Manny ready for ‘war’

PNS — MANNY Pacquiao’s training for his title fight with champion David Diaz finally came to an end Friday.

Ironically, the man at the helm of his grueling two-month preparation wasn’t around to look after him.

Trainer Freddie Roach skipped the mop-up phase of Pacquiao’s routine at the gym, exactly two days before he formally jumps into the 135-pound division and challenge Diaz for the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

But the absence of the man credited for Pacquiao’s rise as one of the world’s most feared fighters today, hardly bothered the Filipino ring icon as he just sweated it out the two-hour training at the IBA gym.

“Pampa-kundisyon lang. Just to keep in shape,” Pacquiao told a small audience with a wink as they watched him during the afternoon training in sweltering heat in the `Desert City’.

Filipino trainer and long-time friend Buboy Fernandez held court and assisted by conditioning trainer Eric Brown and Alex Ariza.

Roach opted to miss the training as he attended a boxing card at the nearby Orleans Hotel to oversee the performance of some of his wards, including Filipino Aaron Melgarejo, who unfortunately, lost a unanimous decision at the hands of Manny Perez in a junior lightweight bout.

Pacquiao did some rounds with the mitts, shadow boxed, hit the speed ball,skipped ropes before doing some stretching to strengthen his abdominal muscles.

At the end of the day, Pacquiao was dripping with sweat and looking ready to go for his 12-round slugfest with Diaz.

And just in case everybody is still concerned over his weight, Pacquiao tipped the scales at 136 pounds, just a pound over the limit with less than 24 hours prior to the official weigh-in.

Obviously in a good mood, Pacquiao later granted some media interviews before proceeding to enjoy a light meal at his hotel suite.

He also didn’t forget to tell those who cared to listen that he’ll try to extend his help to the Filipino families who are victims of typhoon Frank which recently swept across the country.

In all, Pacquiao has completed 140 rounds of sparring while training for two months at the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Diaz remains undaunted that he remains a 3-1 underdog coming into fight set Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila) despite being the defending champion.

Until now, Diaz still can’t believe he’s going up against one of the world’s best fighters.

“It’s like I’m in a dream and now I’m fighting one of the most dangerous guys in boxing, if not the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter, and it’s great. I want this challenge,” said the 32-year-old native of Chicago.

In related development, reigning WBC flyweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. has just been signed by Top Rank Promotion.

Donaire was inked to a three-year deal by Bob Arum with a minimum of three fights each. The Filipino champion now based in California recently split up with former promoter Gary Shaw.

“This is a new adventure for me,” said Donaire in a news conference at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Hotel. “I’m not backing out on whoever Mr. Arum put in front of me. I’m excited and really happy. I want to fight the best. Bring `em on.”

The 25-year-old champion wrested the title with a sensational 5th round knockout of fearsome Vic Darchinyan July of last year, but hasn’t fought since an 8th-round stoppage of Luis Maldonado in his first title defense seven months ago.