HOLLYWOOD – Manny Pacquiao skipped another beat in training Wednesday at the Wild Card Gym here barely 10 days before his anticipated showdown with Ricky Hatton.
It was not the first time he did not show up at the gym to train for this fight. But it was the first time he did it so close to a very big fight, a fight that could actually go either way.
His trainer, Freddie Roach, said Pacquiao skipping gym work in the afternoon after running in the morning came according to plan, following a whirlwind trip to San Francisco Tuesday.
Pacquiao hopped a private plane to the city by the bay and threw the ceremonial pitch in the Giants-Padres match at the AT&T ballpark. He left after the first inning, boarded the same plane and was back in Los Angeles at around 10 p.m.
Roach said Pacquiao got tired from the trip, after sparring six rounds earlier in the day, and slept late, leading to his decision to give boxing’s pound-for-pound king another day-off in his two-month training.
Roach said when the Giants thing was still “a maybe” they felt that he could train the following day.
“But when it was finalized I said okay. He gets to box early that day, we’re gonna travel, throws the first pitch off and travel again. So it’s gonna be a long day. So the next day he might be a little tired. So I’m thinking give me a perfect day to have a day-off,” said Roach.
Some special people were at the gym, an ABS-CBN crew and some fans were in and out of the gym but as of 4 p.m. there was no sign of Pacquiao when he was supposed to start training at 1 o’clock.
“I tried to give him the whole day off. He wants to run and everything, he insisted to run this morning, So he ran at 9 a.m. a little bit late (he normally runs at 5 a.m.) because he slept late last night,” Roach added.
“I called him when he said he’s coming to the gym, so I said ‘Manny stay home and get some rest.’ He said ‘okay.’ He rested for a while and he took his mother shopping just across the street for a little while. He just really took it easy.”
Roach was busy doing his chores at the gym, packed with boxers other than Pacquiao, when he received a call from the Filipino icon, saying he was on his way. In fact, his lead-off car, the Lincoln Navigator, was already at the gym.
Somehow, Roach was able to convince Pacquiao to turn back and head for home for good.
“I don’t want him to come to the gym and then he called just half an hour ago and said that he’s on his way. I told him if he comes, I’m gonna send him home. That the fact we talked for about for 40 minutes, yeah (he’s hard to convince),” Roach explained.
But he didn’t sound worried at all, Pacquiao skipping a day at the gym with just 10 days before the fight, and as they were wrapping up his sparring sessions.
He assured that Pacquiao is already in top shape another day-off won’t hurt.
For this fight, Pacquiao has missed the gym twice already – the first when he came back from a promotional gig in London, and the second at the height of the ABS-CBN-Solar Sports tug-of-war over the promotional rights on the boxer a month ago.
“It’s the best thing in the world for him because you know what, he’s ready to fight. He’s been ready for a while. I don’t want to see him overdoing, over-training. I demand that he takes a rest,” Roach said.
Pacquiao should be back in the gym today, and will spar another six rounds. On Saturday, Roach said, sparring goes down to five, then four. By that time, they should be in Las Vegas, although normaly they wrap up sparring before they leave for Sin City.
“Again, it’s the best thing in the world for him. I look at it as a good thing. I have a guy who’s ready to fight. If I have a guy who wasn’t ready and I was kind of pushing to get him to where I wanna be, then I would be worried,” said Roach.
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