BAGUIO CITY — As howling winds blew from the outside, Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum spoke about wanting his prized fighter, Filipino pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, on a plane bound for the US as early as Thursday.
Although Arum did not categorically point to the storm as the reason behind the urgency to leave this mountain resort city, the Top Rank chief has personally seen that Pacquiao is not as sharp as he used to as the countdown nears for the Nov. 13 clash with Antonio Margarito in Dallas.
“If this fight was this Saturday, Margarito would win the fight,” said Arum on Monday afternoon as the training of Pacquiao was made accessible to the media.
Under the original plan, Pacquiao will leave for Manila after training on Friday afternoon then work out for the last time before heading to the US on Saturday night.
Arum said it would be much better if Pacquiao alters his schedule a bitand decide to go down to Manila on Wednesday so they could be on the same flight to the US on Thursday.
Arum has possibly been briefed about Pacquiao’s inconsistency the past few weeks and the 78-year-old New Yorker believes such is extremely dangerous.
“When I watched him last Saturday, I did not see the kind of speed that he would need to beat Margarito,” said Arum, who advised his No. 1 fighter to “focus, train hard and get ready for the fight.”
Getting back to then familiar confines of the Wild Card in Hollywood as soon as possible would work wonders for Pacquiao’s preparation, Arum said.
Trainer Freddie Roach was not as alarmed although he would certainly would love to fly out at the soonest possible time.
“We are now having more good days than bad days,” said Roach, who will try to talk Pacquiao into leaving Thursday instead of Saturday.
Roach said this week and the next would be crucial in getting Pacquiao into shape since there’d be more rounds of hard sparring against mainstays Glen Tapia and Michael Medina.
At the Wild Card, there’d be a couple of other big guys who will lay their hands on Pacquiao, said Roach.
Pacquiao is guaranteed $15 million but stands to earn more than $20 million if the pay-per-view sales turn out to be a huge success, said Arum. Margarito is assured of $3 million, the biggest paycheck of his career.
Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin