[PHOTO AT LEFT - Freddie Roach shows an issue of The STAR. Abac Cordero]

LOS  ANGELES, NOVEMBER 27, 2008 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Freddie Roach wants Manny Pacquiao to take the fight to Oscar dela Hoya right from the start.

“A lot of people tell me if Manny gets past four rounds he’s okay. I don’t think so,” Roach said Tuesday evening over dinner at his favorite Thai restaurant just outside the Wild Card Gym.

Roach said it wouldn’t be wise for Pacquiao to stay away from Dela Hoya in the opening rounds, and by the fifth, sixth or seventh round he’d land his way and hope that the Golden Boy tires out.

“I told Manny, ‘I want you to go out there and let him know that it’s a f***ng fight. Right away. If you give Oscar the momentum he grows. But he’s a skittish person. If you take it from him right away he’ll fold,” Roach said.

Roach said pressing the fight early might keep Dela Hoya out of synch, and probably force him to abandon his game plan the way he did when he fought and lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year.

“He’s (Dela Hoya) mentally not strong. That’s why he couldn’t focus on a game plan,” said Roach. He said he felt that Dela Hoya was winning the fight against Mayweather until he abandoned the plan prepared by Roach.

Dela Hoya blamed Roach, his trainer for the Mayweather fight, for the loss, saying they had the wrong strategy.

Roach told scribes who just flew in from Manila that Pacquiao is doing great in training, doing 10 rounds Tuesday against Rashad Holloway, Marvin Cordova and two-time national champion Michael Dallas.

Roach said Pacquiao reached his peak after doing 12 rounds last Saturday. On Thursday he’ll do eight, then six on Saturday and four on Monday before traveling to Las Vegas.

“I don’t know if I’m crazy or not but there’s no way we’re gonna lose this fight,” he said.

Roach said Pacquiao is going to win this fight so he could face Ricky Hatton early next year, adding that it’s now safe to say that the Filipino superstar is all set to yield the WBC lightweight crown he won over David Diaz last June.

“It’s gone,” he said of the 135-pound title.

“We’ll never fight as a lightweight again. I think Manny will campaign at 140. The day before the Diaz fight he had to lose two pounds and he told me he’s never going to fight at 135 no more. We thought we’ll fight at 140 but this opportunity came up,” he said.

Roach thinks that Pacquiao vs Hatton is a better fight than Dela Hoya vs Hatton.

“Of course it’s a way better fight. These are two action fighters. Dela Hoya is a boxer, boring. It’s a great matchup. To my opinion it will even be bigger than this fight. We’ll fight him at Wembley,” said the American trainer.

He said there’s no way Dela Hoya would land the fight against Hatton because after the Dec. 6 fight with Pacquiao the Golden Boy is gone.

“Oscar’s not gonna get Ricky because he’ll get knocked out. This is his last fight. He gets knocked out by Pacquiao and he’s over,” said Roach.

Dela Hoya hurting and overtrained? Updated November 27, 2008 12:00 AM

LOS ANGELES – There are two concerns in Oscar dela Hoya’s camp – an old shoulder injury and the possibility that he may have overtrained for this fight.

The shoulder injury, one which Dela Hoya suffered when he fought Ricardo Mayorga in May of 2000, has come to life once more as seen through the HBO’s “Dela Hoya-Pacquiao 24/7” which tackles deep into the “Dream Match”

The wrote that in the early part of the HBO series, “there have been several occasions where the left shoulder of Dela Hoya appears as though it is still a problem for him and it is receiving special treatment.”

Dela Hoya, according to the article, was seen in training wearing a neoprene shoulder support that gives functional support to the shoulder to provide stabilization and mobility, and helps prevent re-injury of over-used joints.

T.K. Stewart wrote that Dela Hoya’s brother, Joel Jr., was seen “vigorously massaging” the Golden Boy’s left shoulder area while conditioning coach Rob Garcia was administering “acupuncture therapy.”

A torn rotator cuff could be the problem, and if it is then only a surgery could repair it. But Dela Hoya hasn’t gone under surgery, and the article said that after the Mayorga fight he said, “I will not have surgery… I’ll try to let it heal on its own along with medication.”

Then there’s overtraining aspect, in the eyes of legendary trainer Angelo Dundee.

Dela Hoya has been training for the Dec. 6 “Dream Match” longer than Pacquiao, and has been bragging that as early as so many days ago he’s already well inside the 147-pound weight limit.

Pacquiao is into his ninth week of training at the Wild Card Gym while Dela Hoya had gone even longer working it out and losing a lot of weight at the Big Bear Camp.

“I know the condition he’s in right now, my concern is that he leaves the condition here and doesn’t take it to the fight,” Dundee was quoted as saying.

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, agrees.

“For him to maintain that low weight for a long period of time will make him the weakest by fight time. That’s unrealistic. Fighters make the weight two days before the fight. I think it’s a mistake to be in that low weight for a long period of time,” he said. – Abac Cordero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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