“I am in great shape and almost ready for Cotto,” Pacquiao said in his latest Abante column.
Pacquiao said he hopes to make boxing history—winning a record seventh world title in different weight class—when he clashes with Cotto, the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion, in the super fight at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
“I’m training very hard for this fight. I’m in great shape and doing quite well with by sparring partners,” said Pacquiao who is now sparring nine rounds with different spar-mates and hopes to log 12 rounds in the coming days.
He also expressed satisfaction with his training staff led by renowned trainer Freddie Roach and his able assistants—Filipinos Buboy Fernandez, Nonoy Neri and his Colombian conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
Pacquiao said Team Pacquiao is in good spirits, and all minor problems are immediately being resolved, in an apparent reference to the reported confrontation involving Ariza punching Pacquiao aide Michael Koncz.
Ariza reports that found their way in many boxing websites, Ariza lost his cool after finding out that Koncz tried to get his slot to work in Pacquiao’s corner for the Cotto fight, despite the Filipino icon’s personal order that Ariza join Roach and Fernandez in his corner during the fight.
Koncz, who serves as Pacquiao’s personal assistant but wanted to work the corner in place of Ariza, was admonished by the Filipino icon to stay clear on matters involving training, according to a key member of Team Pacquiao.
Meanwhile, Cotto said from his Tampa, Florida training camp that “I am now in my best shape ever,” and added that his fight preparation are proceeding in without hitches.
Cotto said is currently training in a 24 feet by 24 feet ring, bigger than the normal ring, in anticipation of Pacquiao using a lot of movements to maximize his speed advantage.
“We are getting to ready to fight in a ring 22 by 22 or 24 by 24,” Cotto’s chief trainer Joe Santiago told El Nuevo Dia. “Miguel has no problem fighting in any ring, but since Pacquiao sticks and boxes are getting ready for [Pacquiao moving around a lot].”
Santiago said Team Cotto will move to Las Vegas starting November to acclimate to the Las Vegas weather, which can get really cold at night in autumn.