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.
All Pro Sportsbook has the odds of Pacquiao beating Margarito at 4/23 and the odds of the underdog Margarito winning set at 15/4