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PACQUIAO RECALLS EARLY DAYS IN L.A.


PhilBoxing.com




LOS ANGELES – With chief trainer Freddie Roach still in Macau to oversee preparations of two-time Olympic medalist Zhou Shiming and won’t be returning here until next week, World Boxing Organization welterweight belt-owner Manny Pacquiao spent his weekend reminiscing the days when he was struggling to make a name in the United States.

Pacquiao treated some forty of his friends, allies, relatives and supporters to lunch at the Japanese Kabuki Restaurant inside a commercial building along Vine Street near the famous Wild Card Gym.

It was in an apartment inside that building where Pacquiao and friends stayed in 2004 before the now Filipino ring hero’s first of trilogy with Mexican legend Erik Morales and three years after winning over Lehlohonolo Ledwaba for the International Boxing Federation super-bantamweight crown.

“We were four camped in that small apartment inside this building,” confessed Clement Ascencio, a town mate of his in General Santos City now based here working as a medical representative.

“That’s true,” admitted the now 36 year-old Pacquiao, who had just resumed his preparations here Monday for his May 2 mega-fight with undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr.

"I actually had two world titles na noon, pero hirap pa rin. Galing nga kami sa nearby Vagabond Hotel, but we transferred to that apartment, kasi mahal sa hotel,” the eight-division champion said. “Kaya paborito ko ang restaurant na ito. Good food.”

Pacquiao, in those days, had actually fought seven times in the land of sweet and honey, including stoppage triumphs over Jorge Julio in Memphis, Tennessee and Marco Antonio Barrera in San Antonio, Texas and a draw with Juan Manuel Marquez.

Earlier that Sunday, Pacquiao and party attended the services at Shepherd Church. He spent the rest of the day resting at his mansion in preparation for the resumption of his training.

Assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez and brother Roger “Haplas” Fernandez will be handling Pacquiao’s build up program along with condition guru Justin Fortune, in the absence of Roach.

“It will only be light workouts from four to six rounds in the mitts and one to two rounds each in the bags this week before we increase the volume the moment Freddie arrives, “ Pacquiao himself told this writer.

“Freddie will be arriving March 8 or 9 to supervise for himself the extensive regimen he himself charted,” he said.

Photo: Then 23-year-old Pacquiao (R) fought and won against then IBF champion Lehlo Ledwada of South Africa at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on June 23, 2001 in his first fight in the United States.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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