(STAR) By Olmin Leyba – Manny Pacquiao sparred six rounds in Baguio CIty yesterday then headed straight to Manila for some very important commitments, including a planned meeting with President Aquino tomorrow.

Pacquiao did three rounds each with Mexicans Michael Medina and Glen Tapia in the afternoon, and after a brief rest he took his entourage to Manila for a fast-paced four-hour drive.

This morning, Pacquiao will put on his running shoes to be the special guest in the “10.10.10 Run for the Pasig River,” which organizers said has attracted a record field of 120,000 runners.

Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, was also bound for Manila last night. He is scheduled to speak before the coaches of the Philippine team for next month’s Asian Games.

Ariza will be at the Philsports Arena at 1 p.m. to talk about the importance of physical conditioning and the proper nutrition for athletes. He is expected to bare some of his secrets to the Pinoy coaches.

Freddie Roach has opted to stay in Baguio.

Pacquiao will spend the rest of the day with his family. Tomorrow morning, he will do his roadwork at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, where he trained briefly for the Miguel Cotto fight last year.

And in the afternoon, Pacquiao will meet with his counterparts from Congress, those representing the Visayas and Mindanao, as they sit down with President Aquino.

“It has something to do with the budget for the Visayas and Mindanao,” said boxing man Hermie Rivera, who had a brief chat with the pound-for-pound champion after the sparring session.

One of Pacquiao’s consultants, Joe Ramos, said Pacquiao will skip going to the gym tomorrow, and after the meeting with the President will head back to Baguio to get ready for Tuesday’s sparring session.

Roach said last week everything’s fine even if Pacquiao gets himself busy playing basketball at the Cooyeesan Plaza Hotel in Baguio, and has skipped a couple days of road work at the City of Pines.

“He’s fine,” Roach insisted.

Pacquiao also left Baguio for Manila after sparring last Saturday because he wanted to be with his daughter who just celebrated her birthday, and had to deliver some speech somewhere.

Peñalosa to exit with a bang By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) Updated October 10, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (1)

[PHOTO AT LEFT - Gerry Peñalosa and wife Goody. Working Peñalosa’s corner for the fight are his brothers Carl Jr. and Carmelo.]

MANILA, Philippines – Two-time world boxing champion Gerry Peñalosa vowed to give it all he’s got in his farewell fight against Thailand’s Yodsaenkeng Kietmangnee at the Zamboanga City Coliseum this morning.

Some 10,000 fans are expected to pack the stadium for what Rep. Erbie Fabian said is the first high-profile card headlined by a marquee fighter to be staged in the country’s third largest city in terms of land area.

“My last fight is dedicated to all boxing fans and everyone who supported me throughout my 21-year career,” said Peñalosa who is hanging up his gloves at the age of 38. “I want this to be memorable. I won’t disappoint the fans. I’m going for a spectacular knockout.”

But Peñalosa said he’s not throwing caution to the wind. “I’ve never seen Yodsaenkeng fight, not even on tape,” he said. “I know he’s young – only 22 – and has power with eight knockouts in 12 wins. I won’t underestimate him. I’ll test him in the early rounds then once I’ve figured him out, I’ll go all out. I want to please the fans. At the same time, I won’t be careless. I’m not taking my opponent lightly. I can’t be overconfident.”

Peñalosa tipped the scales at 120 pounds and Yodsaenkeng, 119, at the weigh-in yesterday.

“I’m ready to rumble,” said Peñalosa. “I sparred about 110 rounds to prepare for this fight. I won’t let it go to waste.”

Choosing Zamboanga City as the site for his swan song was providential, said Peñalosa.

“I’m a devotee of the Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar, the patron saint of Zamboanga City,” said Peñalosa. “So when Rep. Erbie and I talked about a boxing project, it was like destiny brought us together. The city is celebrating the fiesta honoring the patron saint on Oct. 12. It was perfect timing. I also wanted to do my part in raising funds for my friend Z Gorres.”

Peñalosa will not receive a purse for the fight in the traditional sense. Instead, he was given the TV rights to produce the seven-fight, 54-round program. Whatever Peñalosa earns from the TV coverage will be donated to Gorres who survived a brain operation after a fight in Las Vegas last year and is now undergoing therapy in Cebu City.

Fabian, on his third term as congressman, is at the forefront of a campaign to project a positive image for Zamboanga City as a safe and attractive tourist destination. Sports plays a major role in his advocacy. Every month, Fabian holds the popular “Golpe-Golpe” amateur boxing series all over the city. He owns a boxing stable called Blue Stallion which is the home of four pros and over 50 simonpures. Training the Blue Stallion fighters is former WBO Oriental featherweight champion Eric Canoy.

“Zamboanga City has produced several boxers, including former world champion Ben Villaflor who was trained by Jun Alavar, Star Flores who fought Flash Elorde in 1951, Little Frisco, Flash Gallego who battled Roberto Duran in Panama in 1974, Rocky Marcial and former Philippine featherweight champion Noel Garcia,” said Fabian. “We’re hoping to develop more ring heroes. One of our prospects is Marvin Mabait whom Gerry has taken under his wing.”

Mabait, 22, has a 5-0-2 record, including four KOs, and trains with Peñalosa in his Quezon City gym. He takes on Rodel Veronque for the vacant Mindanao Philippine Boxing Federation flyweight title in the undercard this morning. Peñalosa said Mabait was the potential to become a future champion.

“We are fortunate to host Gerry in Zamboanga City for his farewell fight,” said Fabian. “This means a lot to the city. It’s an honor for us to stage Gerry’s last fight. Blue Stallion and EBAF Productions are behind Gerry 100 percent in this effort to bring international boxing to our city.”

Fabian, an avid boxing fan, was invited by WBC president Jose Sulaiman to attend the governing body’s convention in Cancun, Mexico, on Nov. 1-6 and will take the opportunity to promote Filipino fighters in the conclave. He also plans to be at ringside for Manny Pacquiao’s match against Antonio Margarito at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Nov. 13.

Peñalosa said he is retiring to spend more time with his family. “It’s hard to retire from the sport you love,” he said. “I wanted to retire as a world champion but nobody is willing to defend against me. I think it’s time to finally retire. I’m doing it for my family – my wife Goody and our two kids, J. C. Boy and Julienne. They’ll all be in Zamboanga to watch me along with Goody’s parents.”

Yodsaenkeng, the former WBC Youth lightflyweight titlist nicknamed “The Robot,” has never lost to a Filipino, defeating the three whom he has met – Niño Suelo, Robert Rubillar and Richard Garcia. He was only nine months old when Peñalosa turned pro in 1989.

In the chief aperitifs this morning, superfeatherweight knockout artist Michael Farenas faces Thailand’s Sangpeth (The Cyclone) Patanakan and lightweight Jimrex (The Executioner) Jaca meets Korea’s Jong Yoon Choi.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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