[PHOTO AT LEFT - Manny Pacquiao reads a book in the pre-departure area of the Puerto Rico airport. Abac Cordero SAN FRANCISCO]

SAN FRANCISCO, SEPTEMBER 14, 2009 (PHILIPPINE STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao has already drawn up the scenarios for his Nov. 14 title fight with Miguel Cotto.

As he waited for the nine-hour flight out of San Juan, Puerto Rico to San Francisco via Atlanta yesterday, the Filipino crowd-drawer bared his deeper thoughts on the upcoming fight.

“Magandang laban (Good fight),” said Pacquiao, comfortably seated at the departure area, just after he had finished reading a few pages of the book “Builder of Dreams” by Antonio Meloto.

“Eto, ah, sasabihin ko sa inyo (This, I will tell you),” he continued.

“Tatakbo sa akin yan. If I press the fight I’m sure he would run. At kapag naghintay naman ako, papasok yan (And if I wait, he’ll come in),” said the reigning pound-for-pound champion.

In short, Pacquiao thinks that either way would be to his advantage, considering that he has both the speed, to catch Cotto somewhere along the way, and the power to put him down.

“Ganyan ang mangyayari, tumakbo man siya or pumasok siya, okay sa akin,” said Pacquiao, his pre-game analysis cut short by a line of Puerto Rican fans wanting to take pictures with him.

From fellow passengers to airport personnel and even the police, all of them wanted to be close to Pacquiao. One of them said, “I may be the only Puerto Rican rooting for you. Believe me. You’re a great fighter.”

It was around three in the afternoon, and a couple of hours earlier Pacquiao and Cotto were at the Centro de Bellas Artes de Caguas, right in the heart of the WBO champion’s hometown.

More than a thousand packed the theater, and they cheered wildly as Pacquiao and Cotto made a dramatic entrance, slowly rising through a hydraulic box that had kept them beneath an elevated stage.

Key members of both camps, along with some Puerto Rican officials, were introduced by Top Rank president Bob Arum.

Cotto, in an elegant brown suit, spoke in Spanish and was cheered on, while Pacquiao, more casual in a white shirt, blue jeans and running shoes, spoke in English.

Even the Puerto Ricans cheered him on, and there were even chants of “Man-ny! Man-ny!” as he took the microphone. He said, “I’m sure you will all root for Cotto because he’s your countryman. But thank you for supporting me, too.”

Before their explosive stage appearance, Pacquiao and Cotto held separate interviews in separate rooms with the Puerto Rican media. Cotto came with his lovely wife and four kids, while Pacquiao was with his lean entourage.

At one point, however, they ended up in the same room when they were not supposed to, and Pacquiao sat beside Cotto, shaking hands and again smiling, talking to one another like they were old friends.

Pacquiao and his men checked in at the trendy El San Juan Hotel and Casino past midnight Friday, and checked out of the hotel by the beach before 10 a.m. headed to the press conference and straight to the airport.

A line of black, heavily-tinted Ford Excursions, with burly bodyguards in dark suits, brought Pacquiao and Cotto to the arts center, and the convoy, with police motorcycle escorts, drove swiftly for 45 minutes like it was carrying the President.

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, did most of the talking during the interview, and faced tough questions on the schedule of their training which won’t start until Sept. 21 in Baguio City, while Cotto has been training for four weeks now.

“No one dictates our time but Manny and me. If they already started I don’t care. I know my job and we know what we’re doing,” said Roach.

“We’ll be in great shape and we’ll be ready to go 12 rounds. We want to take the rounds one at a time and if the knockout comes then it comes. We know he (Cotto) has a good chin but we’re gonna take away his advantage and use ours,” he added.

Pacquiao could only agree.

Notes: Bob Arum hasn’t been to Baguio, and he won’t miss the opportunity to be there while Manny Pacquiao trains. He said he’ll be up there in the country’s summer capital for a few days. The legendary promoter was asking what he should do once he lands in Manila, when Pacquiao, his boxer, said, “Don’t worry Bob. I will arrange a private plane for you. Don’t travel by land.” Pacquiao will train for four weeks in Baguio, under Freddie Roach who’ll be coming in on the 19th or 20th with the sparring partners... The ongoing press tour of five key cities in six days is turning out to be a huge success, prompting Pacquiao’s Canadian adviser, Mike Koncz, to say that “Whatever we accomplished in the press tours in each of Manny’s recent fights is just 50 percent of what we’ve accomplished so far here,” said Koncz, noting that not even for the Dela Hoya fight last December did the press tour look like this one. “Before, all we did was come to the city, do the press conference and leave,” said Koncz. This time, there are side-trips that only keep the fans going, like Pacquiao taking early-morning runs at Central Park in New York, gracing pictorials with HBO and ESPN or showing up at the municipal hall of Caguas, Puerto Rico. Sunday, the boxers take to the AT&T Park here in Frisco for the Giants vs Dodgers game, and by Monday they should be at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles for another gig. On Tuesday, Pacquiao will be at the PETCO Park in San Diego for a game featuring the Padres, and later in the evening is scheduled to take the flight back to Manila.

Pacman P1 billion richer after Cotto bout By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated September 13, 2009 12:00 AM

[PHOTO AT LEFT - Pacman stands over the gloves, probably close to a hundred, which he and Cotto separately signed at the HBO office in New York Friday. ABAC CORDERO]

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Manny Pacquiao could be a billion pesos richer by the time he steps out of the ring with Miguel Cotto in November.

His promoter, the legendary Bob Arum of Top Rank, said Friday morning that while Pacquiao’s guaranteed purse in the upcoming fight is $13 million, his total take, once everything comes in, could reach $20 million.

“He could get as much as $20 million for this fight,” the ageless promoter said Friday afternoon at the New York Times main office where Pacquiao had a 45-minute roundtable discussion with members of the NY Times sports staff.

The sports editor, Tom Jolly, and a couple others, including writers Greg Bishop and Naila Cuento Myers, who said her mother is a Filipina from Laguna, faced Pacquiao and they dwelled on his plans on and off the ring, including politics.

Pacquiao was asked how he got started in boxing, and the Filipino icon said he found the sport as the only way he could save his family, so poor they had nothing to share on the table, out of poverty.

“I remember that in my first fight as a professional, and I was 16 years old (a victory over Edmund Enting Ignacio on Jan. 22, 1995 in Mindoro Oriental), that I was paid a thousand pesos (roughly $20),” said Pacquiao.

Somehow, it gave the New York Times a hint of how interesting the life and story of this boxer is. And then Arum had to state that for the fight against Cotto, Pacquiao could get as much as $20 million.

Pacquiao earned close to $15 million each in his last two fights against Oscar dela Hoya and Ricky Hatton, and there’s just no other way but up for the one widely considered as the face of boxing today.

While the sports editor sat beside trainer Freddie Roach, and Pacquiao two seats away, got the ball rolling, it was Bishop (who covers the New York Jets for the mother of all newspapers) who did the jotting.

Pacquiao was asked about his political plans, and he said there’s no turning back in his second bid (after a failed attempt in 2007) for a congressional seat in his homeprovince in Saranggani, Mindanao.

“I want to help the people, the poor people who are suffering. And I’ve learned that it’s not easy (running for public office). Like in boxing, you have to prepare,” Pacquiao said in English.

“There’s some similarization (sic) in promoting a fight and running for office,” Jolly, who has 75 members of the New York Times sports section under his watch, said, “but do you plan to keep on fighting even if you win in the elections?”

“Yeah,” Pacquiao answered, and Arum cut in, saying, “That’s part of the deal.”

Pacquiao said he was gunning for a seventh world title in different weight classes, but said that’s as far as he can go. He was asked how many more fights is he looking at, and he said, “I don’t know. It’s up to him (Arum).”

Roach tried to recall how he hooked up with Pacquiao, and said it was in 2001 when he “walked into my gym looking for a trainer, and one month after we won the world title against (Lehlo) Ledwaba.”

“Guys like him come once in a lifetime. He’s the Muhammad Ali type. And I think we will never see another Manny Pacquiao at least in our lifetime,” said Roach.

Otherwise, what’s Pacquiao doing in the main office of the New York Times on a very busy day?

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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