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Monday, February 8, 2010

Top Rank Photographer Chris Farina covers Pacquiao and Clottey in camp, can’t wait for March 13th

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Las Vegas Boxing Examiner | Chris Robinson

Manny Pacquiao’s WBO Welterweight title bout against Joshua Clottey is a little over a month away and so far there have been varying reports on how each man’s training camp is coming along. Pacquiao is reportedly looking sharp and putting some serious hurt on his sparring partners while other rumors have it that too much of Clottey’s time has been spent focusing on drama outside of the ring for him to be fully focused for a fight of this magnitude.

One man who was able to witness both fighters in camp this past week was Top Rank photographer Chris Farina. Based out of Las Vegas, traveling is a huge part of Farina’s job and his images over the years have served as proof as to the intimate and up close nature of his job. Farina first stopped by the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles this past Monday and was able to witness Pacquiao in rare form.

“Manny looked pretty good,” Farina says reflecting on the Filipino icon. “We’re still a little bit away from the fight but he looks like he is right on his program. He’s right on point and he hasn’t lost a step at all.”

When asked how Pacquiao’s demeanor was heading into yet another pivotal bout, Farina insists that the seven-division champion is relaxed but also tuned in. It also seems that Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach are exactly on the same page in their preparation for the challenge that Clottey presents.

“Once in a while he gets s a little bit crazy and it’s obvious he’s care free,” Farina claims of Pacquiao. “But it seemed to me that he’s very focused and ready to go. He comes right in and goes right to training. He’s all work. Freddie and Manny have their game plan and they are getting it ready to go.”

Over the years Pacquiao’s time inside the Wild Card has been well documented and on many occasions the facility has had to turn people away during Manny’s training. Farina says that the gym regulars have simply adapted to Pacquiao and the impact he has created over time.

“The gym was very busy,” Farina states. “A lot of people work out at that gym and Manny just always comes in and does his thing. People kind of let him do his thing. They work around him and if they have to leave the gym they will leave.”

Later in the week Farina could be found roughly 2800 miles away, tucked inside of John’s Boxing Gym in the Bronx capturing images of Clottey as he prepared for the March 13th contest. Despite reports that Clottey’s head may not be where it ought to be, Farina believes the former champion is on course.

“He was intense but later on he was all smiles too,” Farina says of the Accra, Ghana fighter. “He kind of broke it up with me and he looked like he was very confident. He was in good shape too. He was hitting the mitts and training hard as ever. Both guys looked ready to me.”

Farina has stated in the past that he often remains so focused on his work that he doesn’t allow himself to get caught up in moment during all of the events he attends. While that may be the sign of a true professional, he still admits that being around both men in their respective camps has heightened his expectations for their bout.

“Of course. I’m chomping at the bit and I can’t wait for March 13th. It’s not just another fight; it’s going to be a show. It’s going to be something spectacular and I can’t wait to be in Dallas when it happens.”


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