Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cotto may have problem making weight

BEVERLY HILLS – Conditioning coach Alex Ariza liked what he saw at the Beverly Hills Hotel here yesterday.

No, it wasn’t the elegance of the "Pink Palace" (as the hotel, built in 1912, is affectionately called), not its scroll of past celebrity guests like Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne or John F. Kennedy, and neither those gorgeous ladies walking the premises.

What caught Ariza’s sharp eyes was the shape Miguel Cotto was in, in the last day of the press tour that carried the Puerto Rican champion, and Manny Pacquiao, the reigning pound-for-pound king from the Philippines, to New York, Puerto Rico and San Francisco and LA over the last five days.

"Did you see him out there? He must be weighing 160 pounds," said Ariza who came into the picture with the promise that he can keep Pacquiao moving up in weight and adding up more power without losing his speed. He introduced the Pinoy icon to the special program of plyometrics.

And they’re been extremely successful so far with big knockout wins over Diaz, Oscar dela Hoya and Ricky Hatton.

He said Cotto weighing as much (the WBO champion said a few days ago he was at 159 lb) gives him the feeling that the wide-bodied Puerto Rican might find it quite difficult making the catchweight limit of 145 lb. Pacquiao is just a little over 150, and with two months left is safely there.

"He (Cotto) must be 160 pounds and we're fighting at 145 with only two months left. He's got a lot more work to do than us. We also have work to do but Cotto has got to lose a lot of weight," said Ariza, who’s hoping that at 145 lb, Pacquiao could be as sharp, as fast and as strong as he was in his last fights.

Cotto said he plans to climb the ring at 160.

"He weighed in at 142 for the Oscar dela Hoya fight (which was fought at 147 lb) and climbed the ring at 148 1/2. Now if we can put him in that shape I don’t see anyone who will be able to take his punches. He really looked exceptionally well at 142," said Ariza, who’s coming over to Baguio City for the training.

Ariza said he’s not concerned at all that some people feel that Pacquiao is lagging behind Cotto in training. While the Puerto Rican is into his fourth week, Pacquiao will mark day one of his training on Sept. 21 at the earliest.

But Ariza said it doesn’t really matter because eight weeks have proven to be the perfect formula, and anything more or less than that won’t bring out the best in him.

"Believe me, once he's in training nothing can disrupt him. And once he's ready, he'd climb the gate just to fight," he said.

At the press conference, Pacquiao said when he climbs the ring against Cotto he will prove the world "who Manny Pacquiao is."

The 30-year-old icon is gunning for a record seventh world title in different weight classes.

Cotto capped the press tour by saying there’s nothing else to do now but train, and make sure that when the fight comes "you're in your best shape."

Cotto is scheduled to fly back to Puerto Rico, and in just a couple of days will be in Tampa, Florida for the big grind. Pacquiao, on the other hand, motors to San Diego today to do the ceremonial pitch in the Padres’ game before heading back to Manila later in the evening. - By Abac Cordero (Philstar News Service,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pacquiao: Mayweather showdown inevitable

LOS ANGELES – Without really looking ahead of the Miguel Cotto fight, Manny Pacquiao yesterday said what seems to be his inevitable dream fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is looming on the horizon.

Once the fight pushes through, Pacquiao could earn from $25 million to $30 million or roughly P1.5 billion.

But Pacquiao said it would all depend on the outcome of his fight with Cotto, the reigning WBO welterweight champion, in November, and Mayweather’s own match with Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday.

Both Pacquiao and Mayweather are favored to prevail, and should no one spoil the fun, they could end up facing each other for what could be the fight of the decade or even greater than that, later next year.

“Kapag nanalo kami pareho ni Mayweather, kami na yan (If me and Mayweather prevail, then it should be us),” said Pacquiao on board the Gulfstream G200 eight-seater plane that took him out of San Francisco.

“Nag-uusap na. Basta. Nag-uusap na (Talks are on),” said Pacquiao who was joined in the 50-minute flight to Burbank in LA by trainer Freddie Roach, top-ranked publicist Fred Sternburg, Mike Koncz, Geng Gacal and Roger Fernandez.

Cotto took a separate plane, a private one as well, to Los Angeles and was joined by his father, Miguel Sr., lawyer Gabriel Penagaricano, coach Phil Landman, Top Rank big boss Bob Arum and his dynamic duo of Lee Samuels and Ricardo Jimenez.

Arum said Pacquiao stands to earn as much as $20 million for the Cotto fight, and while he has yet to confirm that there are indeed talks with the Mayweather camp, he’d rather have Pacquiao focusing on the coming fight.

At the AT&T Park in San Francisco earlier in the day, Pacquiao and Cotto came to watch the San Francisco Giants clobber the LA Dodgers, and for the fourth straight day the two boxers stood close to one another.

They were together up inside a VIP box, enjoying some cold drinks and hotdogs. They seem to like each other’s company but when they part in a couple of days, they should start training, thinking of ways how to beat each other.

After the match, played before a sell-out crowd of 40,000, Pacquiao and Cotto took over, holding a conference just off the Giants dugout, in front of some 3,000 fans who came to see the two world champions in the flesh, and not necessarily the ballgame.

A cold afternoon drizzle was not enough to shoo the crowd away as Pacquiao, Cotto and Arum fielded questions from the media and some of the fans, which occupied eight sections of the lower stands, as well.

Pacquiao hardly talked about his plans for the fight, and instead invited the fans to come to Las Vegas in November because "I’m going to hold a concert at Mandalay Bay after the fight."

Cotto was bolder this time, saying he’d train as hard as he can because "it’s going to be war" out there at the MGM Grand.

Pacquiao played basketball with friends in San Francisco at noon before leaving for LA.

From the airport, Pacquiao was taken straight to his $2 million home at the plush Hancock Park, took some rest and enjoyed dinner of grilled angus beef and steamed rice.

Roach was asked about Pacquiao’s training, and said they will be ready to go 12 rounds against Cotto. But boxing’s hottest trainer today may have something else in mind when he said training will be held in “Boracay.”

He was quick in making the correction that it should be Baguio. Later on, before boarding the private plane, he had a good laugh about having mentioned Boracay, which he fondly remembers as the island paradise in the Philippines.

Notes: Tickets to the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto "Firepower" in November are moving so fast that it you still don’t have one, chances are you’d end up watching the fight on pay-per-view or closed circuit or buying one for an incredible price on the black market. Of the close to 17,000 seats at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, only a few hundreds are left, those pegged at $1,000 and $750. “The $300s are gone,” said Top Rank’s Ricardo Jimenez. The tickets to the Pacquiao-Cotto fight are doing so great that Ringside A, Row A seats, where the stars belong, are being peddled on the Internet for $8,645 each or roughly P414,960, probably equivalent to a year’s salary of a bank manager in Manila. "It just shows how big this fight is and how the fans are looking forward to it," said Pacquiao’s adviser, Mike Koncz. “For some fights, hotels in Las Vegas are on a discounted price, but for this fight, for Pacquiao fights, they’re jacking them up,” he said. - By Abac Cordero (Philstar News Service,


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Let him run, attack - either way he loses, says Pacquiao

SAN FRANCISCO — Manny Pacquiao has already drawn up the scenarios for his Nov. 14 title fight with Miguel Cotto.

As he waited for the nine-hour flight out of San Juan, Puerto Rico to San Francisco via Atlanta yesterday, the Filipino crowd-drawer bared his deeper thoughts on the upcoming fight.

“Magandang laban (Good fight),” said Pacquiao, comfortably seated at the departure area, just after he had finished reading a few pages of the book “Builder of Dreams” by Antonio Meloto.

“Eto, ah, sasabihin ko sa inyo (This, I will tell you),” he continued.

“Tatakbo sa akin yan. If I press the fight I’m sure he would run. At kapag naghintay naman ako, papasok yan (And if I wait, he’ll come in),” said the reigning pound-for-pound champion.

In short, Pacquiao thinks that either way would be to his advantage, considering that he has both the speed, to catch Cotto somewhere along the way, and the power to put him down.

“Ganyan ang mangyayari, tumakbo man siya or pumasok siya, okay sa akin,” said Pacquiao, his pre-game analysis cut short by a line of Puerto Rican fans wanting to take pictures with him.

From fellow passengers to airport personnel and even the police, all of them wanted to be close to Pacquiao. One of them said, “I may be the only Puerto Rican rooting for you. Believe me. You’re a great fighter.”

It was around three in the afternoon, and a couple of hours earlier Pacquiao and Cotto were at the Centro de Bellas Artes de Caguas, right in the heart of the WBO champion’s hometown.

More than a thousand packed the theater, and they cheered wildly as Pacquiao and Cotto made a dramatic entrance, slowly rising through a hydraulic box that had kept them beneath an elevated stage.

Key members of both camps, along with some Puerto Rican officials, were introduced by Top Rank president Bob Arum.

Cotto, in an elegant brown suit, spoke in Spanish and was cheered on, while Pacquiao, more casual in a white shirt, blue jeans and running shoes, spoke in English.

Even the Puerto Ricans cheered him on, and there were even chants of “Man-ny! Man-ny!” as he took the microphone. He said, “I’m sure you will all root for Cotto because he’s your countryman. But thank you for supporting me, too.”

Before their explosive stage appearance, Pacquiao and Cotto held separate interviews in separate rooms with the Puerto Rican media. Cotto came with his lovely wife and four kids, while Pacquiao was with his lean entourage.

At one point, however, they ended up in the same room when they were not supposed to, and Pacquiao sat beside Cotto, shaking hands and again smiling, talking to one another like they were old friends.

Pacquiao and his men checked in at the trendy El San Juan Hotel and Casino past midnight Friday, and checked out of the hotel by the beach before 10 a.m. headed to the press conference and straight to the airport.

A line of black, heavily-tinted Ford Excursions, with burly bodyguards in dark suits, brought Pacquiao and Cotto to the arts center, and the convoy, with police motorcycle escorts, drove swiftly for 45 minutes like it was carrying the President.

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, did most of the talking during the interview, and faced tough questions on the schedule of their training which won’t start until Sept. 21 in Baguio City, while Cotto has been training for four weeks now.

“No one dictates our time but Manny and me. If they already started I don’t care. I know my job and we know what we’re doing,” said Roach.

“We’ll be in great shape and we’ll be ready to go 12 rounds. We want to take the rounds one at a time and if the knockout comes then it comes. We know he (Cotto) has a good chin but we’re gonna take away his advantage and use ours,” he added.

Pacquiao could only agree.

Notes: Bob Arum hasn’t been to Baguio, and he won’t miss the opportunity to be there while Manny Pacquiao trains. He said he’ll be up there in the country’s summer capital for a few days. The legendary promoter was asking what he should do once he lands in Manila, when Pacquiao, his boxer, said, “Don’t worry Bob. I will arrange a private plane for you. Don’t travel by land.” Pacquiao will train for four weeks in Baguio, under Freddie Roach who’ll be coming in on the 19th or 20th with the sparring partners... The ongoing press tour of five key cities in six days is turning out to be a huge success, prompting Pacquiao’s Canadian adviser, Mike Koncz, to say that “Whatever we accomplished in the press tours in each of Manny’s recent fights is just 50 percent of what we’ve accomplished so far here,” said Koncz, noting that not even for the Dela Hoya fight last December did the press tour look like this one. “Before, all we did was come to the city, do the press conference and leave,” said Koncz. This time, there are side-trips that only keep the fans going, like Pacquiao taking early-morning runs at Central Park in New York, gracing pictorials with HBO and ESPN or showing up at the municipal hall of Caguas, Puerto Rico. Sunday, the boxers take to the AT&T Park here in Frisco for the Giants vs Dodgers game, and by Monday they should be at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles for another gig. On Tuesday, Pacquiao will be at the PETCO Park in San Diego for a game featuring the Padres, and later in the evening is scheduled to take the flight back to Manila. - By Abac Cordero (Philstar News Service,


***Don't forget to watch the Mayweather vs Marquez fight on the 19th this September here.