PACQUIAO  READY  FOR  COTTO'S  COUNTERPLAY  /  BOUT PRIMER ON STAR PODCAST

[PHOTO AT LEFT - Pacman billboard along Vine Dtreet near the corner of Hollywood Blvd. The other billboard at left is by Kobe Bryant. ABAC CORDERO |HOLLYWOOD]

LOS ANGELES, NOVEMBER 6, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao won’t make the same mistake twice, and that’s an absolute guarantee.

That mistake, there for all to see in Pacquiao’s fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in March last year, will be the same mistake Miguel Cotto is hoping to exploit when he climbs the ring against the red-hot Filipino southpaw next week in Las Vegas.

Too bad for the champion from Puerto Rico that Pacquiao has already found ways to correct them.

“We all know they studied our fight against Marquez,” said Buboy Fernandez, who helps Freddie Roach work the corner of the 30-year-old pound-for-pound champion, at the Wild Card Gym here Friday.

The childhood friend and assistant trainer of the greatest fighter in the planet today said against Marquez, Pacquiao, winner of the controversial split decision, showed his tendency to drop his left hand when he throws the jab, and leaves himself open.

“They probably saw Manny’s weakness, which they could counter,” said Fernandez.

“Binababa niya ang kaliwa pag tumapon ng jab,” he added.

While the wide-bodied Cotto makes a living with his left hook, he can always go for Pacquiao through every opening.

“That’s why we worked hard on that aspect. Pinag-aralan namin ang pinag-aralan nila sa atin (We studied what they studied against us),” added Fernandez, heavy on the belly but always up to the task of working Pacquiao’s corner.

“We found the ways to counter this mistake now,” he said.

When Pacquiao is on the ring, sparring or working on the mitts, Fernandez is always there to air his voice, and in Friday’s workout gave Pacquiao constant reminders when moving in and out and throwing punches both ways.

“Ingatan lang ang left hook ni Cotto (We should be wary of the left hook),” added Fernandez.

Pacquiao hit the mitts for eight rounds with Roach, and oftentimes the American trainer would remind Pacquiao not to be as reckless as he probably was against Marquez when he walked into the Mexican’s right the whole night.

It was the closest Pacquiao came to defeat since March of 2005 when he lost to Erik Morales.

“Remember, don’t walk straight into him. Don’t be reckless,” Roach kept on reminding Pacquiao as they worked the mitts.

Fernandez said Pacquiao is good to fight anyday from now, considering that all the hard work has been done, with close to 150 rounds of sparring over the last seven weeks.

Pacquiao spars another four rounds Saturday, and on Monday will close it out with a couple more before he and his huge entourage take the four-hour ride to Las Vegas.

“We’ve achieved the number of sparring rounds we wanted. We’re close to 150 now (144 in total) and that’s as many as we’ve had in the previous fights,” said Fernandez.

“I feel like I’m in perfect condition now -- a hundred percent. I can already feel the power in my hands. It’s there. I’m ready,” said Pacquiao.

Fight primer on philstar.com podcast SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) Updated November 08, 2009 12:00 AM

If you’re a certified fight fan, you won’t want to miss the 1 hour and 17 minute in-depth primer on the coming Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto bout for the WBO welterweight championship. The commentary is accessible through an audio MP3 player imbedded in philstar.com and is the website’s inaugural podcast. The feature will appear starting Monday midnight (that’s tomorrow) and will stay on in the website until Saturday, the eve of the fight.

Dino Maragay set up the website’s latest innovation and said there are plans to produce a live cyberspace chat with personalities from all walks of life soon. Sports, of course, will be a priority.

I was invited to “anchor” the first podcast, which we taped at the UST studios on España last Thursday. It was a dream come true. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to do a radio broadcast, alone in a booth. Now, I know. The experience was unforgettable.

I came well-prepared for a long monologue. And since I love to talk endlessly about sports, I didn’t run of things to discuss – luckily.

The podcast was split into four segments. First, I talked about the fight in general – what’s at stake, the catchweight limit of 145 pounds, the records of the protagonists, the tale of the tape, the venue and the circumstances surrounding what is tipped to be the year’s ultimate marquee matchup. Second, I went through Cotto’s strengths and weaknesses, one by one, explaining how they impact on Pacquiao. Third, I discussed Pacquiao’s strengths and weaknesses and as in Cotto’s segment, explained, one by one, how they impact on the Puerto Rican defending champion. Lastly, I took up the 15 factors of consequence, analyzed which fighter had the edge in each factor, listed four things for Pacquiao to watch for and made a fearless forecast of the outcome.

The first part took about 12 minutes. The second and third parts went about 20 minutes each. The last part stretched to 25 minutes. You won’t need a user name or password to access the commentary. Just click on the philstar.com website, look for the podcast spot and click to listen to the fight primer.

There will be lots of things in the podcast out in media for the first time. So it’s worth your time – 77 minutes, to be exact – to listen in and find out the juiciest information about the fight. Please send in your comments on the primer, how to improve the podcast and what you expect to happen in the fight. I’m accessible through The Philippine Star’s email address or my facebook.

* * * *

Technical director Romy Guevara has been assigned to handle the PBA Referees Academy which is envisioned to be a continuing program in line with efforts to uplift officiating standards and further professionalize the ranks.

Applications are now being accepted at the PBA office. PBA operations director Rickie Santos said those accepted into the Academy will receive allowances while in training. The preference is for applicants to be former PBA or PBL players with at least 72 units in college or college graduates with or without officiating experience and between 25 to 35 years old.

Guevara will conduct classroom and on-court training at the Academy. Character and personality development and communication skills enhancement are in the program. The “students” will undergo on-court exposure for proper mechanics, video reviews and eye calisthenics. A sports psychologist will be on hand to assist in the area of pressure and stress management.

Santos said to test the would-be referees’ level of confidence to call PBA games, they will be assigned to work in various leagues.

“We are currently in talks with the PBL on how to work out a system where the Academy can work hand-in-hand with its technical group,” added Santos.

Interested applicants may call on Mr. Junior Bengua at the PBA office – 186 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Libis, Q. C. – or call Tels. 470-2768 to 69.

Guevara, 72, has been involved in basketball for over 40 years with solid experience in FIBA, PBA, PBL, UAAP and NCAA, among others. He was the supervisor of officials in the Qatar basketball federation for six years. Formerly the PBA’s supervisor of officials, Guevara was rehired as technical director to work alongside the current supervisor Ramil Cruz three years ago.

* * * *

Relatives and friends came to pay their last respects to the late Angel (Pappy) Nepomuceno at a Requiem Mass on the second floor of the Santuario de San Antonio activity hall in Forbes Park last Tuesday. Among those who attended were Alaska owner Fred Uytengsu, bowler Ollie Ongtawco, Pinky’s parents Poppit and Bingle and her brother Joey with wife Tinette and Gov. Victor Ortega. After the Requiem Mass, Pappy’s remains were interred at the Christ The King crypt in Green Meadows.

The night before, POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr., Passy Teopaco, Rep. Anna Bondoc, Ricky Davao, Boots Anson-Roa, Rep. Robbie Puno and wife Chiqui and bowlers Tito Sotto, Rene Reyes, Bong Coo, Toti Ponce Enrile, Botchok Rey, Bonnie Solis, Cathy Solis and Norman Gonzalez visited Pappy’s wake.

* * * *

The recent Squash Rackets Association of the Philippines (SRAP) Executive Cup gathered two players over 60, eight over 50 and 19 over 40. The oldest player was Supply Outfield Services chairman Louis Heusaff, 63, a Frenchman married to a Filipina. He more than held his own in the tournament, beating Boyong Deles, 11-4, 11-8, splitting with Dave Puyat, 6-11, 11-10, and losing to Stephen Gan, 3-11, 5-11.

Aside from Heusaff, several other foreigners competed in the tournament. Yazdi Bagli, Shrikant Wad and Manish Mahtani are Indians. Sung Luk Lee is Korean. An SRAP director, Wad has lived in the Philippines for over 30 years and is an Asian Institute of Management graduate. The tournament gathered 24 players at the Manila Polo Club.

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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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