|11-12-2009, 10:59 PM||#1|
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In Pacquiao’s Corner, a Dysfunctional Entourage
The condominium looks like a fraternity house, not the resting place for boxing royalty. Stained carpets cover the floor. Dartboards hang from the wall. Bowls of food, half-eaten leftovers, line the kitchen.
Manny Pacquiao, one of the best boxers in the world, sleeps here. But he does not sleep alone.
Pacquiao, who faces Miguel Cotto in a welterweight title fight Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, does not do anything alone.
His entourage — swollen, dysfunctional and, in his mind, necessary — makes sure of that. On a recent visit, while Pacquiao slept upstairs, one member did the laundry. Another surfed the Internet. Yet another sprawled on the couch, his booming snores interrupting another otherwise peaceful morning for Team Pacquiao
“They’re all competing to be golden boy for the day,” said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer. “Clean his pool. Take his shoes off. They will do anything for Manny Pacquiao.”
Roach paused, unable to suppress his laughter.
“I’m telling you,” he continued, “the funniest thing is, whoever is on the best terms with Manny at that moment sleeps closest to him, at the foot of his bed.”
More than anything, they wait. They wait for Pacquiao to wake up, to eat, to spar, to sing, sign autographs, do interviews, act, shop.
Before one sparring session last month, members of the entourage arrived early, fetched towels, cleared the gym and debated what type of Gatorade their employer would prefer, finally settling on orange. When word came that Pacquiao was sleeping, that he might not practice, they waited, dozens of lives affected by the whimsical decisions of one man
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