[PHOTO AT LEFT - Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao]

LOS ANGELES, NOVEMBER 2, 2009 (STAR)  By Abac Cordero - After going through the toughest part of his physical conditioning, Manny Pacquiao begins to taper off this week as his highly anticipated showdown with Miguel Cotto draws closer and closer.

Pacquiao can’t wait to get things done and over with.

“Let’s get it on!” the 30-year-old boxing superstar said yesterday from Los Angeles where he was to do 12 rounds of sparring against Shawn Porter and company at the Wild Card Gym.

“I feel very good. Training camp has been perfect so far and my trainer Freddie Roach and I think we have a great chance of beating the welterweight champion of the world,” he said.

Pacquiao, eyeing an unprecedented seventh world title in seven different weight classes, is so excited with the fight, which should be the biggest and probably the most exciting this year.

Starting next week, the number of rounds in sparring should go down, and focus shifts on the mental aspect.

“The number of sparring rounds will go down but the level of our mental preparation increases. Physically, I think we’ve covered all the bases and we should be ready for anything Miguel Cotto can do in the fight,” said Pacquiao.

Pacquiao worked on his speed to cover up whatever advantage Cotto might enjoy with his power, the Puerto Rican being the younger, taller and heavier fighter.

Cotto’s habit of going face-to-face with his opponent, Pacquiao added, only makes the fight more interesting for him and the fans as well.

“Ang style ni Cotto, yung hindi umaatras sa sagupaan, ay kapana-panabik para sa lahat. Iyan ang gusto ko,” said Pacquiao who should have covered more or less a hundred rounds of sparring heading into the last two weeks of training.

Notes: Businessman Cris Aquino, the perennial flag-bearer in Manny Pacquiao fights in the United States, will carry an extra load when he flies to US on the first week of November. This early, the bubbly Pacquiao fanatic has readied Team Pacquiao jackets which he normally gives away for free. Only this time, they’re not reserved for his Filipino friends, including politicians and celebrities. “These are for the Hollywood stars,” said Aquino. He said he’s got jackets readied for Pacquiao fans like Mark Walhberg, Christian Bale, Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe. “I also have bigger ones made for NBA superstars Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal,” said Aquino. “Nabigyan ko na yata lahat ng pulitiko sa atin at mga artista na mahilig manood ng fight. This time it’s for the Hollywood celebrities.” He wanted to make sure though that O’Neal, who had thought of leading Pacquiao up to the ring on Nov. 14, would be there. “Otherwise, with the size of his jacket, I would have no one to give it to if he doesn’t show up,” he said. Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, had a chance to train O’Neal a couple of days in LA months back, and during a break, the 7-foot-1, 325-pound giant said he was interested in the role that was played by wrestling superstars David Batista and The Undertaker during Pacquiao’s previous fights. Only his NBA schedule might get in the way of O’Neal’s desire to be part of the show.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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