By Robert Morales

Promoter Bob Arum and trainer Freddie Roach on Wednesday both said Manny Pacquiao was out of focus during his training in his native Philippines, where Pacquiao also serves as a Congressman. But whereas Arum and Roach figure politics have just about everything to do with  that, Pacquiao said there is something else on his mind.

All three were on hand at Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif., where Pacquiao is finishing preparation for his junior middleweight title fight against Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Arum had just finished a television interview and was targeted by a couple of print reporters. After admitting that Pacquiao was not as focused as he should have been in the Philippines, Arum came with a comment that was one of resignation.

"But so what, you know what I mean?" said Arum, who promotes Pacquiao. "There are other things in life other than to be completely focused on boxing. He has other interests and pursuits. That makes him the human being that he is."

Arum said he is not necessarily concerned about it.

"It is what it is," he said. "It's the whole package. Manny Pacquiao is not some fighter that all he does is lefts and rights. He does other things.

That's what we live with. Whether it's politics in the Philippines, whether it's playing with his band, you know, that seems to work for him.

"It certainly, I believe, makes him more fan friendly."

Arum said multi-tasking the way Pacquiao does is not for every fighter, but that Pacquiao can handle it. 

"He can take all of these diversions, yet when he comes to train, he's focused," Arum said.

Well, not always.

"There were times in the  Philippines where he frankly looked so flat and Freddie was alarmed and it was an issue," said Arum, who said he is convinced Roach and conditioning coach Alex Ariza will have Pacquiao "peaking at the right time."

Roach, who trains Pacquiao, said there were times during sparring when Pacquiao seemed somewhere else. 

"He just wasn't really focusing on the game plan a lot," Roach said. "I'm not exactly sure where his head was at, but it wasn't where I wanted it to be."

Apparently, it is now.

"I was worried in the Philippines, yes," Roach said. "But since he's been here in America, I have no problem and he's back on track.

Pacquiao arrived Saturday in Los Angeles and resumed training Monday with fresh sparring partners.

"He was back to the Pacquiao I know yesterday," Roach said. "We had a great day."

Well, perhaps that's because something else is going on with Pacquiao. And it could be that something else is in the Philippines.

As he sat in his sweaty-hot dressing room crowded with reporters, Pacquiao kicked back on a bench. He looked OK, but not like he was thrilled to see us.

He was immediately asked to respond to Roach's comments about him not having his head into his sparring in his homeland.

"I'm still focused in the Philippines," Pacquiao said. "But I have some things, though, in the Philippines." 

Speaking in a soft tone that was barely audible, Pacquiao wore an expression of concern. He said his training time was "divided to some other things."

He was pushed, and asked if he meant politics or something else.

"Besides politics," he said.

Pacquiao was asked if he would like to elaborate and tell reporters what the problem was.

"No," Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao did lighten up when a reporter from told him he didn't look like his jovial self, that  he wasn't smiling as much as he usually does.

Pacquiao looked up and said, "I just woke up." He burst out laughing, as did everyone in the room.

'The Punisher' More Than Big

Paul Williams laughed, just a little, when he was asked about not getting all the fights he wants presumably because he is a 6-foot-3 southpaw with arms the length of a heavyweight.

Williams - the former welterweight and interim junior middleweight champion - wasn't laughing because he thinks it's funny that he is taller and longer than everyone he fights. Apparently, he finds it amusing that so many experts think that's the only reason why he is a rather avoided fighter.

"I don't think it has anything to do with the long arms and the height," said Williams, who will challenge Sergio Martinez for his middleweight championship on Nov. 20 in Atlantic City; Williams beat Martinez via majority decision in a non-title fight last December. 

"It has to do with my heart and the stuff I bring to the ring. Most guys don't want to fight guys who really want to fight. 

"They want to get some easy fights, fights that they can win easy. They don't want to be in a fight that is going to be a knockdown, drag-out fight."

Dan Goossen believes the whole ball of wax that is Williams is what makes some fighters steer clear of the man nicknamed "The Punisher."

"It is all of the above, including what you said to him about the height and reach," said Goossen, who promotes Williams. "That's why we have called him the most feared fighter in the world, because of those other factors that Paul mentioned.

"The fighters don't want someone like that, that has the willpower and mind-set of overcoming everything and then coming back and attacking you."

The first sign that Williams was a fighter with heavy mettle (pun intended) was his July 2007 fight against Margarito at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Williams started fast, Margarito didn't and Williams was pretty much in control until the 10th round when Margarito landed two right hands near the end of the round. One of them staggered Williams, if only slightly.

Several reporters at ringside thought Margarito might have a chance to stop Williams because there were two rounds left. After all, who was this Williams guy? Margarito then cut Williams with a right cross in the 11th. But Williams won the 12th round on two of the three scorecards.

Had Margarito won on those two particular cards, he would have retained his welterweight belt with a majority draw. 

Instead, Williams won by scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 116-112. Williams earned his respect right there. 

"I mean, it shows the will to win, the heart of a champion," Williams told Tuesday via telephone after a training session in Washington D.C. "I knew he was coming on. My thing was not letting him have too many moments in there, and still fight him back. A lot of guys don't do that.

"When guys start coming on, they can't do nothing about it and don't fight back. My thing is to stay strong and fight back." 

Williams on Pacquiao-Margarito

We asked Williams to give his take on the Pacquiao-Margarito fight. Interestingly, Williams didn't pick a winner.

"It's hard to say," Williams said. "Pacquiao has a good style. A lot of speed, a lot of movement. But Margarito is a pressure fighter. He wears  guys down. It all depends on who has the best game plan that night. It only takes one punch to turn a fight around.

"It's hard to say who's going to win. It's going to be a great fight and I would like the winner." 

Not so fast, Goossen said. First, Williams has to get by Martinez because if he loses this rematch, it's doubtful Arum would give Williams a fight with Pacquiao. Arum would automatically use that as an excuse to not make that fight. Even if Williams loses to the talented Martinez, he would give the 5-6 1/2 Pacquiao all kinds of trouble with his tremendous physical advantages.

"I know you are going to sit there and say, ''Come on, that's not the answer,' " Goossen said when asked to respond to Williams saying he wants the winner of Pacquiao-Margarito. "First and foremost, we've got one hell of a challenge Nov. 20.

"Sergio Martinez is not someone to look past. All of those attributes we spoke about Paul, he's going to need to beat Martinez again."

So, What about Pacquiao-Williams?

Roach talked about the possibility of Pacquiao taking on the drink of water that is Williams. But he didn't sound too enthusiastic about it.

"Initially, I say he's too big," Roach said. "But I said that about (Oscar) De La Hoya. At one time I said that about Margarito. He keeps amazing  me, so I'm sure it could happen. But I really don't know. Paul Williams is a name that people throw out there that may be next and so forth. But I don't see it. But with Manny, you never know."

The subject was broached with Pacquiao. When asked if he could see himself in the ring with Williams, Pacquiao thought for a second, smiled and said, "No."

Goossen: Full Camp Will Help Williams Stop Martinez

The first fight between Williams and Martinez was a give-and-take thriller, with both scoring first-round knockdowns. But Williams and Goossen are quick to remind us that Williams only had a short time to get ready for Martinez because Williams had been training to fight the right-handed Kelly Pavlik.

When Pavlik pulled out for the second time because of a hand injury, the bout with Martinez was made. With a full camp this time, Williams and Goossen believe it will make a world of difference.

"Two and a half to three weeks," Williams said, when asked how long he had to prepare for the left-handed Martinez. "It's going to make a whole lot of difference. I'm sparring with left-handed guys instead of right-handed guys, trying to switch up at the last minute. It's going to be real interesting to see."

Goossen said it's going to be more than interesting.

"I actually believe in this one that Paul is going to stop him within six or seven rounds," Goossen said. "What many people tend to forget is that their first fight was made three weeks before them stepping into the ring.

"Paul had virtually a week or so, two weeks, to acclimate himself to a completely different style for what he had been training for for two separate fights with Kelly Pavlik. A full training camp is going to make it easier for Paul. That doesn't mean it's not going to be back and forth as long as it lasts."

Martinez on Wednesday during a conference call was told about Goossen's prediction of a mid-fight knockout and why he made it. Martinez, of Argentina, responded in kind.

"They reason they are saying that is they are afraid," Martinez said. "There is fear in that training camp. They're saying that because they know in their hearts exactly what happened in that first fight. I am going to be victorious that night."

Williams won the first fight by scores of 114-114, 115-113 and a ridiculous count of 119-110 by Pierre Benoist.

Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram and