Manny Pacquiaos trainer, Coach Freddie Roach, said on a Tuesday conference call that he thinks his man will break down the Mexican around the eighth or ninth round, using a heavy advantage in hand speed, and will stop him.
Margarito throws wide punches, he makes too many mistakes, has too many bad habits, said Roach, after telling the media that he gives this training camp an overall grade of B, deducting a letter solely because Pacman missed a day of training in the Philippines. It wasnt the best, Roach acknowledged.
But in the States, Roach said, Pacman has been doing his roadwork, running hills, and is right on target cardio-wise. He did nine round, with three different foes, on Monday, and is now tapering down, to fight night.
Manny himself said, There is no problem, answering those that think he is too distracted, and slicing himself too thin with his politics, his hoops, his duets with Will Ferrell. (www.youtube.com/watch)
On that matter, Arum said he was pleased as punch at Mannys song choice, calling himself a big Beatles fan. I have to say Manny did a wonderful job, he said. I have to say its something special to see a fighter singing a song like Imagine by Lennon. Roach too gave a thumbs up, saying that he watched it on his computer Tuesday morning, and he thought Manny looked relaxed, and like he was having a blast.
Margarito, asked to give a review, said he hadnt watched it, but that Pacquiao is a better boxer than singer and that he should stick to the fightgame. Pacquiao told us that he practiced the song with Ferrell just twice, after picking the song with producers on Friday, before Mondays taping. A source who was present told us that, Manny listened to Lennons version over the weekend. He literally did two takes with Will Ferrell and the band one hour before taping the show.
(FYI, I found is surprising that Manny, a hardcore Christian, sang the second verse, which contains the lines, Imagine theres no countries/It isnt hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too. Our source tells us that producers dispensed the verses, the singers didnt choose their parts.)
Promoter Bob Arum indicated all systems are go, saying that he thinks the crowd at Cowboys Stadium will surpass 60,000, comparing favorably to the 51,000 that packed in to see Pacquiao fight Joshua Clottey in March.
Neither Pacman nor Roach seemed overly worried that Margarito, whose trainer Robert Garcia said on the second half of the call will likely weigh in the neighborhood of 158-160 pounds on Nov. 13, will be too big a tree to chop down.
The bigger he is, the better it is for us, said Roach. I dont think this will be a difficult fight at all.
My take: I am going out on a limb here, but I suspect deep down, or maybe even on the surface, Margarito knows that Mannys speed will be too much for him. When asked to compare Manny to anyone hes fought in the past, Tony said Manny is incomparable, and cited his speediness when asked to name a Pacman edge. Im going to do my best as I always do, said Margarito. What about a promise to WIN? These are not, to me, the words of an ultra-confident athlete. Fake it til ya make it, Tony!
As for foot problems, or ulcers, or what have you, Manny gave a somewhat lukewarm assurance to fans, after pausing, that he is physically 100%. I tell fans not to worry about me, my worry is to give fans a good fight for the fans. Might there be some woes he is hiding from us?
Both Arum and Roach said that the hubbub over the 150 pound catchweight is not appropriate, with Arum saying catchweights have always existed, and Roach saying both men agreed to the terms. My take: Id like to them chucked, and dont think a junior middleweight belt should be awarded if both men arent allowed to come in at the junior middle max, but I do see their usefulness if it means we see more matchups between more marquee names. Manny himself told the media that this matter is out of his hands, and is in Arums realm.
Speaking of Arums realm, the promoter may well have tipped the Senate race pitting his old pal Harry Reid against race baiting Republican Sharron Angle toward the ex amateur fighter, Reid, the majority leader in the Senate. He had Manny stumping for Reid, and seeing as how Filipinos are the second largest ethnic group in Nevada after Hispanics, Pacman might have been the difference-maker. Reid edge Angle 55-45%, by 40,659 votes. I think Manny has to get credit for backing Senator Reid, Arum said.
Arum always says what he feels, and he didnt back down in his defense of Margarito, who was busted with illegal hand wraps before his fight with Shane Mosley in February 2009. Arum said he thought Margarito wasnt treated fairly by the California commission, which yanked his license for at least a year, and refused reinstatement when he gained a hearing to appeal and regain his license. I believe he did not know anything of what was in those handwraps, Arum said, and I have to say, studying Margaritos demeanor when asked about the flap, I have edged ever so slightly closer to agreeing with Arum here…But am still dubious.