Click Here

You are Here: Home > My "Pacquiao Time" day at Wild Card
My "Pacquiao Time" day at Wild Card
By BARBARA PINNELLA, MOP Squad Boxing Editor
Mar 6, 2010 - 2:39:23 PM

Email this article
Printer friendly page

A week ago I did an interview with Steve Forbes at Wild Card Boxing Club. At the time I wrote that up, I mentioned how lucky I felt to be able to not only do my interview face to face, but to watch Steve spar with Manny Pacquiao, and then get to stay the rest of the afternoon to watch the remainder of Manny’s training.


Manny upon his arrival at Wild Card Boxing Club. Barbara Pinnella photo

Now, after looking at the pictures taken at Media Day, I am really just as excited when I think about the events that took place on the day I went, as I was right after I left. So I decided to write up a little story on my impressions of the goings on, more from a fan point of view than that of a journalist.


When I arrived a little before 1:00, cars were already emptying out of the parking lot, while Pacquiao fans had begun to arrive and mill about, waiting for a glimpse of their hero. I have been in Wild Card several other times and, like all gyms across the country, the hustle and bustle of activity hits you as you are walking up the stairs of Freddie Roach’s pride and joy. But this time was remarkably different. There was a lot of traffic, but most were making their way out this time, not moving from bag to ring to rope.


There were a few people there that I knew, so we chatted a bit as I watched the continuous exodus. Then I heard someone say, “Here he comes,” and if I hadn’t heard that and looked to the door – which I was sitting close to, mind you – I wouldn’t have even noticed him walk in. He and his entourage quietly and unassumingly entered the gym.


While he changed clothes and warmed up, any stragglers who were still there were firmly asked to leave – it was now “Pacquiao Time”. I didn’t get to see all of the sparring he did with his first partner. That was when I did my interview with Steve. But I was told that Manny was sparring 10 rounds, so I can only assume that partner number one (and I apologize for not getting his name) went three.


Michael Dallas, Jr. went the next three. I thought he did a good job, certainly a much stronger fighter than the kid I watched at the beginning of his career. He also knows Pacquiao a little bit. This is the second camp he has attended, as he sparred with him before the Oscar de la Hoya fight as well.


Steve went last and did his four rounds. For both Michael and Steve this was also preparation for their own fights. Dallas fights on March 5th and Forbes on the 6th.


During the course of the sparring, sitting there watching Manny ask for, and take, punches to his midsection and absorb them was amazing to me, especially since I was only a few feet away. Quite an impact. And while I know that in a fight that happens all the time, it was still something to see up close and personal, so to speak.


So now Manny has fought his 10 rounds, and I just assume that he is finished. What was I thinking? Now I know that when a fighter is training for a fight there are many stages involved in that, but at the time I just figured that the sparring would be the biggest work of the day, and it would slow down from there.


Not close. Now, I watched Pacquiao/Cotto 24/7. I enjoyed the insight, since with most sports I cover I’ve always liked what goes on behind the scenes better anyway, more interesting to me. So while I should have expected it, I was still surprised to actually witness it. When it seemed as if Pacquiao was cooling down a bit, he then stepped it up big time with footwork and shadow boxing. Then the heavy bag. Then the speed bag. Then some rope jumping. Then weights, then stretching, and even though I’m certain that I have them out of order and maybe even left something out, by now you get the picture.


And there was still some quick moments thrown in there to have a few laughs and even sing a little bit, in Spanish no less. Every now and then he would look out the window at the growing crowd below and give a little wave to them, then switch right back into his other gear and train once more.


Had to do this - Manny and me.

If I had any doubt before, I now am completely aware of what goes into the making of a champion. Believe me, it ain’t easy! I’m certain that there are many, many people who train hard, make sacrifices, and do as much as they can to reach a level of greatness. As with other sports, one thing is missing – raw talent. Can’t teach that, you either have it or you don’t, particularly to make it all the way to the top. Is Pacquiao a gifted fighter? Absolutely. Add in the right time, right place, and the right trainer, then combine that with the dedication he gives to his training and you get a Welterweight monster. Never mind the other championships he holds at six other weight classes.


When I went to leave the crowds had grown considerably. They were behind the fence in back of the parking lot, in the lot itself, and lined up along the entrance into the Wild Card parking lot. One of them asked me as I was leaving if “HE” was almost ready to come out. When I told him that I wasn’t sure, he just nodded and told me OK. No anger, no shoving, just a group of people waiting to get a glimpse or possibly an autograph from this man who is the pride of the Philippines.


How many people get to spend a few hours watching the best at his profession train for a fight? I’m sure that those who have been around for some time have done so, perhaps many times. Possibly it is old hat for them. But I have to say that I would have never dreamed I would be sitting at Wild Card, watching Manny Pacquiao. With that said, I also had to have that obligatory ‘take my picture with Manny’ experience…which is also my profile picture on FaceBook, and my wallpaper on my cell phone. And I have to show that pic to almost everyone. If they don’t know who Manny is, they do when I’m through with them! 


I can’t end this without a huge thanks to Freddie Roach for allowing me to be a part of this corner of his world. And you have it backwards – it is I who respects YOU!


So now I can get back into journalist mode and be more serious, keeping my excited emotions in check. Until, well, who knows?


Be safe and God Bless,

Viva La Raza





Copyright 2007 - MOP Squad Sports

Top of Page