(STAR) Manny Pacquiao may lose some of his speed as he campaigns in the heavier division.

But certainly he won’t lose any of his power.

“His speed is just picking up quite a bit,” said Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, Saturday or exactly one week before the Filipino megastar makes his lightweight debut against WBC champion David Diaz.

The fight, set at the 12,000-seat Events Center of Mandalay Bay, is Pacquiao’s first in the 135 lb division. It comes less than four months since he took the WBC super-featherweight crown from Juan Manuel Marquez.

Roach said it’s very typical for a fighter to lose some of his speed as he moves up in weight.

“He may be not the same as 130. But he’ll still be much, much powerful than Diaz,” said Roach who sees a knockout win for Pacquiao, out to become the first Asian to win four world titles in different weight classes.

Pacquiao won his first world title in 1998 as a flyweight (112 lbs), then in 2001 won the super-bantamweight crown (122 lbs), and last March the super-featherweight (130 lbs) title.

In 2003 he was also named Ring Magazine champion in the featherweight (126 lbs) division.

Roach believes that there’s nothing Diaz can do that Pacquiao can’t do better.

“Nothing,” he said firmly.

Diaz, according to Roach, should hope for the fight to last longer because that’s his only chance of stealing the victory, keeping his belt and making an even bigger name for himself.

“His best weapon is that he wins fights late. He breaks you down, he wears you down. He’s durable and he doesn’t get tired,” said Roach of the 30-year-old American with Mexican lineage.

“But we’ll be there with him. We’re ‘gonna break him down,” said Roach. – Abac Cordero

At 139 lbs, he’s right on target Monday, June 23, 2008

LOS ANGELES – Manny Pacquiao is just too happy where he is right now.

After weighing in at 139 lbs Saturday afternoon at the oven-hot Wild Card Gym here, Pacquiao said everything has fallen into place for his June 28 date with WBC lightweight champion David Diaz in Las Vegas.

The fight, scheduled 12 rounds, is set at 135 lbs. And while Pacquiao may have had trouble making 130 lbs in his most recent fights, this time there’s really no concern regarding the weight.

“Didn’t you see I even had my clothes on?” Pacquiao said as he emerged from the tiny office being kept by Roach inside his famous sweatshop in the Hollywood area.

Only Pacquiao and Roach were inside the office when the weigh-in, as mandated by the WBC one week before the fight, took place.

“One-thirty-nine,” Roach said as he squeezed his way out of the gym’s reception area.

Pacquiao said at 139, he’s right on target, meaning he has almost six days left to lose four pounds and show up for Friday’s official weigh-in at 135 lbs or even less. He said he can make it at least a pound lighter.

“Coach Freddie said there’s no need to hurry keeping the weight down especially in this kind of weather,” said Pacquiao, who had to excuse himself from all the autograph-signing and picture-taking after his two-hour workout.

He said it was just getting too hot inside the gym. He proceeded to his favorite Thai restaurant downstairs, and there he gave some fans the chance to mingle with their favorite ring hero.

Temperature within the LA area rose to as high as 106 degrees or in the low 40s. Roach said he’d “never seen LA this hot.”

Roach was just as happy to see Pacquiao in his present shape.

“Yeah, 139 (lbs) is good. With a week to go it’s better than expected,” he said.

Pacquiao sparred six rounds against Julio Gamboa and Steve Quinones Saturday, raising his total to 136 with four more rounds, the last four rounds, scheduled Monday morning since a press conference is scheduled at 2 p.m. at Sta. Monica here in LA.

Roach has decided to give Pacquiao a full day of rest Sunday to be spent only by hearing mass in the morning.

“He won’t even run tomorrow. It’s his rest day. I’m giving him a full rest day,” said Roach. – Abac Cordero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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