Manny off for Vegas rematch
By Abac Cordero Updated Tuesday April 08, 2014 - 12:00am

Pacquiao belts out one of his favorite songs, ‘Let it be,’ during a break in training. ABAC CORDERO

LOS ANGELES - All the hard work and workouts are about over, leaving Filipino idol Manny Pacquiao a week away from chasing his dream of redemption in Las Vegas.

"I miss Las Vegas," Pacquiao said Sunday afternoon. (Related story on A-22)

On Monday, the boxing superstar takes the traditional four-hour drive to the world's gambling capital. It's been 16 months since he last fought in Vegas.

The last time, on a cold December night in 2012, he lay on the canvas, face down and unconscious after taking a big right from Juan Manuel Marquez.

No one will never forget that night.

Yet, on the eve of his 270-mile journey back to Las Vegas, the boxer who turned politician and Bible preacher said he's just as excited as everyone around him.

"I'm excited to return to Las Vegas," said Pacquiao.

It's fight week, and if he leaves Los Angeles as planned, as scheduled, Pacquiao should be there a little past dinner time.

Pacquiao will spar a few more rounds at the Wild Card Gym at 11 a.m. He trains for two to three hours. Then he grabs a bite and drives off.

But it's hard to count on it, according to Freddie Roach, because one day Pacquiao was scheduled to train at 1 p.m. and he arrived two hours late.

A busload of family members, friends and supporters will join the trip while others will go in a convoy of perhaps two dozen vehicles, most of them marked as Team Pacquiao.

Bradley should be in Vegas by the time Pacquiao arrives at Mandalay Bay.

On Tuesday noon, the two fighters will be formally welcomed at the MGM Grand by the fans and the media. Bradley comes in first, then Pacquiao.

The final press conference takes place Wednesday and on Friday the official weigh-in. The fight is set Saturday evening (Sunday noon in Manila).

As he spent his last day of rest in Los Angeles, Pacquiao again entertained close to a hundred guests at his Larchmont Park residence.

Pacquiao led a church service at his home. By late afternoon he was belting out his favorite songs and some of the visitors sang with him.

The mini-darts tournament went on at the garage.

The winners of the weight-loss challenge, this time restricted to women, were also announced. Pacquiao, through a microphone, made the announcement.

"We have two winners," he said, and later on they were identified as Marites Diamond and a certain Angelica.

There were 32 participants and they were given two weeks to lose eight percent of their total body weight. The winners both lost 13 percent of their weight. Marites shed off 21.2 pounds in two weeks.

For their feat, the two women took home $8,000 each. The rest of the participants who passed the test got $3,000 each.

Marites, the co-winner, said she didn't find the need to starve herself. All she did was exercise a lot and eat less.

"I went on a protein diet. I exercise regularly but to lose weight like this, never before," said the Filipina accountant based in San Francisco.

After the winners were announced, she was seen standing before the buffet table, filling her plate up.

"I'm so hungry," she said.


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