(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao’s last day at the gym was off-limits. No fans, no friends, no media.

Showing that he means serious business, Pacquiao ordered the front door at the Jesse James Leija Gym outside the city proper closed as he worked out for the last time heading to his fight with Mexican Jorge Solis on Saturday.

Not even Filipino scribes who have followed Pacquiao’s training all the way from Los Angeles were allowed inside. Outside looking in from the glass windows, they saw the Pinoy boxer work hard as ever.

Shortly after his handlers ripped the bandage off his hands, Pacquiao opened the door.

"Okay na. Underweight na (It’s okay. I’m underweight)," said the 28-year-old boxer, in a silver sweat suit, fit and trim, his cheekbones more prominent and looking well inside the 130-pound limit for Saturday’s fight at the Alamodome.

Pacquiao even showed the media his famous six-pack, raising his shirt the way Solis did earlier in the day at the lobby of the Radisson Hotel where both fighters are staying.

"Wala akong problema. Ang kalaban ang may problema (I have no problems. It’s the opponent who has a problem)," added Pacquiao who trained with Justine Fortune as his lovely wife Jinkee watched from outside the ring.

It was the first time, probably in weeks, that Jinkee came over to see his husband train.

"Masarap mag-train dito (It’s nice to train here)," he said.

Fortune, who handled Pacquiao’s training in the absence of Freddie Roach, said their preparations for the coming fight are as hard as those in preparing for bigger fights against Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales.

"The same preparations. What we’ve done before, we did this time," added Fortune who expects Roach to fly in from Puerto Rico Friday morning in time for the 2 p.m. weigh-in at the Alamodome.

Fortune said Pacquiao in top shape is simply unbeatable.

"There’s no one who can beat him at 130 pounds today," he said.

Reacting to statements made by Mexican promoter Fernando Beltran that Pacquiao should be ready because Solis is a boxer who can throw as many as 250 punches in a single round, Fortune just offered a smile.

Then he said: "Manny throws 500 punches per round. Fernando Beltran is very confident and he should be. They’re the opposition."

Solis not bothered by lefties By Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star 04/14/2007

Jorge Solis has learned to handle left-handers in the ring and shouldn’t be bothered by Manny Pacquiao’s southpaw style when they slug it out for the WBC International superfeatherweight title at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila time).

The problem is Solis has never faced anyone as hard-hitting as Pacquiao.

A southpaw whom Solis faced twice was Colombia’s Wilson Alcorro. In their first meeting in 2003, the gangling Mexican had difficulty finding his range and rallied to salvage a split 12-round draw.

Alcorro, unbeaten in his last 26 bouts, fought aggressively but faded in the late rounds as Solis turned on the heat. Boxing writer Jim Brady said Solis fought "with obvious desperation and simply wanted it more."

Fans cheered both fighters at the final bell as they staged a furious finish. One judge saw it for Solis, 116-112, another for Alcorro, 115-113, and a third scored it a draw, 114-all.

A few months later, Solis and Alcorro met in a rematch. This time, Solis knew what to do. He dropped Alcorro in the fifth round en route to a clear win on points. Solis was busier and raked Alcorro’s southpaw defense with snappy 1-2 combinations. His failure to dispose of Alcorro, however, showed the lack of a killer blow.

One of Solis’ most impressive wins was his fifth round demolition of Nicky Bentz in Corpus Christi, Texas, two years ago. Solis blasted Bentz with punishing combinations, setting up a vicious overhand right with a sharp left jab. He occasionally used a left uppercut to hammer Bentz’ body before throwing a right hook. A right to the head sent Bentz down in the third. A series of rights floored Bentz twice in the fourth. Finally, a left-right-left combination brought a merciful end to the bout at 1:14 of the fifth.

Bentz said Solis surprised him with a strong start and he couldn’t neutralize the Mexican’s reach advantage.

No doubt, Solis will try to outwork Pacquiao from a distance and avoid a direct confrontation. His goal will be to survive the 12 rounds. He is expected to frustrate Pacquiao by refusing to engage and hope for a win by decision.

Solis was once described by Top Rank publicist Ricardo Jimenez as a young version of Juan Manuel Marquez but from his recent fights, he appears to be more like Erik Morales. Solis is a technician with a clinical approach.

Solis, 27, has a high rate of accuracy against an opponent who is a standing target. He starts his offense with a jarring left jab or a left uppercut dig to the side of the body followed by an overhand right, a right hook or a right straight. Pacquiao will use lateral movement to avoid the jab and counter with his own combinations. Since Solis’ right is his deadly weapon, Pacquiao will circle to the Mexican’s left so there is more distance for the punch to travel. With more distance to travel, the impact of Solis’ right will be less if it lands.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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