The Philippine Star
HOLLYWOOD – Manny Pacquiao won’t make the same mistake twice, and that’s an absolute guarantee.
That mistake, there for all to see in Pacquiao’s fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in March last year, will be the same mistake Miguel Cotto is hoping to exploit when he climbs the ring against the red-hot Filipino southpaw next week in Las Vegas.
Too bad for the champion from Puerto Rico that Pacquiao has already found ways to correct them.
“We all know they studied our fight against Marquez,” said Buboy Fernandez, who helps Freddie Roach work the corner of the 30-year-old pound-for-pound champion, at the Wild Card Gym here Friday.
The childhood friend and assistant trainer of the greatest fighter in the planet today said against Marquez, Pacquiao, winner of the controversial split decision, showed his tendency to drop his left hand when he throws the jab, and leaves himself open.
“They probably saw Manny’s weakness, which they could counter,” said Fernandez.
“Binababa niya ang kaliwa pag tumapon ng jab,” he added.
While the wide-bodied Cotto makes a living with his left hook, he can always go for Pacquiao through every opening.
“That’s why we worked hard on that aspect. Pinag-aralan namin ang pinag-aralan nila sa atin (We studied what they studied against us),” added Fernandez, heavy on the belly but always up to the task of working Pacquiao’s corner.
“We found the ways to counter this mistake now,” he said.
When Pacquiao is on the ring, sparring or working on the mitts, Fernandez is always there to air his voice, and in Friday’s workout gave Pacquiao constant reminders when moving in and out and throwing punches both ways.
“Ingatan lang ang left hook ni Cotto (We should be wary of the left hook),” added Fernandez.
Pacquiao hit the mitts for eight rounds with Roach, and oftentimes the American trainer would remind Pacquiao not to be as reckless as he probably was against Marquez when he walked into the Mexican’s right the whole night.
It was the closest Pacquiao came to defeat since March of 2005 when he lost to Erik Morales.
“Remember, don’t walk straight into him. Don’t be reckless,” Roach kept on reminding Pacquiao as they worked the mitts.
Fernandez said Pacquiao is good to fight anyday from now, considering that all the hard work has been done, with close to 150 rounds of sparring over the last seven weeks.
Pacquiao spars another four rounds Saturday, and on Monday will close it out with a couple more before he and his huge entourage take the four-hour ride to Las Vegas.
“We’ve achieved the number of sparring rounds we wanted. We’re close to 150 now (144 in total) and that’s as many as we’ve had in the previous fights,” said Fernandez.
“I feel like I’m in perfect condition now -- a hundred percent. I can already feel the power in my hands. It’s there. I’m ready,” said Pacquiao.