By Ronnie Nathanielsz

Ring Magazine featherweight champion Manny Pacquiao's American trainer Freddie Roach says he is going to have to sit him (Pacquiao) down and get his head in the right place following reports that the flamboyant southpaw was taking things easy prior to his December 11 showdown with Fahsan 3K Battery, the IBF No. 4 super bantamweight, in a fight card titled "Yanig sa Taguig" on December 11. Pacquiao was reported shooting a TV reality boxing show in Subic over the weekend,  playing pool and worrying about an entry in a cockfight derby in Cavite City later this month.

In a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with Viva Sports/Manila Standard at the airport, shortly after his arrival at 4:05 a.m. aboard a Philippine Airlines flight from Los Angeles, Roach stressed that too many distractions are not good for him, not good for anybody. He's got to focus on this fight (against Fahsan) because this is leading up to the Juan Manuel Marquez fight which is the biggest fight of his (Pacquiao's) life. Roach said that Fahsan is fighting the most recognized featherweight in the world today so he's gonna come to win and we'll have to take care of him.

Roach was confident that if Pacquiao stays on the right road he is going to be the greatest Filipino fighter, maybe of all-time. He is the most exciting fighter in the world today and I believe if his head is in the right direction, he has a very bright future in front of him. But the thing is, he's got to stay disciplined and he's got to keep his mind on boxing.

Roach who was met at the airport by Pacquiao's Filipino trainer/sidekick Buboy Fernandez was to leave along with Pacquiao on a 7:00 a.m. flight to Davao City which was something Roach couldn’t quite understand. Roach  said he learned that the gym in Davao City was dilapidated and it didn't compare at all with the excellent facilities at the Wild Card Gym in BF Homes, Paranaque and that there's no sparring in Davao and so forth.  Fernandez himself admitted that Philippine lightweight champion Fernando Montilla had been bloodied by Pacquiao in sparring Friday and that Montilla and another sparring partner Chris Saluday couldn't take Pacquiao's punches. But Fernandez said Pacquiao insisted on training in Davao because he could run up the mountains for his roadwork.

Roach disclosed that he would get a hold of Manny and we'll be in Manila soon. Roach pointed out that Pacquiao needs to stay away from home and get his mind on this (Fahsan) fight. Aside from that Roach pointed out we need good training facilities. That's very true. Fernandez admitted that he and Pacquiao were in Subic over the weekend shooting a reality TV boxing show for ABS-CBN with action star Robin Padilla and that contrary to Pacquiao's claims at the press conference that he was 130 pounds, his present weight was 134, some eight pounds over the featherweight limit with less that three weeks to go before the Fahsan fight. However, Fernandez claimed Pacquiao also worked out in Subic.

Roach showed some concern over reports that Pacquiao was not training as hard as he should especially in view of the rematch with Marquez which HBO announced was set for February 26, confirming what international promoter Murad Muhammad more than one month ago. Roach said I am going to bring him in a lot earlier, make sure that his head is in the right place and get his mind on nothing but Marquez. Marquez figured Manny out after the first couple of rounds. He fought a very smart fight and we've got to make some adjustments and outsmart him this time. This is going to be a great fight because the winner will fight the winner of the Erik Morales-Marco Antonio Barrera fight which means he'll be the best featherweight in the world and he will be huge.

Roach noted they have to make a few adjustments from the last fight. Manny was relying too much on the left hand so we have got to work on the right hand this time and develop that a little bit better and be more of a finisher. He hurt Marquez with the left hand but if he threw the right hook in there I think he would have knocked him out and we are going to work on that a lot.