Manny Pacquiao will spend the first half of his eight-week training camp for the November 13 fight with Antonio Margarito in Baguio City, the pound-for-pound king’s chief trainer Freddie Roach said on Saturday.
Back in Los Angeles from a whirlwind promotional tour of three cities, Roach told the Bulletin that he will touch down in Manila on Sept. 19 “then go to Baguio for the start of training camp the next day.”
Roach said he will tag along Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the six-foot son of Mexican legend Julio Sr. owing to the similarity of his style with the 5-foot-11 Margarito, and two others as sparring partners.
“I also have a kid from Atlanta in mind who is 17-0 and weighs 154 lbs,” said Roach. “These guys are aggressive like Margarito.”
Baguio was also the site of Pacquiao’s preparation when he was revving up for Miguel Cotto last year and Roach and conditioning coach Alex Ariza both liked the atmosphere, weather and the rugged terrain for roadwork that the City of Pines offered during their month-long stay there.
The Cooyeesan Hotel, which is located off of the beaten path on Naguillan Road, will be tapped anew as Pacquiao’s training headquarters.
Pacquiao had initially thought about setting up camp near the Batasang Pambansa complex so he could still attend to his legislative duties but his handlers believe that the Filipino people would understand his temporary absence.
Even House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte did not raise a howl a few days ago when told about Pacquiao’s trip to the US for the publicity tour, saying the 31-year-old puncher is giving honor to the country by his mere presence in these media functions.
Roach said there is also the possibility of Pacquiao extending his training in the Philippines up to the sixth week and forego training at the Wild Card in Los Angeles.
“We might fly straight to Dallas so he will already be there in the last two weeks,” said the 50-year-old strategist and owner of the Wild Card Boxing Club.
To lay the groundwork for Roach’s arrival, Ariza is slated to arrive in Manila as early as September 10.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao, who is back in his trendy Los Angeles abode, is scheduled to return to Manila Monday morning, according to his Canadian adviser Mike Koncz.
Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin