Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nightlife, money games over: Busy days ahead for Pacman

MANILA, Philippines - Late nights, sleepless nights, are over for Manny Pacquiao.

Because once he lands in Los Angeles, Pacquiao should be eating, breathing and thinking of Josh Clottey until the night they climb the ring and fight at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on March 13.

For the next seven weeks, there’s nothing else to do but train.

The last few days, Pacquiao had been out partying and engaging himself in his favorite pastime, playing billiards at this special place in Malate, sometimes for as long as the sun rises.

Someone close to Pacquiao said it’s just his way of having “good, clean fun.”

Another source said the 31-year-old pound-for-pound champion, who can easily make $15 million per fight, came home the other day to his Hyatt Hotel suite richer by P3 million ($63,000) through money games.

Pacquiao was scheduled to board a Philippine Airlines flight last night along with his Canadian adviser Mike Koncz, his brother Bobby, his lawyer Jeng Gacal, and trainers Nonoy Neri and Roger Fernandez.

A press conference is up in Dallas on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), and then another one in New York the day after. Pacquiao reports for his first day of training under Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in LA on Thursday.

Saturday evening, Koncz faced the media at the Hyatt Hotel, gladly announcing the negative results of a drug test which Pacquiao took last Dec. 30, and talked about the coming fight, which is said isn’t going to be easy.

“I don’t think any fight is easy,” he said, not against Clottey, a 32-year-old former world champion from Ghana, who is as big or as popular as Pacquiao’s latest victims, including Oscar dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto.

“Clottey is hungrier. And he knows that if he beats Manny he becomes a superstar,” said Koncz of the muscular opponent who, for the first time in his 15-year career, will be paid more than $1 million for a single fight.

Clottey has never been knocked out, and in his 39 fights has only lost thrice. They were questionable losses to Carlos Baldomir (disqualification in 1999), Antonio Margarito (2006) and Cotto (2009).

“Clottey is differednt from Cotto or even (Floyd) Mayweather. He’s stocky and muscular. I really think this is going to be a difficult fight. What Clottey has that Cotto didn’t have was a tight defense.

“And the volume of punches that he throws is just great. It’s not going to be a walk in the park. His hands are always up protecting his head and he comes after you with a lot of punches,” said Koncz.

Pacquiao was at ringside when Cotto and Clottey figured in a bloody 12-round duel last June.

“And Cotto hit him with everything he had and he kept on coming. Clottey is a real opponent and there will be no excuses after the fight which is going to be at 147 pounds – no catchweight.” said Koncz.


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