Congressman. Movie Star. Singing Sensation. Filipino Icon.
There are all titles that superstar Manny Pacquiao holds, yet its the title of World Champion Boxer that famed trainer Freddie Roach fears is being put on the back burner as Pacquiao prepares for his upcoming WBC Junior Middleweight Championship bout against Antonio Margarito this Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
According to Roach, Pacquiao took part in what was "probably our worst training camp ever."
And if you know anything about Roach, you know that he calls it exactly how he sees it.
As the final hour approaches, it appears that Pacquiao's legion of supporters also have cause for concern as this is shaping up to be an event that has "upset" written all over it.
On one side you have the rags to riches story of Pacquiao, who, guided by his uncle, took fights to make enough money to provide his mother with rice for the family's meals. Those days are now long gone as money is thrown at him from all angles, whether it be endorsement deals from Nike to multi-million dollar paydays for his performances in the ring. Instead of being looked down on from the elite, he's been embraced by their fraternity with open arms.
On the other hand, you have Margarito, who, despite already have been to the top of the sport in winning multiple world titles and earning handsome sums of money, still has plenty to prove in the game that nearly exiled him last year. Outside of his family and his team, not too many are quick to embrace the "Tijuana Tornado".
One fighter has it all. The other wants what he has.
Pacquiao has all of the fame and respect he could ever imagine. One day he's fulfilling his duty in the Philippines as a congressman and the next he's singing out of tune duets with Will Ferrel live on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
All the while, Antonio Margarito is running mile after mile followed by countless rounds of sparring to ensure than he has no excuses come fight night.
Roach, extremely disappointed with how many distractions Manny faces while training in the Philippines, hoped that the second leg of training at his Wild Card Gym in Hollywood would provide the focus needed for a fight of this magnitude.
Unfortunately for Roach, Pacquiao is a global sensation whose fame knows no boundaries. As previously mentioned, Pacquiao sill takes time out of his training sessions to make late night talk show appearances as well as promoting a certain Nevada politician, Harry Reid, during his recent campaign.
Truth is, that even without these unnecessary distractions, Pacquiao faces a daunting task when he steps into the ring against Margarito, who holds a significant size advantage over the former Bantamweight Champion.
As witnessed on HBO's 24/7 series which highlights both fighters respective journeys to their upcoming fight, Pacquiao had his hands full with sparring partners brought in with a similar style and size advantage that he's be going up against on Saturday.
Those fighters are nowhere near the talent of the villainous Margarito.
That being said, if there's a fighter that could lose a step and still be capable of beating their opponent, it's the pound for pound great Manny Pacquiao.
Then again, he didn't get to be the pound for pound best in the world by hanging out with Will Ferrell, either.
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