By Michael Marley
Coach Freddie Roach was in an ebullient mood at Wednesday's Juan Manuel Marquez-Manny Pacquiao press conference at the sparkling Edison Ballroom off Times Square.
This was, of course, before the bad news emanated from Las Vegas that troubled Roach pupil Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was nabbed by the Nevada boxing board on a drug test which detected marijuana in his system when he fought and lost to middleweight king Sergio Martinez on Sept. 15.
I asked Roach, recently cut loose by Amir Khan I guess for not having cement transplanted into the British boxer's fragile chin, how plausible it is to say that Pacman can KO the masterful counterpuncher Marquez when they start Round 37 through a possible Round 48 come Dec. 8 in Las Vegas.
History tells us Pacquiao has not been a potent puncher since 2009, a year in which he blasted out Ricky Hatton in two rounds and stopped durable Miguel Cotto in 12.
In route-going bouts against Joshua Clottery, Antonio Margarito, Juan Ma and Timothy Bradley, Pacquiao's power seemed to be excruciatingly absent.
I was, I told Fly Fly Freddie, a doubter as to any outcome except JMM and MP battling for yet another 36 minute bout.
"Remember when I was paying a bounty, giving bonuses to sparring partners, if they could knock Manny down?" Roach said, smiling brightly. "Well, this camp I will pull a switch. I will offer Manny $1,000 out of my own pocket every time he knocks a sparmate on his ass. Maybe that will liven up our training."
In a more serious vein, Roach believes having the entire camp held at his Wild Card Gym in Hollywood and not beginning it in Baguio will be beneficial for Pacquiao.