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Manny Pacquiao: To all the fans, don’t worry about me

Boxer, trainer Freddie Roach say training camp is on track for Nov. 13 despite distractions


Associated Press

Boxer Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, trains for his upcoming boxing match with Antonio Margarito at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010.

Manny Pacquiao will be ready for his Nov. 13 junior middleweight title fight against Antonio Margarito at Dallas Cowboy Stadium.

Despite earlier reports in which head trainer Freddie Roach appeared clearly unsatisfied with Pacquiao's recent training camp, both of them have promised the Filipino superstar is back on schedule and ready to go later this month.

"I'm in 100 percent condition," said Pacquiao, during a national conference call Wednesday. "To all the fans — don't worry about me."

The concerns over Pacquiao's (51-3-2, 38 KO) preparations stemmed from reports out of both the Philippines and Roach's Wild Card gym in Los Angeles, where Roach referred to the camp as "the worst we've ever had."

According to Roach, distractions such as Pacquiao's responsibilities as an elected Congressman in the Philippines, guest appearances and weather conditions had interfered with his ability to get Pacquiao ready for Nov. 13.

On Wednesday, Roach clarified his comments, stating that even if it was the worst camp the two have ever had together, it's still been enough to get them where they need to be.

"We had a good training camp. It wasn't our best but we've never had a bad training camp," Roach said. "Everything is back on track now and we're 100 percent ready for the fight.

"Manny has guaranteed he won't disappoint me, and I know that's true."

Roach's frustration hit its peak when Pacquiao, in a very uncharacteristic move, took a day off in the middle of camp to meet President Benigno Aquino III in Manila.

Looking back Wednesday on that event, Roach flipped scripts and admitted the day off likely was beneficial for his fighter — although, he still hinted the overall preparations were slightly less than normal.

"We've always had an 'A' training camp and I give this one a 'B,'" Roach said. "We only missed that one day that I was upset about. The thing is, it was just one day and it probably did more good than harm.

"Manny has always been a multi-tasker, and there's no way (Margarito) has trained harder than us. I can guarantee that."

In just one of several confident statements Pacquiao made during the call, he acknowledged his role as Congressman, which he was elected to in May, could be seen as a distraction but assured everyone it hasn't been.

"Freddie is worried about me, and I understand that," Pacquiao said. "But we had a good training camp this time.

"For me, it's not a distraction. I believe the distraction is if you don't comply or train because of (politics). But if you train hard and do your job, there is no distraction. Of course, the focus still is there. There's nothing to worry about."

As the anticipation for the Nov. 13 fight grows, Pacquiao and Roach's confidence seems to grow with it.

Although Margarito's trainer Robert estimates he'll enter the ring that night weighing as much as 158-to-160 pounds, unquestionably the biggest fighter Pacquiao has faced, Roach confidently stated the more he weighs, the better.

"The bigger he is and the more he weighs, the better we are," Roach said. "Size doesn't win fights, skill does — and we outweigh him in those departments.

"I don't see this being a difficult fight at all."

There's been some speculation that, with the possibility of a mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. dwindling, Pacquiao's other interests might draw him away from the sport following this fight.

However, at least on Wednesday, Pacquiao said he's still in the mood to take on fights and win world titles. Should he do that Nov. 13, it would mark a championship in his record-setting eighth weight class.

"Not yet," answered Pacquiao, when asked about retirement. "I can still fight."

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at LVSunFighting

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