(STAR) By Abac Cordero – By the time it gets dark Monday, Manny Pacquiao would have completed a 300-mile journey from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the site of his Oct. 6 showdown with Marco Antonio Barrera.

Pacquiao wraps up his sparring at the Wild Card Gym at noon, and after a very brief rest will board his gray Lincoln Navigator for the four-hour drive. A few other vehicles will tail Pacquiao’s late-model SUV.

Pacquiao said he can’t wait to see Vegas, which has been kind to the 28-year-old boxer. In five fights, including three against Erik Morales, he’s had three wins, a loss and a draw, a controversial one.

“I’m ready. I’ve packed up my things,” said Pacquiao.

Pacquiao will start the day with a brief run at the Griffith Park then will spar three more rounds against David Rodela to bring their total to 131 rounds. It will be the last time he will spar in his preparation for the rematch.

Barrera’s whereabouts remain uncertain. Some said he was scheduled to fly from Guadalajara to LA last Saturday, while others said he was to proceed to Vegas Sunday or a day ahead of Pacquiao.

Pacquiao will be joined in the Navigator by trainer Buboy Fernandez, the driver and a bodyguard. His chief trainer, Freddie Roach, is planning to drive his own car to Vegas, but a little ahead of the convoy.

Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee is flying in Monday evening from Manila, and from the airport will board a van that will take her and some family members and friends straight to the Mandalay Bay in Vegas.

Roach ready for Barrera dirty tricks Tuesday, October 2, 2007

(STAR) LOS ANGELES – Freddie Roach is not expecting a clean fight because he believes that the only way Marco Antonio Barrera could beat Manny Pacquiao on Oct. 6 is if the Mexican fights a dirty fight.

“Fight dirty,” Roach said is Barrera’s only chance.

The two-time Trainer of the Year hinted that Barrera may need the services of a seasoned dirty tricks department when the two ring gladiators square off this coming Saturday (Sunday noon in Manila) in Las Vegas.

Roach said Sunday he’s aware that the Barrera camp has gotten hold of videotapes of old Pacquiao fights, including that against Agapito Sanchez on Nov. 10, 2001 at the Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco.

That IBF super-bantamweight title fight, according to Roach, may have exposed Pacquiao’s weakness to stay focused and stick to the game plan when the opposing fighter resorts to dirty tricks.

The ringside doctor stopped that fight in the sixth round due to a nasty cut on Pacquiao’s right eye caused by an accidental headbutt in the second round, and worsened by another one in the sixth.

In that fight, Pacquiao’s first following a stunning win over Lehlo Ledwaba five months earlier, Sanchez, the challenger, was deducted two points for low blows. Pacquiao was awarded the victory via technical knockout.

“Barrera can’t outsmart or outfight Manny Pacquiao. So what he’s going to do is he’s going to use his head,” said Roach the other day during Pacquiao’s training at the Wild Card Gym.

“But Manny Pacquiao is such a gentleman, such a sportsman that if gets head butt, he doesn’t ‘headbutt’ back. That’s just his nature,” added Roach, who will have Joe Chavez, one of the finest cutmen in the business, by his side on Saturday.

Pacquiao said he’s ready for anything that comes his way.

“Pinag-handaan na naming lahat (We’ve prepared for everything),” he said Sunday in his posh La Palazzo apartment. “Even Barrera’s uppercut and hook, we’re ready for them. I’m ready for them.”

But he refused to give Barrera a hint of what to expect.

“We don’t want him to expect anything. It’s a secret,” he said. – Abac Cordero

Manny all trimmed for fight and school Tuesday, October 2, 2007

(STAR) LOS ANGELES – A brand-new haircut almost made Manny Pacquiao forget about Marco Antonio Barrera.

“Wow! School boy!” the flamboyant boxer laughed at the mirror after a one-hour haircut done by his buddy from LA, Edward Lura.

By himself, Pacquiao shaved off his goatee, grown during training, and trimmed his moustache as he was filmed inside the spacious bathroom of his expensive apartment unit.

Pacquiao said his clean-cut image will serve him well as he enters the first day of his classes on Oct. 17 at Notre Dame in Gen. Santos City.

“Tamang-tama sa school (Just right for school). Matutuwa ang teacher (The teacher will like it),” said the boxer who will take up business administration.

He was in a very light, jovial mood the whole day. He enjoyed his lunch of “chicken adobo” and “bulalo” with rice.

Pacquiao heard Mass at the Christ the King Church down Vine St. at 8:30 in the morning after a brief run at the La Brea area. It was a day-off for the 28-year-old Pacquiao who climbs the ring Saturday in Las Vegas.

Later in the afternoon, he drifted off in his all-black, top-down Mercedes, driving around town tailed by two other vehicles carrying his closest friends.

Pacquiao stopped by at the Vagabond Inn to meet with his Cebuano adviser Wakee Salud, and his brothers Roel and Bobby. Then they all proceeded to Kabuki, a trendy restaurant along Sunset Blvd., for a long-table splurge on Japanese food worth $449 or roughly P20,000.

“Mura na din. Nabusog ako eh (It’s cheap. I’m so full),” he said. – Abac Cordero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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