BRAND NEW GYM AWAITS PACQUIAO IN LA

There’s a new gym waiting for Manny Pacquiao in Los Angeles when he begins training for his next fight, tentatively set April 12 in Las Vegas, and Freddie Roach has fixed it up for exclusive, closed-door sessions. The brand-new facility is situated on the ground floor of a strip mall on Vine Street in Hollywood. It used to be a laundromat until Roach bought the 1,500 square-foot property. Roach said he’s offered to buy the entire strip mall but the owners aren’t budging from their hefty asking price. Above what was once the laundromat is the Wild Card Gym which Roach started in 1994.

Pacquiao PSA main guest at Annual Awards Night set Jan. 25, 2014.

Boxing great Manny Pacquiao serves as the special guest of honor and speaker when the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) honors the best and brightest Filipino athletes in the year about to end during its Annual Awards Night set Jan. 25, 2014. The presence of the 35-year-old eight-time world champion and congressman from the province of Sarangani is expected to lend prestige to the formal affair whose highlight is the presentation of the coveted Athlete of the Year award. This marks the second time Pacquiao will be the guest of honor and speaker of the annual event, having done the same thing during the 2011 awards night.


New gym awaits Manny


Roach with the 1926 speedball in the new gym awaiting Pacquiao in Los Angeles.

MANILA
, DECEMBER 23, 2013 (PHILSTAR)  By Joaquin Henson - There’s a new gym waiting for Manny Pacquiao in Los Angeles when he begins training for his next fight, tentatively set April 12 in Las Vegas, and Freddie Roach has fixed it up for exclusive, closed-door sessions.

The brand-new facility is situated on the ground floor of a strip mall on Vine Street in Hollywood. It used to be a laundromat until Roach bought the 1,500 square-foot property. Roach said he’s offered to buy the entire strip mall but the owners aren’t budging from their hefty asking price. Above what was once the laundromat is the Wild Card Gym which Roach started in 1994.

Entrance to the Wild Card Gym is at the back of the strip mall, up a steel staircase to the second floor. The Wild Card Gym has expanded to cover 3,000 square feet with two boxing rings and a wide variety of training equipment from heavy bags to speedballs to treadmills to double-end bags. There are mirrors all around because shadow boxers like to see themselves do their routine. Pictures of fighters are stuck on walls. Easily the most prominent fighter that the gym has produced is Pacquiao.

Roach said he bought the laundromat space for Pacquiao and other specialty clients to train privately. Celebrities often drop by the gym to train or watch other stars work out. Through the years, the gym has welcomed stars like Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Samantha Barks and Mickey Rourke.

During a recent Star visit to Los Angeles, Roach conducted a tour of the new gym. He said Pacquiao will train for his next fight in Los Angeles and the private facility is perfect to avoid distractions. Only one person will be allowed to train in the gym at a time. The gym is equipped with a boxing ring, treadmill, an assortment of punching bags, exercise machines and a spacious shower room. Near the door is a speedball mounted on a wooden stand that Roach bought in an auction for $4,000. It was made in 1926. The speedball is purposely deflated to dissuade anyone from punching it. Roach said the collector’s item is strictly for display purposes.

Roach said he hopes to someday buy the entire strip mall. “The owners are asking too much for it at the moment,” he said. “We’ll wait and see.” Since 1994, Roach has expanded his property in the strip mall twice, first to expand the Wild Card Gym by taking over more space on the second floor and lately, to put up the new facility in the former laundromat.

The Wild Card Gym is enjoying brisk business with Roach establishing a reputation as one of the world’s best trainers today. Now a Hall of Famer, Roach has worked the corners of over 20 world champions. The gym is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Daily rate is $5 and the monthly rate is $50 for 18 years old and above. The monthly rate is $25 for licensed amateurs or pros and for those in the 11-17 age bracket. Personalized one-on-one training is available and rates are negotiated with each trainer.

Roach’s chief training assistant in the gym is Filipino Marvin Somodio and his executive assistant Marie Spivey takes care of the finances. A Wild Card Gym website is accessible in the internet where merchandise is available for sale.

The strip mall is beside the Vagabond Inn where Pacquiao used to stay during his early years in the US. Tenants paying for space in the strip mall include operators of a Thai restaurant, a liquor store, an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting room, a massage parlor and a dress shop. There was once a space in the strip mall where a Filipino entrepreneur sold Pacquiao-related merchandise but it has closed down.

Roach is quite an entrepreneur himself. He used to own a mansion in San Francisco that was rented out for wedding receptions and catering services. Roach said he sold that business at a profit. Over the last 15 years, he has operated a lending company, looking after clients who find it difficult to obtain loans from banks. Roach said he has never found it difficult to collect and loans are backed up by first mortgages.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Pacquiao PSA main guest Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:40 pm | Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Rep. Manny Pacquiao in Congress

Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao will be the guest of honor and speaker when the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) pays tribute to this year’s best and brightest Filipino athletes during its Annual Awards Night on Jan. 25, 2014.

This marks the second time the 35-year-old eight-time world champion and congressman from Sarangani will lend prestige to the faffair whose highlight is the presentation of the Athlete of the Year award.

Pacquiao, who dominated Brandon Rios in his comeback fight on Nov. 23 in Macau, played the same role during the 2011 awards night.

Himself a five-time Athlete of the Year, Pacquiao was elevated to the PSA Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also named Athlete of the Decade in 2010.

A cinch to the Hall of Fame, Pacquiao is expected to personally hand out the highest honor given by the PSA in partnership with Smart Sports, MILO,Philippine Sports Commission, Air21, Globalport, Philippine Basketball Association, Accel, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and Rain or Shine.

Fiba-World Cup-bound Gilas Pilipinas basketball team and world pool champions Rubilen Amit, Dennis Orcollo, and Lee Van Corteza are the leading candidates for the Athlete of the Year award.

FROM PHILSTAR

Pacquiao PSA Awards guest speaker (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 20, 2013 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Boxing great Manny Pacquiao serves as the special guest of honor and speaker when the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) honors the best and brightest Filipino athletes in the year about to end during its Annual Awards Night set Jan. 25, 2014.

The presence of the 35-year-old eight-time world champion and congressman from the province of Sarangani is expected to lend prestige to the formal affair whose highlight is the presentation of the coveted Athlete of the Year award.

This marks the second time Pacquiao will be the guest of honor and speaker of the annual event, having done the same thing during the 2011 awards night.

But the opportunity to once again address the local sports community comes at a time when Pacquiao had just won a second term in Congress and is just two months removed from a successful ring comeback that saw him beat American Brandon Rios in a lopsided welterweight match over 12 rounds at the Cotai Arena in Macau.

The ring icon was elevated to the PSA Hall of Fame in 2009 after having named Athlete of the Year five times in between 2002 to 2008.

The same group whose members are sportswriters and editors from the national dailies and tabloids, also named Pacquiao its Athlete of the Decade in 2010.

The future Hall of Famer is also expected to personally hand out the highest honor given by the PSA in partnership with Smart Sports, Milo, Philippine Sports Commission, Air21, Globalport, Philippine Basketball Association, Accel, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and Rain or Shine.

Fiba-World Cup-bound Gilas Pilipinas basketball team and world pool champions Rubilen Amit, Dennis Orcollo, and Lee Van Corteza are the leading candidates for the Athlete of the Year award.

The national cage team bucked the odds to finish behind champion Iran in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship, netting the country a first stint in the Fiba World Cup in Spain after 35 years.

Amit, Orcollo and Corteza, meanwhile, proved once more that the best pool players are still found in this side of the world.

The 4-foot-11 Amit won a second World Women’s 10-Ball title after beating former champion Kelly Fisher of Great Britain in the final.

The pair of Orcollo and Corteza for their part, crowned themselves World Cup of Pool champions following their victory over the Netherlands duo of Nick Van Den Berg and Niels Feijen during the championship game.

Other than the Athlete of the Year, other awards to be given by the PSA include Executive of the Year, Presidential Achievement, Lifetime Achievement, NSA of the Year and Milo Junior Athlete.

There will also be major awardees, citations, posthumous, and the Tony Siddayao award for deserving young athletes.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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