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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jet-setting Pacquiao touches down in Dallas

This historic city of Texas finally welcomed boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, who arrived in Dallas late Monday night five days before squaring off with Joshua Clottey for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title.

The 31-year-old southpaw was with trainer Freddie Roach, strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, along with a host of others who make up the bloated manifesto of 141 people that boarded the 170-seater Miami Air International Boeing 737 from Los Angeles to Forth Worth Alliance airport.

A throng of media men from both print and broadcast endured the biting cold as they await the reigning champion to disembark from the aircraft bearing an image of the Pacman.

Once Pacquiao touched ground in the state where former U.S President Kennedy was killed, he only vowed for one thing.

“I am going to put on a great show for the fight fans," he said without giving specifics if there will be a knockout or not in Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) main event.

It was the first time Pacquiao rode a chartered flight for an upcoming fight. His last six fights were held in Las Vegas, where his team frequently travels in a convoy of vehicles, or in the customized Pacquiao bus that has become the norm the last two years since meeting Oscar De La Hoya.

“This is much better because we all get to travel together," said Pacquiao smiling, unmindful of the stunned reaction by Top Rank officials upon seeing the big number of people who are part of the champion’s entourage.

After the short media interviews, Pacquiao was quickly escorted at a waiting Navigator and, followed by three buses – one of which again bore images of him – drove off for the 35-minute travel to the Gaylord Texan Hotel and Convention Center, where he was met by Top Rank Promotions’ chairman Bob Arum.

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After dinner, Pacquiao retreated to his sixth floor suite as he is scheduled to do roadwork early Tuesday morning.

By afternoon, the world’s top pound-for-pound king will hold his own public workout at the hotel’s basement.

Clottey held his own media workout Monday afternoon, a day upon arriving here from his training camp in Florida.

Pacquiao closed out his seven-week training camp at the WildCard gym in Los Angeles earlier, going three rounds with sparmate Ray Beltran a few hours before departing for Texas.

In all, the seven-time world champion sparred 142 rounds since coming over to the U.S. middle of January.

The General Santos City native was actually asking for more when his round of mitts with Roach was over.

The four-time trainer of the year declined his prized wards’ request.

“Take a rest. Dress up. We’re leaving for Dallas," Roach reminded Pacquiao. –


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