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Thursday, April 16, 2009


Los Angeles, CA:- Yesterday, the promoters of the Pacquiao-Hatton rumble on May 2nd held the lone media conference for Manny Pacquiao at the Wildcard Gym. They had to have one as the new rules at the gym kept everyone away for the past several days.

Besides, publicity always helps in the promotion.

As expected, a horde of media people from all over the world came to do interviews and photo ops with the Filipino spitfire.

One thing that was apparent are the “changes” in the rules and it was the talk of the crowd particularly amongst the Filipino media. No one was allowed until the announced time of 12 noon. But even with that, media outfits from the big names were allowed in first. The rest followed later.

In the past Pacquiao fights, when a media event was held, those who came were a little bit more relaxed. Today, there was none of that and everyone for some reason or another seemed more tense. And there were loud comments made particularly when the larger outfits were allowed in first.

“Perhaps they have forgotten that Pacquiao is a Filipino and therefore the Filipino media should be treated the same”, a pundit said. But almost everyone just ignored her.

When we all got inside, what was interesting to note was the fact that Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri were just seating in one corner of the gym looking sad and indifferent about what was happening around them.

It was then that this writer had an opportunity to talk to them. Buboy for his part did not wish to make any comments regarding the new rules but it was apparent from his body language that something was amiss. The same is true with Nonoy.

So we decided to dig deeper and the result of our small investigations yield the following:

Apparently, Roach with the support of Michael Moorer, his new assistant decided to keep everyone away from the gym because Pacquiao has a tendency to “goof” around and show off to his friends when he is on top of the ring. They feel that Manny is not focusing enough and they wanted that to change that so he can concentrate better.

Many people agree with the coaches. Nothing wrong with making Pacquiao focus better as he is in for a very tough fight against the British bomber.

No one who is not “directly connected” to the team can argue against the rules.

But, it was different for the many people that form the support group of Pacquiao since time in memorial. The Team Pacquiao so to speak.

I was told in no uncertain way that it is not the rules per se that really bother them. It was how they were imposed. “Para bang martial law”, (It’s like martial law), a Team member said.

Apparently, when everybody was asked to leave, it was meant for everyone, members of the Team Pacquiao included.

Team Pacquiao?

Even Bobby Pacquiao, the brother of the champ was asked to leave.

But they also created exceptions to those who were well connected. “Yun iba pinayagan nila” (others they know were sometimes allowed in) said a dejected Team member.

And, I was told that even Winchell Campos, the long time publicist of Pacquiao was not allowed in.

“There were just them”. Of course Rob Peters was at the door making sure he does what the coaches wants done… keep everyone out with some exceptions.

According to my sources, there was also time when Buboy Fernandez was doing the mitts with Dennis Laurente and they asked everyone to leave. Thus Buboy cut off the mitt session, took off to return to the Palazzo and finished it at the parking garage of the Palazzo.(Dennis Laurente I was told is on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Hatton fight).

To the credit of Team Pacquiao, sources told this writer that they are not making a big fuss about it now so as not to distract Pacquiao.

However, the same sources said that Pacquiao is fully aware of how his Team feels and he too is not happy with what is going on particularly on how the rules are imposed particularly with his bother Bobby Pacquiao. But, he is not going to address it now or even think about it because he has a huge task ahead of him.

“Tapos nang laban na natin ayusin yang mga gusot na yan” ( we will addressed those problems after the fight) , Pacquiao apparently stated.

So, will the new rules have an impact on the fight?

Hopefully not!

However, one can not help but think that Pacquiao is a person that excels far better when there are controversies and commotion.

Perhaps, creating the new rules is the coaches’ way of creating that.

But then again, why hurt the feelings of the members of Team Pacquiao who have always been there in the years past. Wasn’t there a better way to do it?

One Team member stated that it was far better when Moorer, the new assistant was not around. “We were doing so well with the same people. And we won the fights. If Roach wanted to have someone else run his gym, he could have done it after the Hatton fight. Then these bad feelings will not be here”, he added.


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