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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Manny fiercer when he dislikes foes

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
02 Jul 2019


Manny Pacquiao pounds the mitts held by Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles as he gets ready for Keith Thurman.

Trainer Freddie Roach said the other day Manny Pacquiao is bothered by Keith Thurman’s insulting words and it’s making him work harder in the gym to prepare for a beating when they face off in a 12-round WBA welterweight title unification fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 20.

“I think Manny’s bothered,” said Roach. “It’s good that Manny doesn’t like his opponents because he fights better. I’ve seen that in Manny all the years we’ve been together.” When Pacquiao is piqued by an opponent, it will show in his unforgiving attack in the ring. Thurman disrespected the Bible by promising to “crucify” Pacquiao, ridiculed his “T-Rex like” arms and mocked him when he was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez with his mother crying in 2012.

Roach said the talk of Thurman wagering $10,000 on himself is a lot of hot air. “Odds are going up and down,” he said. “Guys are betting so there is some action in the fight for sure. I believe Thurman betting on himself motivates Manny even more. It’s not really big money. I bet $20,000 for Manny and I don’t gamble. I use betting as playing around.”

Since Pacquiao started sparring in L. A. two weeks ago, he’s gone from eight to 10 rounds. Abraham (Abie) Lopez, 23 and Arnold Gonzalez, 24 were his first sparmates. Then, Gonzalez was replaced by Jessie Roman. Lopez has a record of 10-2-1, with 3 KOs. Gonzalez, a two-time Golden Gloves national amateur champion, turned pro last February and outpointed Stacey Anderson in a four-rounder.

Roman, 28, is a 5-9 superlightweight with a 70-inch reach. His record is 22-4, with 11 KOs. He was brought in because of his similarity with Thurman in terms of fighting style and physique. Lopez is 5-9 with a 69 1/2-inch wingspan while Gonzalez is 5-7. Thurman, 30, is 5-7 with a 69-inch reach. Pacquiao, 40, is 5-5 1/2 with a 67-inch wingspan.

“They’re all very good sparring partners,” said Roach. “They’re young. The boxers whom Manny is fighting are getting younger. The sparmates bring what we need to the table. They fight like our opponent. They’ve studied tapes on Thurman and do the best they can to be like him.”

Last Saturday, Pacquiao went five rounds each with Lopez and Roman. Chief trainer Buboy Fernandez was absent for the workout as he left for Manila last Friday to attend to an important matter but reported back to the Wild Card Gym yesterday. Roach was also not present. He accompanied one of his fighters to Texas for a weekend bout. Supervising Pacquiao’s session were strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune and assistant trainers Nonoy Neri and Marvin Somodio.

According to Los Angeles sports photographer Jhay Otamias, Pacquiao said he was focused on improving his footwork in preparation for a tactical duel with Thurman. “Manny told me he’s 80 to 90 percent in condition with two more weeks to go,” said Otamias.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said Pacquiao had an “unbelievable” workout last Saturday. “He was animated and excited,” said Gibbons. “Jayar Inson, one of three Filipinos fighting in the undercard, sparred and Manny was giving instructions. This is the best Manny I’ve seen in years. He’s extremely motivated. I don’t see Thurman beating the Senator.”


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