Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Roach Unconcerned About Training Locale, Cotto

Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao, pictured in the Wild Card Gym, are being forced to go elsewhere, thanks to Uncle Sam and the IRS.

While Manny Pacquiao plays the lead role in a movie currently being filmed in the Philippines, his opponent on Nov. 14th, WBO welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto, has already begun light training in his native Puerto Rico for the fight that is still over 11 weeks away.

Pacquiao won't begin his fight preparations for another few weeks, but exactly where he will do so is still a question that has yet to be answered. Pacquiao typically trains within the friendly confines of Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California.

However, a complicated Internal Revenue Service rule known as the “substantial presence test” mandates that non-resident aliens can only spend a certain number of days in the United States. If a person exceeds that number of days in a three-year period, they are considered a resident for tax purposes and their income is taxed accordingly. Pacquiao is dangerously close to exceeding the number of days allowed and he can only spend another month in the United States this year – before it would cost him millions in additional income tax.

“The IRS rule says that Manny can only be here in America for another three weeks or so,” said his trainer Freddie Roach, speaking from the Wild Card Gym. “I thought Bob [Arum] might find a way around it. But they tell me they can't, so we're going to have to go someplace else.”

For the past several weeks, where that “someplace else” will be has been the topic of great speculation. In total, Pacquiao is going to have an eight-week long training camp for the Cotto fight.

Miguel Cotto has only lost once, so to see him pictured like this is not unusual.

“The three weeks he's allowed here will be two weeks here at the Wild Card and another week in Las Vegas,” explained Roach. “I'm hearing the Philippines, maybe Vancouver [British Columbia, Canada] maybe Mexico. We'll find someplace, so be it.”

According to Roach, “Manny will have the final say” on the training location. Various reports emanating from the Pacquiao inner circle suggest he may head back to the Philippines after the American press tour for the fight concludes on Sept. 14th. Two cities in the Philippines being mentioned are Baguio and Cebu.

The vagabond nature of the training camp doesn't seem to be bothering Roach much. As usual he is supremely confident that Pacquiao will again be the winner when the dust settles.

“I'm expecting Cotto to be at his best,” said Roach. “But Pacquiao is at the top of his game right now. I'm expecting Cotto to be more resilient than Oscar and Hatton were, so he'll give us a better fight than those two guys did. The biggest thing with Cotto is that he's a strong guy, but Manny's not going to stand in front of him and trade. I feel that we'll be able to expose Cotto. His skills aren't quite where they used to be and we're going to expose him.”

August 2009

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