BAGUIO CITY , Philippines – Bob Arum travelled all the way from Las Vegas to get here and sell the fight.
The president of Top Rank Promotions was mobbed yesterday at the Shape Up Gym here where a media day looked more like a fans day that even Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partners had a field day signing autographs and facing the cameras.
Arum looked like he was running for mayor of Baguio City the way he was welcomed at the gym. But the legendary promoter was there to accommodate everyone, hardly showing the effects of a long journey he had to take the other day.
After fielding so many questions, Arum felt it was time to sell the fight by saying, for the nth time, that this could be or should be the toughest ever for the 30-year-old Filipino megastar.
“Manny has always been confident of his ability. But this is going to be the most difficult opponent that he’ll ever face. This is a man who’s unlike Ricky Hatton or Oscar dela Hoya,” said Arum, who happens to be the promoter of both fighters.
“Cotto is bigger than he is, stronger than he is, younger than he is. Cotto is someone who has fought very fast welterweights like Shane Mosley and Zab Juddah and had beaten both of them,” said Arum.
“This is a monster test that’s facing Manny Pacquiao. A monster test, and he has to be a hundred percent prepared. And if he isn’t, Cotto is gonna beat him. Cotto knows that he is on the biggest stage now. All eyes are looking at him. And he is very confident that he can handle Pacquiao.”
Arum was so busy selling the Nov. 14 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas that he tried to shoo away questions on whether Pacquiao would ever face the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. who still claims to be the best boxer out there.
“We don’t know. We don’t know. We don’t know,” he answered one question.
“Why can’t we wait for this match and talk about that on Nov. 15,” added Arum, who went as far as saying that a rematch could even take place depending on how Pacquiao and Cotto would fare up on the ring less than two months from now.
“Who knows there might be a rematch,” he said.
Notes: There was some commotion at the lobby of the Cooyeesan Hotel where Pacquiao and his huge entourage is staying because “Pacman” was missing. No, it wasn’t the boxer himself who was missing but Pacquiao’s pet dog, a Jack Russell named “Pacman.” Apparently, someone had left the door to Pacquiao’s suite open and “Pacman” had found his way out. The search was on inside the premises as of presstime.... Pacquiao, who worked out tirelessly the other day at the gym, sneaked out of his room in the evening to play basketball in the hotel gymnasium. His trainer, Freddie Roach, said it was fine because part of the deal was that there would be no more basketball four weeks heading into the fight. “He’s still inside the limit,” said Roach of Pacquiao, who wore a knee pad as he trained yesterday.... Another sparring partner, actually a Miguel Cotto clone, is coming over. His name Omar Henry who, according to conditioning coach Alex Ariza, is very much like Cotto. “He moves like Cotto. He looks like Cotto. He’s got the same hair as Cotto. He wants to be like Cotto,” said Ariza of the native of Texas... Roach said anyone among Pacquiao’s sparring partners who could knock the hard-hitting champion down will get $1,000 — from his own pocket. – Abac Cordero