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Sports

Manny seals deal with AirAsia; early KO seen

Abac Cordero - The Philippine Star

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – As the fight drew closer and closer, Freddie Roach thinks that Chris Algieri’s chances against Manny Pacquiao are getting slimmer and slimmer.

“I hope Manny gets him in one (round),” said Roach yesterday.

Roach made the prediction in a break in training yesterday  where Pacquiao closed a sponsorhip deal with Air Asia.

Weeks ago, Roach predicted a knockout for Pacquiao, who stakes his WBO welterweight crown against the unbeaten Algieri on Nov. 23 in Macau.

Roach said the fight could be over in five or six rounds.

But that was then. As Pacquiao entered the final phase of his training, the American trainer thinks the fight could be over in one.

Pacquiao hadn’t scored a knockout in five years, and Roach thinks it will come soon.

It seemed that Algieri has gotten into the nerves of Roach after the challenger told the press that Roach was showing signs that “he’s nervous.”

Roach called Algieri names.

“Bob Arum has been holding him up too much,” said Roach.

At around 2 p.m., Pacquiao arrived at his own JMP Arcade to train at the Wild Card Gym. It all started as a quiet session until he started pounding the mitts..

As the training session heated up, the doors to the gym were opened to AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, who announced a new partnership with Pacquiao.

As part of the deal, AirAsia will provide Pacquiao two A320 planes that will carry the boxer and all his team members, family and friends to and from Macau for the coming fight.

AirAsia also presented a model of their airline that will soon carry the image of the Filipino boxing icon. It was also announced that AirAsia will soon carry flights from Manila to GenSan and back.

AirAsia people said it cost P500,000 to put up the Pacman plane delivery.

Fernandes, a Malaysian-British airline mogul, said it’s the first time for him to meet Pacquiao. He smiled in awe as he watched Pacquiao train.

“His focus is the best thing. This is going to be an exciting fight just watching him from here,” said Fernandes, who flew to GenSan from Manila yesterday on a 180-seater A320 with just a handful of passengers on board.

Fernandes arrived at the gym with Philippines AirAsia ground operations chief Eric Arejola, who came on behalf of his boss, businessman-sportsman Mikee Romero.

They brought the entire flight crew to the gym, from the pilots and maintenance crew to the comely AirAsia ladies in their bright red uniforms.

Pacquiao’s eyes lit up seeing his guests.

AIR ASIA

AIRASIA

ALGIERI

AS PACQUIAO

BOB ARUM

CHRIS ALGIERI

ERIC AREJOLA

FERNANDES

PACQUIAO

ROACH

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