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23 years of fighting and still counting


PhilBoxing.com





Twenty-three years? That’s crazy!


Thus exclaimed Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune when informed that the Filipino fighting senator is in his 23rd year as a prizefighter.

And that the former World Boxing Organization 147-pound belt-owner will, in fact, be celebrating the occasion when he fights Argentine World Boxing Association welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse on July 15 (July 14 in the US) in Kuala Lumpur.

“Crazy, indeed, but amazing how a guy his size lasts that long in a very physical sport like boxing,” Fortune said. “If that’s not an incredible display of longevity, I don’t know what is.”

“Well, that makes us members of the training team to push harder to make Manny in tip-top fighting shape for him to win this fight,” Fortune said smiling. “If we want to celebrate, we might as well do it on a winning note.”

“It’s hard to commemorate a great, occasion crying,” he said jestingly. “We don’t intend to give him a present like that. That’s for sure because we’ll be preparing Manny not to lose.”

“Manny loves boxing and he enjoys practicing the sport,” Pacquiao’s childhood pal and now chief trainer Buboy Fernandez butted in upon hearing the discussion between Fortune and this writer during training session Tuesday at the Elorde Gym in Pasay City.

“Just look at him train. Very spirited, di ba?” Buboy noted, pointing to his boss who was working on the rope following a grueling more than an hour rounds with the mitts, heavy bag, double end and speed balls.

And to think that Pacquiao, before proceeding to the gym, still had to attend the Senate session early in the day which he’s been doing since Congress resumed following a month recess.

“At tumakbo pa yan kaninang madaling araw,” assistant trainers Nony Neri and Roger “Haplas” Fernandez chorused.

“So, 23 years na. Ganoon katagal na rin kaming magkasama sa boksing,” he reminisced. “At kahit minsan, hindi ko sa nakitang napagod, narinig nag-reklamo kahit ilang oras ang ensayo. Malimit nga, tapos na ensayo, humihingi pa additional rounds.”

“Justin is right,” Buboy said “Kailangan naming bigyan si Manny ng magandang regalo sa kanyang ika-23 kaarawan sa boksing at wala ng gaganda regalong maibibigay sa kanya kundi yung tamang preparasyon para siya manalo.

Photo: Manny Pacquiao hits the mitts with trainer Buboy Fernandez at the Elorde Gym on Tuesday, May 22 in preparation for his fight against WBA world welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo by Wendell Alinea.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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