NOVEMBER 13, 2006
(STAR) Nonoy Neri is playing a dual role at Team Pacquiao. As one of the assistant trainers of Freddie Roach, the other being Buboy Fernandez, he also acts as Manny Pacquiao’s chief cook.

For the coming fight against Erik Morales, scheduled Nov. 18 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, the bouncy 37-year-old Neri is using the same old, winning recipe.

"Puro tinolang manok (chicken), nilagang baka (beef), gulay (vegetable) at isda (fish)," said the native of Davao who also manned the kitchen when Pacquiao stopped Morales last January.

Neri, who’s been with Pacquiao for the last seven years, also played the same dual role last July when the Filipino southpaw outlasted Mexico’s Oscar Larios at the Big Dome.

"So this is the third straight fight that I’ve cooked for Manny in training," he said in Filipino.

Neri said Pacquiao has never had any problems with his weight for the coming fight and could eat as much as he wants to as long as he stays away from anything sweet.

"No more juice of any kind, nothing sweet. He also stopped drinking milk. Just plenty of water," said Neri, adding that Pacquiao is just a little over the 130-lb limit with one full week left.

"Manny weighed 136 the other day but when he asked him to take off his shirt, shorts and fighting shoes that were soaked in sweat, he was down to 132," he said.

"We will use the same recipe until Wednesday before he finally tapers off in preparation for Friday’s weigh-in. He will have to eat less in the next few days," Neri added.

"There’s just no diet to speak of. He can eat as much as he wants. That’s why he’s in terrific shape. He even told me that this is the toughest training camp he’s ever been."

"And there are no distractions this time," said Neri. — Abac Cordero

Manny ends LA camp, motors to Vegas By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 11/13/2006

LOS ANGELES — A heavy workout at the Wild Card Gym and a sing-along party at a nearby Thai restaurant highlighted Manny Pacquiao’s last day of training here in this cold City of Angels.

Pacquiao and his entourage of around 30 persons will travel four hours and 300 miles Sunday (Monday in Manila) to Las Vegas, the site of the highly-awaited fight against Mexico’s Erik Morales.

The 27-year-old Filipino boxer will hear morning mass at Christ the King Church in Hollywood area before taking off for Vegas where the weather has dipped to under 10 degrees over the last couple of days.

Pacquiao has been in LA for almost two months now and has practically spent each day running like wild in the morning and working it out at the Hollywood gym owned by his trainer Freddie Roach.

Saturday’s workout at the expanded gym also served as Pacquiao’s last day of sparring against taller and heavier Mexican fighters David Rodela and Jorge Padilla.

Before dozens of fans, Pacquiao had three rounds with Padilla and two with Rodela. Heavy punches were thrown both ways with Pacquiao, at times, allowing himself to get beat.

"You’re taking too much Manny," someone from among the crowd shouted as Pacquiao was pinned by Padilla on the ropes, and took heavy punches to the body.

But Pacquiao simply laughed it off as he headed back to his corner.

In the third round, he poured it out against Padilla, unleashing several flurries that often hit their mark and sent the 5-foot-9 Mexican reeling until trainer Buboy Fernandez called "time."

The crowd clapped with approval as the session ended.

Overall, Pacquiao had around 150 rounds of sparring, probably the most he’s had in recent fights. He will no longer spar in the final week heading to the match and will simply go through the motions.

"We really doubled our efforts in training for this fight. That’s why I feel so fine. This is the hardest training I’ve ever had. I’m ready. So, Let’s get it on," said Pacquiao.

The 27-year-old boxer took a while before emerging from the dressing room, and leaving the gym, but needed two hours to get out of the Nat’s Thai Food, his favorite place for lunch.

After filling himself with grilled pink salmon, vegetable and rice with friends and team members, Pacquiao turned on the music. He played the guitar and sang his favorite tunes with his composer Lito Camo.

There was no stopping Pacquiao who simply had a very good time. He looked so relax performing at the small restaurant that was later packed by Filipino fans based here in LA.

Pacquiao left the restaurant shortly after 4 p.m., boarding his two-seater, top-down Mercedes SL 550 with Demi Dizon, a very close friend from Manila.

Pacquiao was smiling as he drove off. Cool and confident.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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