Chris Farina, Top Rank
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009 | 8:10 p.m.
Manny Pacquiao arrived in Los Angeles last weekend to begin final preparations for his Nov. 14 welterweight bout with Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Training for the six-time world champion has gone well according to head trainer Freddie Roach, despite the devastating typhoons that hit his native Philippines the same time he was holding camp there in Baguio.
“Baguio worked well for us and we had a really good four weeks there,” Roach said during a teleconference on Wednesday. “There were a couple typhoons that came but we didn’t miss a beat. We’re back in Los Angeles and Manny’s cardio is 95 percent there. He’s going to be ready to go.”
Pacquaio took time out of his four-week stay in Baguio to visit the hardest-hit areas of the islands after the first wave of typhoons struck in September.
“I felt so bad, of course,” Pacquiao said. “It was difficult for me, but I had to stay focused on this fight because nobody can help me in the ring. I’m not only doing this for myself but my whole country.”
Roach said that although Pacquiao was shaken by the storm's destruction, his training didn’t suffer.
“Manny went down to help people when the first typhoon hit. I asked him not to go because I thought it was dangerous,” Roach said. “It was definitely a sad thing. He brought money, food and as much shelter as he could. He was more mentally drained than anything when he got back.
“Once we got in the gym, everything was fine, though. Manny has always been able to separate the drama of life from what he has to do in the gym.”
The greatest challenge actually came last week when the camp was moved to the capital city of Manila, Roach said.
Roach broke camp early from Manila because of the constant distractions to Pacquiao's training.
“It was a little tougher in Manila. There were a lot of politicians trying to pull him in any direction they could,” Roach said. “I was really disappointed in the last day of boxing. Manny didn’t do well; his mind was somewhere else.”
As disappointed as his trainer was with his final sparring session in Manila, he was equally impressed by Pacquiao in his first session back at Roach's Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
“When he got to L.A., he boxed (Tuesday). I thought he’d still have a little jet lag,” Roach said. “I didn’t expect a great day. He looked tired in his eyes. He gave me 10 great rounds.”
The remainder of the training schedule includes two more hard sparring days with partners Rashad Halloway, Shawn Porter and Ray Beltran before tapering off.
Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KO) is looking to become the first fighter in boxing history to claim world titles in seven different weight classes. He has fought at welterweight only once before in his career, resulting in an eighth-round TKO win over Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.
Roach said he doesn’t believe Pacquiao can go any higher, although he’s not ruling it out.
“We’re pretty close to our limit at 147. We have to feed him five times a day to keep the weight on,” Roach said. “I think this will be our final stop. But you never know. If the guy comes at 154, maybe we’ll go there.”
In the weeks leading up to Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s return to boxing on Sept. 19 — a fight he won by unanimous decision over Juan Manuel Marquez — the former pound-for-pound king was repeatedly asked about a potential matchup with Pacquiao.
On Wednesday, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum refused to say much on the subject.
“We’re not going to address that issue until Nov. 15 because this is a tough fight and he’s concentrating on this fight,” Arum said. “There will be plenty of time after that date to pick out an opponent and see the lay of the land. To do so now is absolutely counterproductive.”
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].