Pacquiao balances pugilism and politics

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While Manny Pacquiao balances his roles as world's greatest fighter and representative of the Sarangani province in the Philippine Congress, trainer Freddie Roach was mapping out a strategy to beat "Sugar" Shane Mosley.

"The first four rounds may be a little crucial, a little dangerous," Roach told reporters at a promotional news conference on Monday. "He's a good counter-puncher and can punch a little bit but I think we can break him down.

"If you walk in too aggressively he will catch you."

Pacquiao, meanwhile, was keeping an eye on the clock to catch a train to Washington where he was scheduled to meet with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.

"We will discuss some political matters," said Pacquiao, declining to offer details on the agenda.

Pacquiao said he still enjoyed boxing but also wanted to thrive in his new role.

"You need to love your job and what you're going to do, and it's just time management," he said about balancing his dual roles. "I love both jobs."

Pacquiao said he has been a busy politician.

"I'm the one who pushed the bill for anti-human trafficking," he said. "I'm doing good in Congress. There's a lot of stuff to do."

He also worked to obtain funds to build a hospital and hopes construction will begin this spring to finally bring medical services to his province.

"I want to be a champion as a public servant," he said.

Fight organizers said all but a few hundred seats at the MGM Grand arena were already sold, adding that the bookmakers' early line listed Pacquiao as a 7-to-1 favorite.

This information seemed to excite the Mosley camp.

"How do we get a bet in that 7-to-1 situation? Seven to one? We gotta find a way to slide some paper in there," said Mosley trainer Nazim Richardson.

Richardson praised Pacquiao but relished the challenge.

"I think Manny Pacquiao is an extraordinary athlete," he said. "I'm proud that we have the privilege to solve the puzzle that is Manny Pacquiao."

The 32-year-old Pacquiao is 52-3-2, with a pair of decisive wins last year over Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito.

Mosley, 39, lost a decision to Floyd Mayweather and fought a draw with Sergio Mora last year to put his record at 46-6-1.

Mosley, who will have a 7.5-inch reach advantage, was upbeat about facing an opponent who liked to trade punches after lackluster showings against defensive specialists.

"These are the type of fights I love to be in, with guys that really like to fight," said Mosley, a former super welterweight champion.

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Steve Ginsburg; To query or comment on this story email

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