PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Pacquiao, Barrera come face to face for the first time in four years during a press conference on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
For the nth time, Freddie Roach did the talking in behalf of Manny Pacquiao.
Roach engaged Marco Antonio Barrera in a verbal tussle, ranging from a wide array of issues, including the Mexican’s hand wrapping method, that more or less added spunk and spice to an otherwise gracious presser for the long-awaited Saturday night rematch between the ‘Pacman’ and ‘Baby Face Assasin’
Barrera, in a fine black suit with matching red tie, didn’t lose time to thank Top Rank’s Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, for making the fight possible and a chance for him to redeem himself following a devastating 11th round technical knockout loss to the Filipino wonder in their first slugfest in 2003.
And then after vowing that he came here to ‘win the fight’, the 33-year-old Mexican gladiator, a former three-time world champion, trained his sight to Roach, seated beside Pacquiao at the makeshift podium of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, and told him ”I’d like to say to Freddie Roach, my hand wraps are the same as what I used in 2003. So don’t worry about that.”
The two-time Trainer of the Year earlier in the week questioned before the Nevada State Athletic Commission that Barrera used to wrap his hands excessively before every fight, an issue he also raised four years ago during the first Pacquiao-Barrera match that got a positive response from the same boxing body.
Obviously irritated by Roach’s action, Barrera didn’t hide his feeling towards the former boxer turned trainer.
“Freddie is not a good trainer,” he said. “He helped Oscar De La Hoya and Israel Vasquez to lose. He needs to mind his own business and worry about his own fighter.”
Roach also had issues with Mexicans Eric Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez in the past, and no way is he going to let this one with Barrera pass by.
“I don’t think hand warps have anything to do with my training ability, but I feel that he wraps excessively,” explained Roach. “Manny fought him in Texas, we complained, and the commission was in my favor. They said it was not a legal wrap.
“Marco, I’m taking care of my fighter and making sure that you don’t break any rules.”
Pacquiao (44-3-2, 35 KOs) refused to engage in a war of words with Barrera, though he let a snide remark against his Mexican opponent when he said “We will see whether or not Barrera was really distracted in the first fight.”
After losing to Pacquiao four years ago, Barrera explained that a lot of distractions hampered his training for the fight, among them the wildfires that occurred near his training camp in Big Bear, California.
But the future Hall of Famer from Mexico City (63-5, with 42 KOs) said he won’t be making any excuses this time in their Oct. 6 super-featherweight bout.
“I will not come with any excuses. “The difference from the first fight and now, is simple: I’m going to win,” he vowed.
That definitely sits well with Pacquiao and Roach.
“I hope they don’t have any excuses this time around as we don’t have any,” the American trainer said. “We are 100% prepared for this fight. We know it’s going to be a tough fight. Marco is a real game guy, but I do believe we’ll get it done before twelve.”
Said Pacquiao: “I’m 100 percent condition and Barrera is 100 percent condition. So I’m going to try and give a good fight. I hope everyone will enjoy the fight. This is for all the Filipinos and everyone who loves boxing.”
Golden Boy Promotions head Oscar dela Hoya and Top Rank’s Arum, who introduced Pacquiao as the most exciting fighter in the world today, also graced the event together with the featured fighters in the undercard, among them are super lightweights Francisco “Panchito” Bojado (17-2 , 11 KOs) and Steve Forbes (32-5,9 KOs), former super middleweight challenger Librado Andrade (25-1, 19 KOs) and fellow contender Yusef Mack (24-3, 12 KOs), and defending World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight champion Steve Luevano (33-1, 15 KOs) along with challenger Antonio Davis (24-3, 12 KOs).