SEPTEMBER 17, 2008
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - After a day of rest, shaking off very little jetlag, Manny Pacquiao marks his first day at the gym today (Tuesday in Los Angeles) for his Dec. 6 match with Oscar dela Hoya.

Pacquiao arrived in LA from Manila last Sunday evening. He took it easy the following day, meeting old friends at his La Palazzo apartment and trying to settle in.

He said Tuesday marks Day One of his training at the Wild Card Gym under Freddie Roach. He has exactly 80 days before the fight, and a little over 10 weeks of hard training.

“Bukas simula na ng bakbakan na sa ensayo (Tomorrow the hard grind in training starts),” Pacquiao said in a text message yesterday afternoon as he preferred to call it a day.

Pacquiao is in for the biggest fight of his life against great American who won the gold medal in the 1992 Olympics, before claiming 10 titles in six weight divisions as a pro.

The 29-year-old Pacquiao, six years younger and four inches shorter said a few days ago that he will train behind closed-doors as he appealed to his fans to cooperate.

Pacquiao flew to LA with his Pinoy trainers Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri, and legal counsel Franklin Gacal.

Pacquiao said while Dela Hoya is the taller and heavier boxer, the Filipino icon will rely on his speed to turn the match around.

Steve Forbes, the last boxer to face Dela Hoya (losing by decision last May), agreed that Pacquiao’s tremendous speed with both his hands and feet may spell the difference.

“If Manny can keep moving very fast, jumping in and out he can give Oscar a lot of problems and then score. But Oscar, fifth round or so, he’s just been a strong puncher,” Forbes told SportsNews.

But at the same time, he brushed aside the claims of Pacquiao’s trainer that Dela Hoya, pushing 36, can’t “pull the trigger anymore.”

“In our fight I was well-prepared. I think he can still pull the trigger. He still has punching power. One year ago he fought a split decision against Floyd Mayweather. Nobody has ever done that.

He took a year off and then he fought me. It’s not like he took any abuse. He fought more relax in the later rounds,” Forbes was quoted as saying.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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