrated, as he had to squeeze his body down to 162 pounds as he was constantly wearing a sweat suit. Following their sparring sessions Johnson would stay busy by defeating Montell Griffin a few months later before eventually dropping a pair of fights to then champion Chad Dawson. Johnson is coming off of a decision loss to IBF champion Tavoris Cloud in early August.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
BAGUIO CITY—If the remark of promoter Bob Arum holds water, then Mexican Antonio Margarito may be preparing a wrong fight plan the whole time.
Known for his astuteness in promoting marquee fights, Arum initially said he was told Margarito has been sparring some good number of rounds against four different fighters with similar left-hand stance in his training camp in Oxnard, California.
But when asked about his assessment of Pacquiao’s latest training, Arum gave a much gracious remark to his prized Filipino fighter that in some ways belittle the chances of the Mexican champion.
“That right hand, trust me, is the key to this fight. Everybody that fights Manny Pacquiao trains for him like he’s a traditional lefty. Yes, he is a lefty except that he hits with his right hand as well as his left hand,” said Arum.
Pacquiao, 31, did several rounds of punch mitts yesterday with trainer Freddie Roach obviously working to perfect that same right hand that smittened Arum.
“Manny’s opponents practicing on fighting traditional lefties are generally susceptible for that right hand,” added Arum.
Pressed to choose who has the edge between Margarito and Pacquiao, who incidentally are both under Top Rank’s banner, Arum leaned toward choosing the Filipino on the assumption that the current pound-for-pound king will be in his best element come fight night.
“If Manny, come the Margarito fight, isn’t in the best possible shape and using all the assets that he has, he will lose. But Manny Pacquiao at 100% will beat Antonio Margarito, that’s a fact,” said Arum. “Margarito is a very good professional fighter, who is much bigger and stronger and keeps coming. In order to fight somebody like that, you have to be in top physical and mental shape.”
Meantime, Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) will hold his final day of training camp today at the Shape-Up Gym here before traveling back to Manila later in the night. They leave for the United States Saturday night.
The Filipino boxing sensation will again spar four rounds each with fellow world champion Amir Khan and undefeated prospect Glen Tapia, then will wrap it up with three more rounds opposite Michael Medina.
Pacquiao will battle the 32-year-old Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant World Boxing Council super welterweight crown set at a catch weight of 151lbs. The match will be staged at the $1.3 Billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Amidst questions regarding his focus and dedication for his upcoming November 13 fight against Antonio Margarito in Arlington, Texas, and despite a typhoon that threatened to stall his training camp anew, 7-division World Boxing Champion Manny Pacquiao proved that not even forces of nature can 'plaster' his desire to win and remain on top of boxing's food chain as he kept training and weathered the wrath Typhoon Megi which struck the Philippines this week claiming at least 20 lives and destroying thousands of homes as he readies himself for war against 'The Tijuana Tornado'.
The news is definitely a welcome one to several Pacquiao fans who are beginning to get worried and anxious after reports from the Pacquiao camp yielded stories of skipped training, last-minute trips to Manila on top of his promoter Bob Arum's lukewarm assessment of his conditioning when he visited the Pacquiao camp in Baguio City.
In his column published in Philboxing.com today, Pacquiao reminded people about the value of hard work and sacrifices as well as talk about Margarito's big size advantage and the history that he is chasing. Height-wise, Pacquiao would be one of the smallest World champions to fight above the welterweight limit if he defeats Margarito.
Pacquiao must've gotten fed-up with reading and hearing reports about him slacking in training as he reassured that when he gets back to the more controlled confines of trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, then the real work starts. If a typhoon wasn't enough to derail Pacquiao, what more a 'tornado'?
Arum has since changed his original statements wherein he said Pacquiao would fall to Margarito considering his current conditioning when the legendary promoter first saw him back in action last week. As usual, Manny being Manny. The hectic and chaotic lifestyle might prove to be detrimental to most, but Pacquiao thrives on it. After taking a day off and getting some karaoke singing action while rehearsing for his post-fight 'concert' after his battle against Margarito, Pacquiao showed flashes of his speed and brilliance that made him this era's best boxer. His trainer Roach isn't all that worried and says everything will be addressed when they fly back to LA this weekend for the final leg of their preparations at the Wild Card Gym.
Maybe it's just talk. Maybe it's just talk to sell a fight. But word out of Manny Pacquiao's camp isn't exactly sparkling right now.
Promoter Bob Arum said recently that if the fight with Antonio Margarito were on Saturday, Margarito would win. Arum believes Pacquiao isn't up to his usual level, or at least so he says. And while Philstar.com's headline is "Roach: No worry, Manny will be ready," there is plenty of worry in Roach's quotes.
The trainer is seemingly worried about the level of sparring that Pacquiao has had thus far against Michael Medina and Glen Tapia, saying Pacquiao is going about "50 percent" in sparring and that his speed isn't there yet. Roach is eager to get to Los Angeles where he will have Amir Khan and Vanes Martirosyan, among others, available to spar Pacquiao.
Road work has also been an issue so far, as Baguio City has been hit by Typhoon Megi, hampering Pacquiao's ability to get crucial work done out of the gym. The team has left Baguio for Manila, and on Saturday will be heading to Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Antonio Margarito is promising that Manny Pacquiao will take a beating, and has strong words for the fighter and his trainer. Margarito and trainer Robert Garcia believe that the uppercut will be key for them, and Margarito feels Pacquiao won't be able to hurt him. It is unlikely that the 154 and 160-pound fighters Margarito is currently sparring are near Pacquiao's level, but confidence is probably a good thing for Margarito at this point, and certainly can't hurt his chances.
Three weeks out of the fight, how are you feeling about the matchup now? And I mean strictly as a fight -- we all know Margarito's baggage and the disappointment over the Mayweather fight still not happening, so no need to re-hash all that. Do you think Margarito's prospects have improved, even though he opened as a 5-to-1 underdog? Is there a real chance that Pacquiao has become, as they say in some parts of the States, "too big for his britches"?
MANILA, Philippines — Former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito, in the thick of his training for a much awaited return to the boxing ring against Filipino slugger Manny Pacquiao next month, refuses to get distracted by rumors of his foe’s struggles in his own camp.
The 32-year-old boxer from Tijuana, Mexico is confident that come fight night, the bout will end with his arms raised in victory.
“Pacquiao won’t stand up to my punches,” said Margarito (38 wins, 6 losses, 27 knockouts) in an interview quoted by John Martinez of Boxscore News. “He’s been shook by smaller fighters than me and he will find out the hard way that his punches won’t hurt me.”
Margarito has been rated as an underdog against the much smaller Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs), and will carry added pressure of trying to become only the third boxer to halt the seven-division champion from the Philippines.
What’s seemingly an even bigger prize for Margarito would be an emphatic comeback to the sport where he was sidelined for more than a year after being found with illegal hand wraps prior to getting beaten by Shane Mosley in their January 2009 faceoff.
“I know that everyone’s saying that I’m going to lose and get knocked out and that I’m no match for him (Pacquiao),” Margarito said, referring to Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach’s repeated claims that the Filipino will take him out before the eighth round of their fight.
“Manny’s not going to have everyone’s help in there (on the ring); he’s going to fight me and me only. He won’t have anywhere to go once I start to apply the pressure and throw my punches at him. I will knock out him out because of this.”
Robert Garcia, the man tasked to whip Margarito into the best shape of his career against undoubtedly boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighter, says that Pacquiao and Roach will be in for the biggest surprise of their lives once the bell rings for the first time on November 13.
“I know what I’ve got in Antonio Margarito,” Garcia said. “He’s a fighter’s fighter. He comes to not just work, but to improve on what he has been learning since training camp has started.”
Top Rank big boss Bob Arum previously sounded the alarm bell after witnessing firsthand Pacquiao’s training in Baguio City, which was marred by super typhoon “Juan” (international name: “Megi”) over the weekend, even describing Pacquiao as looking “really bad” in sparring.
But Garcia and Margarito won’t get overconfident by these kinds of reports, and instead will continue with their game plan of pressuring Pacquiao and making him fight defensively.
“We’re not going to just get in there and throw punches in volume; we’re going to set it up with jabs, angles, and then go in for the attack,” Garcia said.
“I’ve seen other guys hit him and give him pressure, but then they don’t continue their attack,” Margarito tells. “I am going to go nonstop if I see or think he’s hurt and I’m not going to stop until he’s on the floor.
“The way he (Pacquiao) fights, he is open to uppercuts. He’s going to be eating mine and when he does, he won’t want to come inside.”
Margarito is bent on making up for lost time on the boxing ring, and he will begin his long journey back with a fight against boxing’s superstar today.
“I don’t feel like I have to prove anything extra to everyone because of my suspension,” he said. “I know that I’m a great fighter and a good boxer. People will see that again when I beat Manny Pacquiao. My fans have been behind me through all of this and this victory will be for them.”
When it was announced that Manny Pacquiao would be moving up in weight to challenge Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBC junior middleweight crown, the contest was initially met with disappointment. Pacquiao had just teased us with another stage of negotiations with Floyd Mayweather and settling for Margarito, a fighter still recovering from the hand wrap controversy that rocked his career in early 2009, as a replacement wasn’t the easiest proposition to accept. Vegas sports books later tabbed Margarito as nearly a 7-1 underdog in what some looked at as a mismatch of a fight.
Pacquiao has been on an incredible run in the sport over the past few years and very few looked at the plodding Margarito as much of a threat yet as the contest draws closer the reviews coming from each man’s camp seem to be polar opposite and the opinion on the fight has changed. Under the watchful eye of former champion Robert Garcia, Margarito has been impressively gearing up for the fight of his life while Pacquiao has had minor injuries, slight illnesses, and a chaotic typhoon to deal with as he trains in Baguio City in the Philippines.
Newsflash: Sergio Martinez pulling for Margarito in hopes of garnering rematch
The public perception has seen Margarito go from a broken cheater to that of a physical imposing beast who will be pressing Pacquiao every minute of the fight. RingTV.com co-editor Doug Fisher has been covering Margarito on the West Coast for several years now and after viewing him this training camp he agrees that the Tijuana Tornado is far from finished.
“Margarito is indeed training hard and he doesn't look like a faded or shot fighter in sparring,” Fisher conceded. “Given the reports for this fight, I believe the fight is not viewed as one-sided in Pacquiao’s favor as it was when the bout was first announced; however there are things every fan should keep in mind. Just because Margarito is in great shape and doesn't appear shot doesn't mean he can compete with Pacquiao; there's still a very significant disparity in skill, technique and talent between the two.”
Sound logic from Fisher. Asked whether or not any of the subplots surrounding Pacquiao’s recent training regimen should be of concern, Fisher notes that it is something he has had to accustom himself to as a fighter over the years.
”Pacquiao is used to crazy camps when he trains in the Philippines,” Fisher continued. “He may not be as focused as he should be during these camps but he's always in tip-top physical condition. Two full weeks at the Wild Card gym is plenty of time of Pacquiao to get his head on straight and refocus on Roach's game plan for the fight.”
Joe Quiambao is a former New York Golden Gloves champion and present day matchmaker for Dibella Entertainment. Always an avid fan of the sport, Quiambao also has Filipino roots and has long since admired Pacquiao’s achievements inside of the ring. When the fight with Margarito became official Quiambao seemed to be more than curious when assessing the matchup.
“I didn’t like the fight from the moment it was signed,” Quiambao said. “Margarito is a bigger guy and he throws a lot of punches. If you noticed in the [Joshua] Clottey fight, whenever he would open up, his punches would have an effect on Pacquiao. Clottey just didn’t throw any punches but Margarito will be. You have to wonder what would happen if he gets in that position.”
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Top Rank promoter Bob Arum recently departed his headquarters in Las Vegas and headed to Pacquiao’s camp to witness his progression first hand. After a few days of witnessing some intense sparring as well as Pacquiao’s work with trainer Freddie Roach and strength and conditioning Coach Alex Ariza, Arum was less impressed than previous camps and even noted that this version of Pacquiao would lose to Margarito if the fight was to take place within a week. Quiambao knows the game very well and feels the wily 78-year old may be just trying to milk people’s interest.
“I think he could be just trying to sell the fight,” Quiambao. “The thing is that Pacquiao trains like a mad man. When he gets in the gym he is all business and trains just as hard a guy like Mayweather. I think he is going to have to use his speed and that he will have to be in great shape against Margarito.”
Having fought 41 professional bouts himself, Jacksonville, Florida’s Nate Campbell knows all too well about the rigors and temptations that come along with any serious training camp and what Pacquiao may be going through. A junior lightweight contender in May of 2003, Campbell struggled mightily against New Jersey’s Edelmiro ‘Tiger’ Martinez and came away with a draw. Campbell points to a poor training camp for his uneven performance.
“In that fight I needed Jesus just to get a win,” Campbell joked. “When you have a bad training camp you start losing focus on your opponent. When you have so many distractions going on outside of boxing it can wear on you mentally. They say that boxing is 90% mental but don’t you need 100% of your mental in order to win?”
Campbell’s crowning moment as a fighter came in March of 2008 as he defied the odds by bullying and battering Houston, Texas’ Juan Diaz in Cancun as he captured the lightweight championship of the world. Campbell said his training camp for Diaz was nearly perfect and that his younger foe had no chance by the time the two came face to face.
“He needed Jesus just to survive.”
Asked for his thoughts on the eventual outcome of Pacquiao-Margarito, Campbell seemed to stray away from the topic and actually seemed disappointed in the matchup, fully realizing how much the impact of money had to do with it. Campbell also revealed that he is slated for a ring return on November 27th against journeyman Walter Estrada at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the hopeful Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis undercard.
Whether or not Pacquiao is performing less than expected in camp, it is something that he still has time to correct as he is set to leave for Los Angeles to resume training at the Wild Card Gym later this week. Perhaps Showtime analyst Steve Farhood sums it up best when noting that by this point in his career, training for a high-level training camp is like second nature to the General Santos City fighter.
“An unsettled camp is not unusual for Manny, so I don't put too much stock in that. I still like Manny on points, though he might not look as good as usual at the slightly higher weight.”
On November 13 former world champion Antonio Margarito will fight for the WBC Super Welterweight title against one of boxing’s fiercest warriors and heavily favored multi-division champion, Manny Pacquiao live from Cowboy’s Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Pacquiao is looking to dispatch Margarito and win a record eight championships in as many weight divisions while Margarito has an eye on derailing the Pacquiao Express by late stoppage, thus becoming only the third man in Pacquiao’s career to do so.
“ Pacquiao won’t stand up to my punches,” said Margarito, “he’s been shook by smaller fighters than me and he will find out the hard way that his punches won’t hurt me.”
With an overwhelming majority of people having already discounted Margarito’s chances of winning much less stopping Pacquiao this fight, one would think there’s no reason to pay the asking price for this HBO PPV event.
Why tune into a fight that the public has already deemed an automatic victory for the Filipino Bomber?
Robert Garcia, Margarito’s trainer, has an answer.
“I know what I’ve got in Antonio Margarito. He’s a fighter’s fighter. He comes to not just work, but to improve on what he has been learning since training camp has started.”
“Antonio isn’t going to be the same pressure fighter from before; he’s going to be a pressure fighter that applies his will smarter and with more patience and defense.”
After recently speaking with Antonio, I now believe that his goal of not just beating Manny Pacquiao, but stopping Manny is a high probability that may come to fruition.
Margarito is training like a demon possessed, but not overly tense. He is seemingly calm and relaxed, but more importantly unphased by the taunts from the naysayers, including Pacquiao’s famed coach, Freddie Roach.
“I know that everyone’s saying that I’m going to lose and get knocked out and that I’m no match for him (Pacquiao),” Margarito continued, “I heard that Roach even said I was going to be just like a punching bag and that Manny would stop me early.”
“I think that’s fine to let people say what they want, but they have to remember that there’s only two of us getting into that ring and fighting for that title.”
“Manny’s not going to have everyone’s help in there (ring); he’s going to fight me and me only. He won’t have anywhere to go once I start to apply the pressure and throw my punches at him. I will knock out him out because of this.”
“And as far as what Roach says….I don’t have much to say about him except for thinking that he needs to keep his f**king mouth shut and that because he talks too much that his fighter’s going to pay the price by getting a serious beating by me. His career is over; he needs to be a trainer instead of talking too much. I’m going to shut his f**king mouth by stopping Manny in eleven rounds.”
Garcia and Margarito both believe that Manny has had trouble with fighters that pressure him and believe that the uppercut is a major key to Margarito’s victory.
Said Garcia, “we’re not going to just get in there and throw punches in volume; we’re going to set it up with jabs, angles, and then go in for the attack.”
Margarito added, “ I’ve seen other guys hit him and give him pressure, but then they don’t continue their attack. I am going to go nonstop if I see or think he’s hurt and I’m not going to stop until he’s on the floor.”
“The way he (Pacquiao) fights, he is open to uppercuts. He’s going to be eating mine and when he does, he won’t want to come inside.”
Garcia and Margarito are so confident in their victory over Manny Pacquiao that Antonio told me that he agreed to let Pacquiao come in under the initially approved weight of 149-150 pounds.
Margarito stated, “he wanted to come in lighter than what was agreed on and so I said, ‘OK’, because it’s not going to matter in the end when I’m weighing in and with the game plan I have . I think he’s going to weigh probably around 145, 146(lbs.) I know what he’s doing, but it’s not going to work.”
If you think that Margarito is fighting for redemption, you’re wrong.
According to Antonio, he doesn’t feel any added pressure to dispel the stain of being caught with his hands illegally wrapped prior to his bout with Shane Mosley in January ’09 which led to a lengthy suspension that he was forced to serve.
“I don’t feel like I have to prove anything extra to everyone because of my suspension. I know that I’m a great fighter and a good boxer. People will see that again when I beat Manny Pacquiao. My fans have been behind me through all of this and this victory will be for them.”
Though Antonio says he feels no pressure in wooing the audience, he is a tad concerned about the judges.
“I know that Jerry Jones, Bob Arum, HBO, and everyone else wants Pacquiao to win. They have their ideas on future plans so I do feel that going to the scorecards is not good for me. I can’t chance a bad decision so I’m making it my job to knock him out before there’s any chance of a controversy happening.”
So as the media frenzy continues to descend on Team Pacquiao, Antonio Margarito and his trainer, Robert Garcia, quietly go about their business of honing Antonio’s skills and biding their time until November 13 when they plan to deliver a Texas sized upset to Top Rank and Jerry Jones and win the WBC Super Welterweight title and effectively end Manny Pacquiao’s status as the “Mexican Assassin.”
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—The several times Glenn Tapia and Michael Medina have tried to knock down pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao for the one-thousand-dollar incentive during sparring sessions also represents the number of times they have failed.
“I’ve been trying,” admitted Medina.
Trainer Freddie Roach has always dangled a lucrative $1,000 (roughly P47,000) bonus to sparring partners who can knock out Pacquiao in training sessions.
With the Pacman’s career in its latter stages, Roach still has the tidy sum in his possession.
“It’s not that easy but definitely I want to keep trying and if I can get that thousand dollars it’s going to be great for me,” said Medina. “I need that money.”
Tapia has heard about the bonus and jokes about the motivation he gets from outside the gym.
“Everybody talks to me about that,” Tapia said.
“Don’t you Filipinos love Manny Pacquiao? You all want me to knock him down,” joked Tapia during Pacquiao’s media day workout at the Shape-up gym here.
Actually, we just want to find out if the $1,000 will ever be claimed.
Tapia, however, isn’t merely keen on the prize. He’s in this to help Pacquiao prepare for his bout against Antonio margarito on Nov. 13 for the vacant WBC super welterweight crown.
“I’m here to do all the hard work for the fight to be easy for him,” Tapia continued.
And where the controversies surrounding Pacquiao’s training are concerned, both Mexican fighters see no worries for the Pacman in the bout at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“His conditioning, stamina and speed are great; he’s a very complete fighter,” marveled Medina, who also said he enjoyed eating Filipino delicacies and dishes such as “balut,” adobo and kare-kare.
“I think he’s doing very well and he’s work ethic is just unbelievable,” he added.
And though Pacquiao is tagged as a 6-to-1 favorite against the heavy-handed Margarito, both sparmates know that it’s going to be a tough battle for the boxing icon, who is gunning for an unprecedented eighth weight division crown.
“It will be a tough fight, if he’s (Pacquiao) going to win or knock out Margarito, it’s gonna be in the later rounds,” said the 24-year-old Medina, who totes an impressive 22-win, 2-loss card spiked with 19 knockouts.
“Manny is going to go hard on him, he’ll knock him out but it still going to be a tough one,” Tapia added.
And as much as Tapia and Medina try their best, the feat of being the first sparmate to put down the pound-for-pound king remains unconquered. Photo by Celest Flores
Staying true to the long storied tradition of promoters making very optimistic predictions when it comes to the amount of pay per views that their events will sell, Bob Arum earlier this week made a bold prediction regarding the November junior middleweight showdown between Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito.
Speaking to the Manila Bulletin, Arum stated that he is expecting pay per view sales of well over 1.3 million, which is the amount that Pacquiao sold against Oscar De La Hoya.
Obviously Arum's predictions before an event are always going to be very high, and few industry insiders initially had the bout selling much over a million. Mainly because the main event isn't expected to be a close one and that Margarito's reputation with some of the fans is still in question.
Since the bout was announced though, Margarito has seemingly gained back a lot of the support that he lost due to his suspension, and helped by the big size difference many are now predicting a close fight that could go either way.
However the odds on anything except a knockout win for Pacquiao are growing longer, meaning that despite glowing reports from Margarito's camp and mixed ones from Pacquiao's, the big money is still being laid down on the Filipino. This in turn could mean either that the public won't be as interested, because they see the fight as having only one winner, or that a lot of people are putting money down and won't want to miss it.
Conversely the undercard of the event is packing a lot more drawing power than any of Pacquiao's recent fights, featuring the likes of Mike Jones, Kelly Pavlik and Guillermo Rigondeux, as well as several of Pacquiao's countrymen. Actually putting on an undercard worth watching is a big step in the right direction that both Golden Boy and Top Rank have recently taken, and it can only increase the pay per view sales in this case.
Pacquiao's March fight against little known Joshua Clottey sold possibly a lot better than expected at 700k, given that the odds were very long and that Clottey has a fairly small fan base. Part of that success though might have been from the novelty of staging a fight at the Cowboys stadium rather than the fight itself.
Against Miguel Cotto, Pacquiao achieved sales of 1.2 million, and the odds for the fight were much closer. Comparatively Margarito has a bigger fan base than Clottey, and is a more interesting character than Cotto, who despite his skill in the ring often comes across as rather flat in hyping up his fights.
Those being the current circumstances, it's difficult to say for sure just how well the fight will sell, but there is a growing feeling that the jump from welterweight to junior middleweight might be a lot more difficult for Pacquiao than the climb to welterweight was.
If that idea continues to spread, then the sales could well beat those that he achieved with De La Hoya, and if that happens, undoubtedly Pacquiao and Arum will both have an eye on beating the 1.4 million buys Golden Boy achieved with Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley.
Rob Grant, Denver: "Arum is talking straight crap as usual, the fight will be lucky to do more than a million. Margarito is nearly shot and most of the U.S fans don't like him cos he cheated"
Douggie Taylor, Pitt: "I can see it doing more than the Cotto fight, maybe not as much as Floyd and Shane though"