[PHOTO AT LEFT -  Manny Pacquiao trains with trainer Freddie Roach on the second day of the Filipino champ’s Baguio buildup. Andy Zapata Jr | MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 23, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero -Freddie Roach wants Manny Pacquiao to set the pace against Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand on Nov. 14.

“We will try to set the pace and not allow Cotto to do it,” said the American trainer, who arrived in Manila from Los Angeles yesterday morning, and presided over the boxing icon’s 90-minute workout in Baguio City early in the afternoon.

Roach, who flew in with conditioning expert Alex Ariza, told scribes that they will focus on “how to parry” Cotto’s famous left hook, which the Puerto Rican welterweight champion loves to throw both to the head and body.

Roach said he expects a tough fight against the bigger, heavier and younger Cotto, and in fact had predicted the coming fight to last the distance of 12 rounds, when in their last few fights he had called for a knockout.

“Believe me when I say this is going to be his (Pacquiao) toughest fight ever,” he said.

Pacquiao worked out at the Shape Up boxing gym of the Cooyeesan Hotel of the country’ summer capital a little past 1 p.m., and Roach had the good impression that his prized ward isn’t leaving anything to chance.

It made Roach feel better, too, knowing that Pacquiao had worked out two days at the Wild Card Gym in Parañaque last week, and had gone out running in the morning even before he motored his way to Baguio last Sunday.

“He looks he can fight on Saturday,” said Roach.

He also said he liked the condition of the gym, which is located on the second floor of the hotel where Pacquiao is staying at, describing the place as “beautiful and clean” and fit for champions.

“I love it. The ring is nice,” Roach said.

Security, as the three-time Trainer of the Year wants, is tight. To get near Pacquiao, one needs to get past four checkpoints — at the main entrance of the hotel, in the second floor, the door to the gym, and another one closer to the ring.

The gym will be closed even to mediamen starting today. A media day, however, is being scheduled for Oct. 1, the day Top Rank president Bob Arum arrives to check on his boxer.

Roach said sparring should begin next week. The sparring partners, maybe three or four of them, will start coming in on Sunday, and will be given a couple of days to adjust before getting it on with Pacquiao.

For the second straight day, Pacquiao created a stir when he did his morning run at the famous Burnham Park where he checked out some grapes being sold, and joined some residents doing their Tae Bo aerobic workout in the park.

Pacquiao pulled off a stunt when he jumped into the motorcycle of his police escort on the way to a golf course being constructed near his hotel, where he now plans to do his morning runs.

Pacquiao will train in Baguio for four weeks, but plans may change, and he might even stay longer than that, and go straight to Las Vegas two weeks before what could be the biggest fight of the year.

Roach had no complaints whatsoever, none yet for the meantime, except mentioning that training in Baguio City, which is 5,000 feet above sea level, is much different than in Los Angeles or Las Vegas which is at sea level.

“There is the altitude to play with,” he said. “Maybe, he wanted to impress me.” – With report from Artemio Dumlao

Sports Online polls show Pacquiao still No.1 (The Philippine Star) Updated September 23, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao remains the world’s pound-for-pound king in an online survey of a popular sports website despite Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s impressive win in his comeback fight over the weekend.

Poll results posted by Yahoo! Sports had Pacquiao comfortably ahead of Mayweather as boxing’s current pound-for-pound king. The survey was made just after Mayweather’s domination of Mexican champion Juan Manuel Marquez last Saturday in Las Vegas.

In Yahoo! Sports’ poll – which fielded the question “Who is boxing’s pound-for-pound king?” – 66 percent voted for Pacquiao, while only 31 percent went for Mayweather. Three percent, meanwhile, opted for other boxers.

Over 82,000 votes were cast at presstime.

Pacquiao inherited the mythical pound-for-pound title from Mayweather after the latter retired in 2008.

Mayweather, however, came back from a 21-month layoff to face Marquez in an attempt to reclaim the pound-for-pound throne from Pacquiao.

The Filipino soutpaw, on the other hand, has done his part in firming up his No. 1 status with impressive wins over David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton.

“Pacquiao solidified his claim on the top spot after stopping David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton in spectacular fashions. Mayweather couldn’t simply return to boxing after 21 months and overthrow the true king – no matter what happened on Saturday night,” The Ring, a partner of Yahoo! Sports, said in a brief commentary.

“Mayweather might very well be the best fighter in the world. The pound-for-pound title must be earned, though. And, hopefully, Mayweather will get his chance or chances to do that,” it said.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, has started training in Baguio City for his megafight with Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas. A victory over the Puerto Rican will likely set up the General Santos City-based fighter against Mayweather early or midway next year. – STAR contributor Dino Maragay

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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