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Friday, March 12, 2010

Pacquiao to follow Hoya fight blueprint

GRAPEVINE, Texas—Manny Pacquiao will be tracing the Oscar De La Hoya blueprint when he stakes his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown against Joshua Clottey on March 13 at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Launch an all-out attack throughout. Control him all night long. Don’t let him set. Keep turning him. Hit and then get out of the way. Go under and out, both sides.

These were four-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach’s instructions when Pacquiao made De La Hoya quit on his stool after eight rounds on Dec. 8, 2008.

Roach merely recited them again on the final day of their training Thursday at the Gaylord Texan Hotel here.

And Pacquiao responded with aplomb, showing Roach that he knows them by heart.

So satisfied was Roach that he quickly ended the light training session in less than an hour, way too short and easy for Pacquiao, who’s used to two hours of uninterrupted training sessions.

“Go home,” hollered Roach, immediately removing his gloves so that Pacquiao would not have a chance to ask for more, as he normally does.

“We were doing more talking than punching,” explained Roach. “I don’t want him to do much. Serve and move myself in a position that Clottey does and he knew exactly what to do with the positions. He’s 100 percent ready.”

According to Roach, Pacquiao was doing everything according to plan.

“Like today with me, he’s always behind me. He’s not keeping himself in front of me, always making that move to the side. He knew exactly how to fight this side,” said Roach who predicted that Pacquiao would be the first boxer to stop Clottey, either in the sixth or seventh round.

Of course, Roach also has words of wisdom to impart on Pacquiao, three-time Fighter of the Year and Fighter of the Decade as well.

Don’t let Clottey line on the ropes or fall into the pocket. Don’t fight him inside, the rationale being that Clottey is good with his uppercut and his head.

Roach explained that when Clottey jabs he comes forward with his head, his whole body comes forward and if Manny stands there and let him do that, he can bang his head or get hit.

According to Roach, this is probably the smoothest training camp they ever had since he took Pacquiao under his wings in 2001.

With Pacquiao in peak form, the only thing that could stand in the way is for the pound-for-pound king to get a little too cocky and allow Clottey to hit him, just like what he allowed Miguel Cotto to do to him last Nov. 14.

“If he (Manny) does that, he might get knocked out because Clottey is a better puncher than Cotto. But I don’t see that happening because his focus is so good and his mindset is perfect right now.”

Though he’d advised his ward not to go into the ropes, Roach said it’s up to Manny to decide as they’ve also studied how to get out of it.

But sometimes, Pacquiao just wanted to go to the ropes and find out how hard his opponent hits.

He did it against Cotto and wound up with a busted right ear drum.

Roach could only hope that Pacquiao has learned his lesson.


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