[PHOTO AT LEFT - Manny Pacquiao MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, OCTOBER 23, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao skipped road work yesterday morning then came out strong in the afternoon to rock Shawn Porter during sparring at the Gerry Peñalosa Gym in Mandaluyong City.

Pacquiao was scheduled to go out for a run at the Rizal Memorial track oval in Manila but was allowed stay in his hotel suite and rest after going the extra mile over the last two days. (Related story on A-32)

“He was tired and weary so he stayed in,” said one of his trainers, Nonoy Neri.

The weariness, however, was hardly seen when Pacquiao reported at the gym for a heavy 10-round sparring with Porter, who did six, and Jose Luis Castillo and Danny Escobar who did two each.

Neri said Pacquiao showed so much speed and power in sparring he almost decked Porter with a left straight to the face in the second round of their session that ended with the American barely hanging on.

“His knees shook and his legs wobbled,” said Neri.

Pacquiao is in his last two days of training in the country. Tomorrow is another sparring day and in the evening he leaves for Los Angeles along with his handlers, including Freddie Roach.

Roach created some ripples when it was reported in the Internet that he now thinks Pacquiao can knock out Cotto in the first round on Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

But if Roach did say that, the fight promoter, Bob Arum, thinks otherwise.

The Top Rank president said in Tuesday’s tele-conference with Cotto’s chief handlers that a knockout, regardless of round, could come either way.

“Anything is possible. They fight from the beginning, and anything can happen. Miguel can knock Manny out in the first round and Manny can knock Miguel out in the first round,” said Arum.

“I don’t think it’s likely and I know that Freddie is a great trainer and he is also a great psychologist. A lot of what Freddie says is to get in camp Cotto’s heads. There is nothing wrong with that. That’s boxing. No one knows what can happen. The fight could go a lot of different ways and that’s why it’s going to be a great fight,” he added.

Roach laughed when asked to react on his sweeping “first-round” statement.

“I was just playing around,” he was quoted as saying.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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