[PHOTO AT LEFT - Manny Pacquiao gets pointers from trainer Freddie Roach. Abac Cordero | BAGUIO CITY, Philippines]

BAGUIO CITY, OCTOBER 5, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Tougher and longer days await Manny Pacquiao when he enters his third week of training today in this cold and foggy City of Pines.

Things are just getting started, according to his chief trainer, Freddie Roach.

“More rounds of sparring and lots of hard work,” Roach said yesterday as he enjoyed the day off in his cozy room at the Manor Hotel while his ward was 250 kms away in Manila helping the victims of last week’s tropical storm “Ondoy.”

Roach said Pacquiao should be back in Baguio late last night.

After two weeks of training, Pacquiao must have burned a ton of calories and slowly, his body is taking the shape of his old, deadly form. He’s been into a total of 12 rounds of sparring against heavier guys like Shawn Porter and Urbano Antillon.

“Relax lang kayo,” Pacquiao said as he shadow-boxed, looking down at scribes leaning on the ring.

“May six weeks pa tayo (We still have six weeks). Madami na kasi yatang nag-panic, eh (I think a lot of people have panicked),” said Pacquiao of those who felt Pacquiao was late in training, and that he was taking the fight for granted.

Last Friday, Pacquiao talked to reporters, and said he felt good just two weeks into training.

“Okay na ang pakiramdam ko (I feel good),” he said.

Another sparring partner, Jose Luis Castillo, will plane in tomorrow to give Pacquiao a tougher time in the ring. Omar Henry, a Miguel Cotto clone, was supposed to come but failed to come to terms with Team Pacquiao.

Castillo, a Mexican lightweight champ, may not be in top shape but the assurance from his camp that he is earned him a ticket to the Pacquiao camp.

“If he’s not in shape I’ll send him home right away,” Roach said. Sparring is held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and from three, four and five rounds last week the numbers will gradually rise from six, eight, 10 and 12.

Pacquiao was in his toughest day of training last Saturday when he went three hard rounds with Porter and two with Antillon, then did more than 30 minutes of isometric exercises only the fittest athletes could handle.

Then he left for Manila at around 6 p.m. in his Hummer and a convoy of SUVs. Based on plans, he was to move around the places hardest hit by last week’s storm (Marikina and Pasig) on board a bus loaded with relief goods.

Notes: Manny Pacquiao said he prayed so hard on the night of Friday as text messages of how powerful the typhoon, codenamed “Pepeng” was. “Nagdasal talaga ako ng husto na huwag na tamaan ang Maynila (I really prayed so hard that it spare Manila),” he said. “Nahirapan na ang mga tao ng husto last week (The people have suffered from last week),” added the boxer. “Kaya lang ang napapansin ko sa iba nating kababayan, nagdarasal lang kapag nandiyan na ang problema (But I notice that some of our countrymen only pray when the problem comes). Kailangan natin magdasal kahit walang problema (We must pray even when there’s no problem).”.... Bob Arum, who took a glimpse of Pacquiao’s training at the Shape Up Gym here last Thursday, was scheduled to fly home to Las Vegas last night. He left Baguio Saturday morning after staying two nights in Chavit Singson’s villa inside Camp John Hay. “A very nice place,” said Arum, who flew to Baguio from Manila on a private plane owned by the former governor of Ilocos Sur and now deputy National Security adviser... Threats of landslide, erosion and flooding did not stop Pacquiao from taking the 250-km ride to Manila Saturday evening. The wind was howling and the city of Baguio was covered with rain and fog yesterday morning, but again, it should not stop Pacquiao from returning.

Chicago slapped in the face THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) Updated October 05, 2009 12:00 AM

Brazil is partying like never before, a tough feat considering that they are known for the best mardi gras, samba, Copacabana, Ipanema and sports parties the world has ever known. After the coup of winning the rights to host the World Cup in 2014, Rio de Janeiro has overcome supposedly tough odds to defeat Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid for the right to hold the 2016 Olympic Games on the other side of the Americas for the first time.

Despite the fact that, for the first time, a US president attended an International Olympic Committee vote, Chicago suffered the ignominy of going out in the first round. The presence of Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and some Hollywood elite did cause a stir in terms of photo-ops, but otherwise, did not fluster the voting members of the IOC. It was a big slap in the face of Obama and the city.

A closer look will show that there were actually many things going against Chicago, and none of them have anything to do with the city itself. First of all, the US hosted the 1996 Olympics, which, in terms of the Olympic calendar of four-year increments, is still a recent event. Prior to that of course, Los Angeles hosted the Games just in 1984. Secondly, New York failed miserably in its bid for the 2012 Games just four years ago, and London emerged triumphant.

But most of all, the IOC is still a European enclave, and let’s face it, they don’t really like the way the Americans do things.

Historically – including the interruptions of war – there have been eight presidents of the IOC, and only one of them has been American: Demetrios Vikelas of Greece, Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France, Henri de Baillet-Latour of Belgium, Sigrid Edstrom of Sweden, Lord Killanin of Ireland, Juan Antonio Samaranch of Spain, and current president Jacques Rogge of Belgium. In the middle of all that, from 1952 to 1972 was Avery Brundage of the US.

But Brundage had prepared for this position for over two decades, working with his two predecessors, Count Baillet-Latour and Edstrom.

He was very familiar with the inner workings of the IOC, having been part of the Olympic movement most of his life. Brundage was already president of the US Olympic Committee in 1929. He was an athlete, and - ironically, had even been handball champion of Chicago.

Today’s battle, however was more about ill feelings and perceived disrespect stemming from monetary issues. As early as July, television officials warned that the boiling disagreement between the USOC and IOC over plans to put up an “Olympic Channel” would hurt Chicago’s bid. The USOC had been working on an agreement with Comcast to put up the channel, in direct conflict with the investment put up by NBC Universal, apparently with the consent of the IOC.

The USOC-announced the launch of the US Olympic Network caused an uproar at the IOC. The US Olympic Network was slated for broadcasting in time for the Winter Olympic in Vancouver in February. For the past decades, there have been numerous occasions of conflict between the USOC and IOC, particularly over revenues generated by the Olympic Games, television coverages and sponsorships. NBC Universal, which has billions of dollars tied down to the rights of the Games, was obviously upset. NBC had allocated $5.7 billion for US domestic TV rights to the Games from 2000 through 2012. Its mother company, General Electric, is among the global sponsors of the Games. Last year’s Beijing Summer Games generated a record $1 billion in advertising for NBC.

The IOC quickly reprimanded the USOC in the media for having “acted unilaterally and, in our view, in haste by announcing their plans before we had had a chance to consider together the ramifications. The proposed channel raises complex legal and contractual issues and could have a negative impact on our relationships with other Olympic broadcasters and sponsors, including our US TV partner, NBC.”

The USOC claims that NBC had been slowing down their negotiations, and so sought another partner. NBC had already attempted a similar venture prior to the Beijing Olympics last year.

Less than three months later, IOC voting members saw what they interpreted as heavy-handedness, crass commercialism and a sense of entitlement from the American contingent that flew to Copenhagen for the voting ceremony. President Obama was in and out in five hours, and used words like “the full force of the White House” in ensuring the success of the Games in his adoptive hometown. An issue of the inconvenience of security was raised, but Obama shrugged it off, practically guaranteeing it wouldn’t be a problem.

But there were other irritants that hurt the bid, as well. Obama’s security at his hotel caused some inconvenience for IOC members, some of whom were merely passing through. The imperiousness of it all turned off some potential voters.

Brazil, for its part, has its own risks: crime, traffic, lack of hotels and other venues, and the intimidating cost of holding the games there. But, as a people, they have built a reputation as being the most fun-loving and lovable on earth, and their love for sports – especially soccer – is unparalleled, without the hooliganism that normally accompanies the game in parts of Europe.

So now, it’s back to the drawing board for the next US city that aims to host the Olympic Games. If the power of an American president, Japanese wealth, and Spanish royalty was not enough to match the simple, rapturous of people who just love play, how do you compete?

Let the carnival begin.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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