US-based fans: We are waiting for Manny Pacquiao’s arrival

LOS ANGELES, California – US-based fans eager to watch Manny Pacquiao trade mitts inside the Wild Card gym in Hollywood in preparation for his 12-round title fight against Miguel Angel Cotto dubbed “Firepower” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 14, won’t be disappointed after it was reported that Team Pacquiao will soon be headed here for the second phase of Pacquiao’s training – and to escape the wrath of the third typhoon which reportedly threatens to lash at the Philippines.

Pacquiao and his training management led by Fred Roach and Alex Ariza are expected to plane in on Oct. 24, said sources from La Brea on 3rd St. here.

“Baguio is a nice place in terms of weather but the team is wary of the possible third typhoon that is expected to hit the Philippines this October,” said a source, a semi-retired boxer who closely works with Team Pacquio here. “Ready lang kami (for Pacquiao’s arrival) sa October 24.”

Two powerful typhoons – “Ketsana” and “Parma” — wrecked havoc in the Philippines in the last four weeks prior to the start of Pacquiao’s trek to the summer capital of the country where he was joined by two tough sparring partners — Shawn Porter and Urbano Antillon.

Former WBC lightweight king Jose Luis Castillo later joined the group.

CROWD

“We miss the crowd on Vine St. every afternoon,” said Juanito Vergara, a Fil-Am member of L.A. Police, who is a big Pacquiao fan. “These past weeks, we noticed there was no crowd in that area; we later learned that Pacquiao spent most of his days (training) in Baguio. We wired some of our friends in La Union who rushed to Baguio to have a glimpse of the national idol.”

Vergara, a look-alike of the late Filipino actor Romy Diaz, once parked the police patrol on Vine St. together with fellow police officers to check if Pacquiao was already inside the gym.

“Nandiyan na ba si Manny, pare?” Vergara’s other fellow Fil-Am cop asked this writer. “Kung wala pa babalik nalang kami.”

Couple Premchard “Prem” and Rowena “Weng” Encarnacion, Pacquiao’s most loyal Fil-Am fans who always brought tarpaulins inside the gym, are also excited to meet their idol and are monitoring Pacquiao’s schedule from their residence in Eagle Rock, California.

The Encarnacions have never missed Pacquiao’s fights in Las Vegas and have become part of the team’s “extended family.”

Pacquiao will reportedly train at the Wild Card gym for about two weeks before heading to Las Vegas where he will conclude his training at the IBA Gym on Tropicana Avenue.

Pacquiao will relinquish the International Boxing Organization (IBO) light welterweight belt he wrested on a second round knockout from Ricky Hatton last May 2 to shoot for Cotto’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown in a 145-lb “catch weight.”