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The Whole Tooth and Nothing But ...

By Ed de la Vega, DDS

Pacquiao-Larios Fight: The Men Behind the Scene - Part I
Thu, 06 Jul 2006

I promised myself to write an article or two describing my experiences about the Pacquiao-Larios fight as soon as I got home from the Araneta Coliseum where I watched from the ringside amongst the flock of celebrities and the mind-boggling army of ?photo-journalists?. My ringside access credential was provided by Pacquiao?s US rep, a classy gentleman named Joe Ramos. Mr. Ramos also provided me with a suite at the Discovery Suites where most of the pre-fight activities were held.

After reading the Philippine newspapers the day after the fight detailing the whole Pacquiao-Larios event, I knew it would not do much if I added my two cents worth. So much has been written about it already. I decided therefore, to write about something else related to the event. But, what should I write
about? Certainly, I would not write about the shortcomings I witnessed, although that may be of better interest to some people, particularly the naysayers. But then again, that?s not my style.

My dilemma was solved while I was waiting for my return flight home to LA at the PAL Mabuhay Lounge at NAIA. Freddie Roach and his buddies from the Wildcard Gym walked in. They were on my flight too. Aha, I said to myself, what an opportunity! Then and there, I decided to write about people behind the scene that contributed immensely to the success of the whole event and the ?security? of Pacquiao.


Although the multitude of hangers-on that surround Pacquiao provide automatic security by virtue of their sheer number, the personal close in security of the champ in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and now at the different venues in the Philippines was provided by a very nice gentleman named Rob Peters of Los Angeles. Peters, as I learned later, was handpicked by Freddie Roach himself.

Rob Peters with friends at the Pacquiao property in GenSan

Peters came to the Pacquiao scene soon after the first Morales fight. Roach felt that the many fans that crowded the Wildcard Gym everyday that Pacquaio was in training, contributed to the many factors that caused distractions and an eventual defeat during that fight. Therefore, he decided to close the gym to spectators while Pacquiao was in training for the second Morales fight. He hired a man to enforced the rules and at the same time provide security for Pacquiao. In comes Rob Peters.

Rob Peters has been on the fight business for a while. He previously promoted fights. But, he also has a ?day job? managing his own printing and manufacturing business. Peters? size, his calm but stern demeanor and his no non-sense approach in enforcing rules set by Roach made him a natural choice. Roach was so impressed by Peters that he himself recommended to Pacquiao that Peters serve as Pacquiao?s personal close-in security. The rest of course is history.

Peters was everywhere Pacquaio went. He was even billeted at Manila Hotel during the duration of the whole Pacquiao-Larios event. Pacquiao trusted him so
much that he was asked to come to Gen San when Pacquiao made a short visit home before the Larios fight. Peters was aboard the SMC private jet with Pacquiao
and the ABS-CBN people. Peters was even showed around the Pacquiao properties so he will have an idea how Pacquiao manages the security issues around his
house and his properties.

Peters' experience in his first trip to Manila was extra-ordinary. ?I ate a lot of things I never thought I would?, he said. ?I have never eaten so much fish in my life until I got to Gen San?, he continued. The people at Gen San, on instructions from Pacquiao, showed Peters around town. They also put up a
special sparring session featuring the prized game-cocks of Pacquiao.

Peters was so impressed by the whole event from the training at Wildcard Gym to the Manila trip. But what left an indelible mark in his heart were the kind-hearted gestures of Pacquiao, his family and Roach. ?Manny and Freddie are great people. I would never leave my family for two weeks unless I work for
Manny and Freddie?, were Peters' final words.

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