Pacman steps up training


LOS ANGELES, October 28 – Manny Pacquiao says preparations for his upcoming title fight against Antonio Margarito are going smoothly after getting off to a rocky start in the Philippines."Training is going good," said Pacquiao, who arrived in Los Angeles Saturday from the Philippines. "This training has come with some problems and distractions. But we know what our mistakes were.

"I had a good jog this morning."

The 31-year-old seven division world champion also said he has no immediate plans to retire after this fight in order to spend more time on his Congressional duties in the Philippines.

Pacquiao, who was elected to the Philippine Congress in May, is on leave from his duties at the House of Representative so he can defend his world super welterweight title against Mexico’s Antonio Margarito November 13 in Dallas, Texas.

Asked Wednesday, in between sparring sessions, how many more times he plans to fight, Pacquiao replied "a few more." There had been speculation in some circles that without a worthy opponent, Pacquiao might pack it in for good after he fights Margarito.

"I am thinking about retirement but I can still fight a few fights and that is it," said Pacquiao at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.

Pacquiao won a seat in Congress taking the lone position in the province of Sarangani in a landslide victory five months ago.

When he steps into the ring with Mexico’s Margarito he will become the first elected official to fight for a world championship.

"We don’t have Congress now because it is on vacation til November so it is good," Pacquiao said.

One of his first acts in Congress was to get the government to grant citizenship to his long-time trainer Freddie Roach, who has his own fan following in the Philippines.

"We passed a bill adopting him as a Filipino citizen," Pacquiao said.

Roach said he is expecting to get his new passport soon but doesn’t plan to give up his US citizenship.

"The way he acts in Congress and the way he walks the walk. You can see Manny is very proud of himself," Roach said.

Roach said Wednesday that training in the Philippines didn’t go so well because there were too many distractions. But since arriving in Los Angeles, Roach says Pacquiao has been focussing solely on getting ready for the fight.

"He multi tasks. He wants to prove to people he can do more than one thing at a time," Roach said.

Roach said Wednesday he doesn’t know who Manny would fight next because they don’t want to make a habit of having Pacquiao move up to a higher weight class to get worthy opponents.

"I am not looking past this fight because there is nobody to look at," Roach said. "Manny might retire after this fight because if Floyd (Mayweather) doesn’t come to the table there is no challenger out there.

"We are really not middleweights. There are tough fights but no one really on our minds. We are not looking at who is next."

The much bigger Margarito has an advantage in height (five inches), reach (seven inches) and almost every tale of the tape category except when it comes to counting victories. Pacquiao is 51-3-2 with 38 knockouts while Margarito has six losses and 38 wins.

Their fight will mark the second world championship event at the new state-of-the art Cowboys Stadium. Over 50,000 people watched Pacquiao successfully defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight title against Joshua Clottey on March 13 in Dallas.

Promoters hope to sell over 50,000 tickets for the November 13 fight as well.

This will mark Margarito’s first fight in the US since he was banned from competing in most American states after he was caught using illegal gloves in a 2009 fight against Shane Mosley in Los Angeles.

Margarito still can’t fight in states like California after putting a plaster-like substance in his hand wraps but Texas decided to give him a permit.

Pacquiao says he is dedicating this fight to John Arum the son of boxing promoter Bob Arum who died in August in a hiking accident in Washington State.