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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Target practice for Manny

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
05 Jun 2018



Australian conditioning coach Justin Fortune said recently his goal for Manny Pacquiao in sparring to get ready for WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina is precision punching, not brawling, and he’ll keep the rounds to a minimum to preserve the Filipino icon for the big fight at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 15.

“In sparring, the objective is targeting,” said Fortune. “That’s why we brought in George Kambosos, an undefeated Australian lightweight, to spar with Manny. We’re trying to get George in Manny’s undercard in K. L. but if that can’t happen, George will take a fight in the US two weeks later so he’s getting ready, too. We thought of bringing over Sergey Lipinets, a Kazakh lightweight (13-1, 10 KOs) but he likes to go to war in sparring so he’s not the kind of sparmate we want.”

Fortune said he’s confident Pacquiao will score a knockout over Matthysse even if he hasn’t stopped an opponent since Miguel Cotto in 2009. “Matthysse has a weak chin,” said Fortune. “He took the 10-count in losing to (Viktor) Postol and I don’t think Postol is a heavy puncher with only 12 KOs in 28 wins at that stage. We know Matthysse will be well-prepared for the fight so it’s important that Manny is in the best condition of his life.”

Fortune said Matthysse’s style is easy to read. “He’s aggressive, a brawler,” said Fortune. “He’s not changing his style overnight. But Matthysse did show some boxing skills in outpointing Ruslan (Provodnikov). That fight was an all-out war with both fighters banging each other so Matthysse made an adjustment. Against Manny who’s quicker and smarter than Ruslan, Matthysse will fight the way he usually does. Besides, even if Matthysse decides to box, there’s no way he can outbox Manny. We expect Matthysse to try to pressure Manny, push him to the corners or along the ropes. He'll fight dirty like (Jeff) Horn.”

Fortune said he’s excited to bring along his wife Tamara Frapasella for the fight in K. L. She’ll fly in from Los Angeles and stay for five days. Frapasella is an American actress and fashion model of Italian descent. Fortune met her when she went to his Los Angeles gym to train for a celebrity boxing match with Kim Kardashian in 2009. Fortune said Tamara won handily in the bout that was featured on the TV show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” Last year, Tamara gave birth to twins Crayden and Sophia. “I’m 52 and it’s wonderful to be a father to nine-month-old twins,” said Fortune. “I’m blessed.” Tamara is now more active in movies as a producer.

Fortune said there’s no pressing reason for Pacquiao to consider retiring at age 39. “I don’t think there’s anyone in his division who’s faster with their hands and feet even if we concede that Manny has slowed down a few notches,” he said. “He’s still a high-caliber fighter. At the moment, the lightweight and welterweight divisions are the most exciting in boxing. It’s difficult to retire if you’re still capable of winning big fights and there are offers of multi-million dollar contracts. Two of the fighters out there I’m impressed with are superfeatherweight Tevin Farmer and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence.”

Fortune said he might relocate his Los Angeles gym to Denver, Colorado or Austin, Texas. “We’ve been very successful with our gym that’s been around for 10 years but developers now want to build a complex and the construction could start by next year,” he said. “If we relocate, we’re thinking of Denver or Austin either of which will be good places to raise our kids and they’re big on boxing, too.”

Photo: Manny Pacquiao spars in General Santos City ahead of his title fight against WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15. Photo by Wendell Alinea.


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