(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Steady at 150.

With still 34 days before the big fight, Manny Pacquiao hovered around 150 lb and should have no problem making the catchweight of 145 lb when he faces Miguel Cotto for the WBO welterweight crown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Nonoy Neri of Team Pacquiao yesterday said Pacquiao tipped the scales at 150 the other day after working at the Shape Up Gym in Baguio City. He said the reigning pound-for-pound champ is now training as hard and eating as much.

“He’s very comfortable right now because he gets to eat anything he likes. And by training so hard, he stays at 150. He can lose the five pounds in the last two weeks of training and he’ll be safe,” said Neri, a long-time Pacquiao assistant.

Cotto, who agreed to stake his 147 lb title at a catchweight two pounds lower, said during last month’s press tour in the United States he was at 160 lb, and Pacquiao’s conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, said this should favor the FIlipino icon.

“Cotto has to work harder than us making weight,” said Ariza.

Pacquiao’s chief trainer, Freddie Roach, said Pacquiao is where he should be right now as they entered their third week of training in the country’s summer capital. They will move to Los Angeles on Oct. 24, and to Las Vegas a week before the Nov. 14 fight.

There were reports, however, that Pacquiao might fly to the US earlier because of the spate of typhoons that have hit the country and may have had an effect on his training in Baguio City, which has been terribly affected by typhoon “Pepeng” this week.

Jose Luis Castillo, the former WBC lightweight champion, arrived in Manila yesterday along with super-lightweight Danny Escobar but couldn’t proceed to Baguio to spar with Pacquiao because the major roads leading to the city are impassable due to flooding or landslides.

It’s the first time Pacquiao will fight at 145 lb, even if he took on Oscar dela Hoya at 147 last December. For the fight against the Golden Boy, Pacquiao tipped the scales on the eve of the fight at 142 lb and climbed the ring at 148 1/2.

For this fight, Roach has set the numbers.

“I see him (Pacquiao) coming into the fight at 149 lb, the heaviest he’ll be in,” said Roach.”He was 148 1/2 for Oscar and 147 for Ricky Hatton last May.”

“But I don’t want him going over 150 because going past 150 will make him sluggish. I don’t care if Cotto climbs the ring at 165. We’ll stay at 150 or less,” said Roach, adding that for the official weigh-in the Pinoy champ should be at arounf 143 lb.

Again, weight is no weighty issue for Pacquiao.

Pacquiao lends hand to Baguio relief efforts (The Philippine Star) Updated October 11, 2009 12:00 AM

Manny Pacquiao distributed food and supplies to hundreds of people last Sunday. NEW YORK – Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took a break from training camp in the Philippines last weekend to distribute food and supplies to hundreds of people who have been affected by the country’s worst flooding in 40 years.

Promoter Bob Arum said Friday that the back-to-back storms, which have triggered dozens of landslides and killed nearly 500 people, for the most part didn’t affect the pound-for-pound king as he trains in Baguio for his highly anticipated fight next month against Miguel Cotto.

“I talked to them last night, and the typhoon is still hanging around, so he couldn’t run outside,” Arum told The Associated Press. “But he’s getting good sparring in.”

That is, when Pacquiao’s not making a quick trip down from the mountains to the capital of Manila, where last Sunday he spent several hours helping with flood relief.

The storms began Sept. 26, and after Typhoon Parma struck last Saturday, rescuers waded through mud near Baguio and retrieved more than 150 bodies. Dozens of others were still missing, and more than 100 people were pulled out alive. TV footage showed bodies arriving in black bags in a hall in Baguio, where relatives wept after recognizing their loved ones.

Established by Americans more than 100 years ago, Baguio is in the heart of the Cordillera region, about 201 kilometers (125 miles) from Manila. Officials said close to 100 landslides have occurred near the city, and the nonstop rain is threatening more homes and businesses.

Arum was visiting the training camp during the storms last week.

“I was concerned, the whole staff was concerned,” said Top Rank publicist Lee Samuels. “I got a message from Bob saying, ‘I’m with Manny, we’re OK, we’re at a palatial estate in the mountains.’ But it was very scary.”

Pacquiao is idolized in the Philippines, his following so fanatical that hundreds of people tail him during his morning runs. His popularity bridges the divide between rich and poor, and government officials jokingly claim that crime drops whenever he fights because everybody is in front of a television. (AP)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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