[PHOTO AT LEFT - Manny Pacquiao trains hard at the Wild Card Gym.]

MANILA, JANUARY 27, 2010 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao kicks off his grueling training at the gym this week, which may include a series of sparring sessions as he steps up his buildup for the Josh Clottey fight on March 13.

Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, said it will mark the start of the tough plyometric and isometric exercises that should last for at least six weeks.

Depending on his condition, sparring may also begin this week, according to Ariza.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao made sure to break sweat even on his rest day by playing basketball in Burbank.

The Filipino boxing icon, after two hard days at the Wild Card Gym, went out with friends Sunday afternoon to play basketball, his only way of keeping himself and his adrenalin going when he’s out of the gym.

Pacquiao arrived in Los Angeles last Wednesday from a three-day press tour in Dallas and New York, and the following day put on his basketball shoes for some pick-up games with his LA buddies.

Friday and Saturday he was at the gym pounding the mitts with his chief trainer Freddie Roach, trying out his brand new pair of gold boxing gloves that match the color of his new tatoo, a scorching meteor, on his left arm.

According to, Ariza was impressed with Pacquiao’s performance at the gym over the weekend, and the 31-year-old energizer looked like “he didn’t take time out.”

It was the first time Pacquiao hit the gym since posting a sensational and historic win over Miguel Cotto last Nov. 14 in Las Vegas to become the first fighter in history to win seven world titles in seven different weight classes.

The report also said Pacquiao showed up at the gym just a shade under 150 lb, meaning there’s very little he would need to lose for the Clottey fight, scheduled March 13 and pegged at 147 lb.

Roach, who’s looking forward to a tough fight, is reportedly looking at Shawn Porter or Amir Khan to head Pacquiao’s sparring partners, 48 days before the fight set at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“He’ll be aggressive. He’ll try to kill us. He comes forward, he’s strong and he fights. That’s what he does. Its not a problem. I’m reviewing tapes on how Clottey handles lefties,” said Roach, as quoted by Pinoy boxing man Hermie Rivera.

Viloria: At the crossroads anew SPORTS FOR ALL By Philip Ella Juico (The Philippine Star) Updated January 27, 2010 12:00 AM

It was heartbreaking to see International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior flyweight champion Brian “The Hawaiian Punch” Viloria being pummeled by challenger Carlos Tamara of Colombia in the 12th and final round of their bout for the former’s title at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City Saturday night. Even sadder was the news that Viloria had to be rushed first to the nearby San Juan de Dios hospital and later on to the Makati Medical Center for more tests.

Viloria, who has roots in the Ilocos region, collapsed in his dressing room after the bruising fight. Anxiety took over as images of a still convalescing Z Gorres ran across people’s minds as TV footage showed Viloria being wheeled into an ambulance.

Viloria had been in command from opening bell but wilted from the pace and paid dearly for it from the ninth round up to 1:45 into the 12th round when the third man in the ring, Bruce McTavish decided that the Fil-American had enough and stopped what had turned into a carnage to prevent serious injury to the champion.

At the end of the 11th round, Viloria had the edge in two of the three scorecards: Jose Garcia had Viloria ahead, 106 – 103 and so did Ray Reed, 105 – 104. Somsak Sirianant scored it 105 – 104, however, for Tamara.

McTavish said that Viloria looked spent after the ninth round: “Pagod na” (He was tired). The Angeles City based-New Zealander said that “it was sad what happened but no Filipino complained except for Roberto Garcia (Viloria’s trainer and former IBF super featherweight titlist) and Viloria”. McTavish said he understood Garcia’s and Viloria’s position because “like true gladiators, they will have to die to lose but the fighters’ safety is his paramount concern”.

McTavish said, “The Lord gives me three minutes each round to protect the lives of the fighters and I intend to do just that.”

McTavish, still fit at 68, said that Tamara got hit “big time” but lived true to his camp’s promise of wearing Viloria down and taking him out in the late rounds. What happened to Viloria, who did not have trouble making the 108-pound weight limit (whereas Tamara had to sweat it out during the official weigh-in to tip the scales at exactly 108 pounds)? McTavish, who has lived in the Philippines for close to 40 years, believes that Viloria “left it all in the gym”. In short, McTavish suspects, as many do, that Viloria may have over trained probably in his desire to replicate the training and work ethic of Manny Pacquiao.

Viloria, now 29 years old and soon to be married to his fiancé, Erika Navarro, has to make tough decisions about his future in boxing. The last time Viloria found himself at the crossroads was when he lost his World Boxing Council (WBC) light flyweight title by decision to Mexico’s Nino Romero after going undefeated in 20 bouts. In a rematch, Viloria lost by a controversial majority draw decision despite sending Romero to the canvas twice. Romero was later stripped of his title after being found positive for methamphetamines in a post fight test. The second match was declared a no-contest.

On April 19, 2009 Viloria captured the IBF junior flyweight title from Ulises Solis at the Araneta Coliseum via an 11th round TKO. Viloria had abandoned the super flyweight division despite four victories in the division.

Viloria has moved in and out of the light flyweight and super flyweight divisions in the last four years. This last fight where he was not stopped by a single solid blow but by a series of shots to the head, will definitely have an effect on his career. Many fighters who absorbed brutal beatings are never the same again – ask Ricky Hatton, David Diaz and Miguel Cotto.

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The St. Theresa’s College Quezon City Alumnae Association (STCQCAA) is holding the “Tee for Bahay Teresa” , a golf tournament aimed at bringing together avid golfers and Theresian alumnae to cement friendships and raise funds for the Association’s alumnae home. The tournament will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 at the Camp Aguinaldo Golf Club. Organizers state that the proceeds of the tournaments will not just go to the building of the Bahay Teresa but also to reinforcing the Association’s mission of nurturing alumnae and contributing to societal transformation through its various relevant projects and activities. For more information, please call 740- 0115.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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