[PHOTO AT LEFT - Freddie Roach MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, AUGUST 12, 2009 (PHILIPPINE STAR) By Abac Cordero -  How to keep Manny Pacquiao away from Miguel Cotto’s heavy hands is the main concern of the Filipino boxer’s trainer, Freddie Roach.

It’s not that Pacquiao doesn’t have the chin, but the three-time Trainer of the Year, is just making sure that the unexpected doesn’t happen when the two fighters collide on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas.

“Manny has a really good chin because he has a big heart. Of course Cotto’s power is a major concern for me but I really think that we will have no problems. I’m training Manny not to get hit,” he said.

In a recent interview with, Roach said it was Pacquiao, the reigning pound-for-pound champion, who decided to take on Cotto, the reigning WBO welterweight champion, and not Shane Mosley or Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao must have seen something from ringside when Cotto faced Josh Clottey a few months ago.

“Manny has always wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. The Mayweather fight got delayed because of injury and Manny needed a fight around year’s end. After watching the fight Manny told (Bob) Arum that he could beat Cotto,” said Roach.

And now that the fight contract has been sealed, signed and delivered, Roach said the battleplan is in the making.

“Of course. I have already watched several hours of Cotto’s fights. I have been concentrating on how well he did against Shane Mosley. How he neutralized Shane’s speed. Yes, we will have a great game plan for Cotto,” said Roach.

Training for Pacquiao should begin by the second week of September, and based on early plans, the first week will take him to Baguio City, a great summer destination 250 kms north of Manila, and 1,500 meters above sea level.

Then the next four or five weeks will take Pacquiao to Mexico, in the resort town of Nuevo Vallarta, while the final push, probably the last two weeks, will see the FIlipino icon training in Los Angeles or straight to Las Vegas.

Roach explained that Pacquiao can no longer train the whole eight to 10 weeks in the US.

“Because of immigration laws he must spend five weeks training outside America. The laws say we can spend 183 days (yearly) in America and that means the last three weeks of training will be here at the WildCard,” Roach told David Tyler of

Michael Koncz, a Pacquiao adviser, said the boxer likes the idea of training in Mexico where he can give his fans more time to know him more, and how Mexican fight fans love him.

“He’d be very happy to do that as a cross-over star. Mexican fans love Manny. And when I was there recently all they asked me about is where’s Manny. There was a rumor two weeks ago he was in Nuevo Vallarta, but it didn’t push through and everybody I ran into asked about him.

“Manny will be happily surprised when we get to Mexico. He’d be surprised about his popularity there,” Koncz added.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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