(STAR) By Abac Cordero - (Photo is loading... Antonio Margarito shows off well-chiseled body in a photo from the

Manny Pacquiao might just go for the early kill against Antonio Margarito.

“Siguro aatake kami (We might move in) first and second (rounds),” said the Filipino pound-for-pound champion after a rain-soaked workout yesterday morning at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

“But it depends,” he said.

It may depend, of course, on how Margarito would come out of his corner as well because if the Mexican who stands six feet tall opts to slug it out early, then Pacquiao would never back down.

On his way out and into his brand-new SUV, after the 90-minute workout, Pacquiao said he felt fine.

“My condition, my body, my speed are okay although I feel I still need to work on my speed. I’m comfortable. I’m not slow. But there’s still work to be done on my speed,” he said.

“I’m okay with my sparring. I did 11 rounds the other day,” said Pacquiao, who gave himself a rating of “nine-and-a-half.”

“Never in this camp did I ever feel like I didn’t want to go out and train,” said the boxer who has skipped gym work twice and roadwork three or four times over the last four weeks.

Bob Arum delivered the wake-up call when he said last Monday during a visit to Pacquiao’s camp in Baguio that “if the fight happened on Saturday Margarito would win the fight.”

After watching Pacquiao train last Saturday, Arum said he didn’t see the speed the Pinoy icon would need to beat Margarito.

But Arum left the country last Thursday with a smile after seeing overnight progress in Pacquiao’s training, and getting an assurance from Freddie Roach that things are in check.

“I’m ready,” Pacquiao said yesterday.

Pacquiao was almost done with his speed drills, wind sprints and exercises similar to what NFL players do, when heavy rains fell on him and his trainers Alex Ariza, Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri.

Pacquiao wrapped up his footwork exercises under the rain, covering himself with a white beach towel.

They all had to seek shelter near the stadium entrance. But by the time they got there they were soaked. Pacquiao had to change clothes before he could resume with his abdominal exercises.

A small crowd gathered around Pacquiao, including fellow boxers Roel Velasco, a bronze medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and Joan Tipon, gold medalist in the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

Pacquiao was trying to get going with his abdominal exercises when Ariza, his strength and conditioning coach, noticed that the 31-year-old superstar seemed to be catching up on his breath.

“That’s okay, Manny. You’ve just come from high-altitude training,” said Ariza, who later explained that there should be a little difficulty with his air intake after spending three weeks in Baguio City.

“By tomorrow it’ll be gone. It’s normal,” said Ariza.

Pacquiao wrapped up his Baguio training with 11 rounds of sparring against Michael Medina, Glen Tapia and Amir Khan last Thursday. He will spar again today at the Elorde Gym and leave for Los Angeles in the evening.

Pacquiao will arrive in LA on a Saturday, and after a full day rest the following day, he resumes training at the Wild Card Gym on Monday. It will be two weeks of hell at the Hollywood sweatshop.

“This would be a big week for sparring. This week and next week. It would be the toughest two weeks coming up,” said Roach, who can’t wait for the day they get to LA.

“With the weather (here) and so forth, yes. And I have more sparring there, better sparring. No, not better, but more of the style I’ve been looking for,” said the celebrated trainer.

Roach is sticking to his prediction of another knockout win by Pacquiao, and early on in this camp he said Margarito may even suffer the fate of Ricky Hatton, down and out in two rounds.

“I’m thinking about that,” said Roach, still on the same page with Pacquiao.


Manny Pacquiao’s speed ‘one of a kind’ By Jun Medina, Special Correspondent Saturday, 23 October 2010 00:00

[PHOTO AT LEFT - AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano, Courtesy of ESPN - Can Antonio Margarito, right, take the belt from Manny Pacquiao? He's sure training for it.]

(MANILA TIMES) Undefeated Filipino world title prospect Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta thinks that Manny Pacquiao’s quickness and “extraordinary” speed will carry him to victory against the bigger and stronger Antonio Margarito in their November 13 fight. “Manny has extraordinary speed. His speed is different,” Gesta told Filipino-American boxing scribe Dennis Guillermo of “Other fighters have speed, but . . . Manny has speed and explosiveness that [allow him] to throw punches from weird angles and all kinds of angles.”

The San Diego, California-based Gesta (19-0-1, 9 by knockouts) said that most boxers could only throw punches effectively from a certain stance.

But Pacquiao is one elite fighter who could throw punches from any angle with either hand and that is how he confounds even bigger opponents, he added.

“Manny can throw anything, and they’re fast punches,” said Gesta, a speedy lightweight southpaw about the size of Pacquiao.

Most of big-name fighters whom Pacquiao has defeated—David Diaz, Oscar Dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto—have said that in the heat of their bouts, they did not see Pacquiao quick hands hitting them.

Gesta observed that Pacquiao’s speed is hard to emulate and hard to go up against.

“Sometimes you’d think you got it figured out but when you’re there, you can’t see those punches coming because they’re very fast and he can throw them at any angle. That’s why a lot of people have a hard time against him,” he explained.

According to Gesta, Pacquiao enjoys “a great advantage” over Margarito based on their fighting styles.

“Manny moves a lot and he likes opponents who come forward so he can counter them,” said the 23-year-old, who is being tipped as the Philippines’ next world champion.

“I think Margarito may be too slow for Manny and he has been off from boxing for quite a bit. I really think Manny has a big chance to win this fight if they both exhibit the same styles they used to,” he added.

Meanwhile, respected trainer American Naazim Richardson considers Pacquiao a “brilliant” fighter mentored by a great coach, which allows him to rule boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings.

“I must admit that, right now, Freddie [Roach] and Pacquiao are the powerhouses in [boxing],” said Richardson, the trainer of ageless fighters Bernard Hopkins and “Sugar” Shane Mosley.

“Freddie is just brilliant in how he handles Manny, and Manny is just brilliant in how he follows what Freddie shows him,” Richardson was quoted by veteran sportswriter Michael Marley during Wednesday’s press conference to hype the December 18 Bernard Hopkins versus Jean Pascal light heavyweight title fight in midtown Manhattan.

“I must say that Pacquiao is an extraordinary talent as well,” he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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