LOS ANGELES - What was supposed to be a joint media day on Wednesday for Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner at the Wild Card Boxing gym turned into a mad scramble for reporters when Broner abruptly announced he would be holding his session separately on the other side of town at the Ten Goose Boxing Club.
"He's scared," Freddie Roach said, before laughing and saying he had promised Pacquiao he'd play nice.
Pacquiao theorized that Broner did not want to hear about Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pacquiao has fielded a flurry of questions about possibly facing Mayweather again.
Or maybe Broner simply did not want to appear at the Wild Card, the place that is as much a shrine to Pacquiao as it is a gymnasium.
Pacquiao was already a world champion when he first walked into the gym in 2001, but under the tutelage of Roach he became one of the sport's greatest fighters, eventually capturing world titles in eight different divisions.
Photos from various stages of Pacquiao's career line the walls and when he split briefly from Roach last year everything about the place seemed to dim.
"You look around and you say, who really built this gym? I did build it yes, but I only built it for one reason, and that's Manny Pacquiao," said Roach.
The "private" downstairs gym, which had previously been a laundromat, was turned into an extension of the main gym and a refuge of sorts for Pacquiao.
"This is Manny's home, this is his house. This is the most comfortable place for all of us to work in," Roach said.
"I remember the first time I walked into this gym in 2001, I was young. I don't know anything here in the United States," said Pacquiao. "But now I learned a lot."
Pacquiao last trained in Los Angeles in 2016 for his fight against Jessie Vargas. It was the last time he had fought in the United States. Since then Pacquiao has become a senator in the Philippines, lost a controversial decision to Jeff Horn in Australia, and scored a knockout against Lucas Matthysse.
Returning to Los Angeles to prepare to face Broner on January 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas meant reconnecting with Roach after the two split up for the Matthysse fight. It was also a reunion with a Filipino-American community which had embraced Pacquiao long before he dismantled Oscar de la Hoya in 2008 to vault to superstardom.
Pacquiao owns a home in Beverly Hills and his crew of LA-based buddies known as the "LA Boys" keep him busy with marathon basketball games which can last for hours.
Most mornings in Los Angeles begin with runs through Griffith and Pan Pacific Parks. Fans somehow know which park he'll be at each morning.
Ed Nicholas said he walks the trail from Griffith Observatory regularly and has seen Pacquiao train a number of times over the past few weeks. Nicholas recites Pacquaio's routine: Three SUVs coming up the hill toward the observatory's parking, signaling that Pacquaio was dropped off on Western Canyon Road and he'll be making the run up soon. Minutes later, Pacquaio leads an entourage of a dozen runners up the hill. Some are training partners and members of his camp, others are fans trying to keep pace while snapping selfies.
Fans like Lorie Deoleo just want a glimpse before it all ends for good.
"We want to be a part of the history," Deoleo said. "Sooner or later he's going to retire. Might as well enjoy every minute while he's still training and fighting. Not everybody can witness this."
Los Angeles might be a second home for Pacquiao but it's not without drawbacks.
"LA has more distractions," conditioning coach Justin Fortune said. "This time with Christmas, the travel, his 40th birthday back home in GenSan, and the jetlag, the cold weather, there's a lot of distractions that he had to overcome."
While Pacquiao has distractions, Broner has far more pressing issues to contend with.
Broner on Monday has two court appearances in two states for two separate sexual misconduct accusations.
"That's his personal business and it's not going to affect anything to do with next Saturday night," said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, which handles Broner. "He has a great legal team and he has all of that under control. Broner's focus is on Manny Pacquiao."
Broner's media workout on Wednesday did not feature any working out. Broner joked with former NBA player John Salley and comedian Michael Blackson and held court.
"What they was trying to do for me, they don't gotta do for me," said Broner, explaining why he skipped out on the Wild Card. "I have enough star power to say 'hey, I'm doing my own media day.' And everybody showed up. If they do this with another fighter, everybody probably wouldn't have showed up."
Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) said he understands a win over Pacquiao would be a major boost to his career and help rebuild his standing in the sport after going 0-1-1 against Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas in his last two fights.