PACQUIAO  75  PERCENT  READY - ROACH

MANILA, AUGUST 17, 2007
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Freddie Roach yesterday supervised Manny Pacquiao’s training in Cebu, then declared the Filipino boxer 65 to 75 percent ready with still 50 days left before his rematch with Marco Antonio Barrera.

“He looks very good and everything’s right on schedule,” said Roach, who arrived in Manila from Los Angeles yesterday morning and took a connecting flight to Cebu to be with Pacquiao.

“With almost seven weeks left, we’ll be ready for the fight. I should say he’s 65 to 75 percent ready right now. He’s definitely under 140 pounds,” Roach told The STAR over the phone.

The American trainer also ordered Pacquiao’s training in Cebu be held closed-door following a huge turnout of fans on his first day of workout.

“The gym will be closed tomorrow (today). We are going to work hard and I’m not going to let any distraction get in our way,” said Roach, visibly surprised after seeing a throng of Pacman followers trying to get a glimpse of their idol at the RWS gym.

“I made a deal with Wakee that the gym will be off limits to the fans. The press gonna have to make an appointment. We need to stay focus on this fight because this is really a hard fight coming up. And if we take this guy lightly, that’s the only way we lose,” said Roach.

“Most of the things will be done here. I don’t want to go back in LA and start all over again. We need a place to start and we respect Cebu,” said Roach.

He said Pacquiao, who arrived in Cebu Tuesday evening, ran in the morning, and rested in his Waterfront Hotel room until noon. They held the two-hour workout after lunch.

“It was a good day. We had six rounds of mitts. I think we’ll be ready before we head back to LA two weeks before the fight,” said Roach, adding that sparring may begin in a few days.

Pacquiao was glad that Roach is in town to help him train.

“ I’m glad he’s here now. We had a good workout,” said the 28-year-old boxer, accepting the fact that he has to work doubly hard as his Oct. 6 rematch with Barrera nears.

“ I started training almost two weeks ago so I think I can log in a total of seven weeks for this fight. If Barrera started training four weeks ago, he might over-train,” said Pacquiao.

Juan Manuel Marquez, the WBC super-featherweight champion and possibly Pacquiao’s next opponent, said that just because Pacquiao knocked out Barrera in 2003 means it’s going to be an easy fight.

“If Manny thinks this is going to be an easy fight against Marco and he’s easing off his training, it could be a wrong step in his career,” Marquez told boxing.scene.com. – With report from Emmanuel Villaruel


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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