ROACH  TO  BARRERA:  WE'RE  READY

LAS VEGAS, OCTOBER 3, 2007
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - The message, written in big, bold, black letters, was loud and clear: We’re ready now!

At the back of Freddie Roach’s shirt, which he wore during Manny Pacquiao’s final day of sparring at the Wild Card Gym in LA, these words were printed.

“I guess the shirt says it all,” said Roach of his ward’s readiness to face and, once again, conquer Marco Antonio Barrera when they collide on Saturday at Mandalay Bay.

Pacquiao held his last sparring day at the Hollywood gym Monday, doing four rounds and bringing his total to 133, just about the number he’s had in previous fights.

It seemed that they emphasized on speed on the final day of sparring as Pacquiao polished four-to-five-punch combinations against David Rodela.

Later on, after more rounds on the mitts and a few more with the bags, Pacquiao freshened up, had a very late lunch, and pushed for Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Tony Weeks will be the third man in the ring in the Pacquiao-Barrera rematch, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

One of Weeks’ most memorable assignments was the all-time classic first fight between Jose Luis Castillo and Diego “Chico” Corrales where Corrales came back from two knockdowns in the 10th round before hitting Castillo with a barrage of unanswered punches forcing Weeks to jumped in and stopped the contest.

The NSAC also announced that the fight judges will be Tom Schreck, Jerry Roth and Glenn Trowbridge.

Roach said all the hard work plus the game plan have been done, and the concern now is just to keep the weight down to where it is right now.

Pacquiao is at a comfortable 132 lbs, just a little over the 130 lb limit for a super-featherweight fight. The weigh-in is set on Friday.

Roach said the other day the only way Barrera could beat Pacquiao is if the older, slower Mexican fights “a dirty fight.”

Again, he said they’re ready for any eventuality.

“Manny’s aware of what might happen. He knew that in the last fight Barrera tried to headbutt him a couple of times,” said Roach of the 2003 showdown in Texas where the Filipino scored a sensational knockout win.

“I just told him to keep his distance and not get real close to this guy, use his speed and quickness moving in and out. We’ll use some quick combinations.

“We’re not going to give Barrera a chance to use his head. He knows Barrera is a dirty fighter – his elbows, his shoulder and the headbutt. But Manny knows the position to be at so when Barrera headbutts, it’s him who will get cut and not us,” said Roach.

Notes: Manny Pacquiao arrived here in Las Vegas later than scheduled, at around 9 p.m. And while settling down inside his penthouse suite at Mandalay Bay, he aired his confidence by telling some Vegas-based visitors that they’re all invited to Saturday’s victory celebration. “Bring all your friends to the victory party,” he said. If Pacquiao’s previous stays here in Vegas made him feel like he’s in paradise, this time, at The Hotel of Mandalay Bay, should make him feel like he’s in heaven. Pacquiao’s suite, which could easily costs more than a thousand dollars, is so elegant, so classy that even presidents would fit in. It’s located on the 61st floor of this grand, golden hotel.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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