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Roach says Manny working hard


PhilBoxing.com





Freddie Roach welcomed Manny Pacquiao back to the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles last Tuesday and said nothing has changed with his work ethic. Pacquiao is working as hard as ever in preparation for his WBA welterweight unification title duel with unbeaten Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 20.


“Manny works harder than any fighter I’ve ever worked with,” said Roach. “His work ethic is unbelievable. It’s great to have him back in the gym. I’m excited and it’s fun. We gave it as much time as we could in training so he can be focused for this fight. It’s good for Manny and it’s good for all of us actually.”

Roach said age, jet lag and fighting his third world title fight in 12 months are not factors working against Pacquiao. “Even though he was a little tight on his first day of sparring because of jet lag, he still pushed through with it,” he continued. “We were supposed to go six rounds of sparring and he went eight. We were supposed to do four rounds with the mitts and he went six. He just wants to push, push, push and go, go, go. So he’ll be in shape in a couple of days. He’ll get rid of the jet lag pretty soon. It won’t go away immediately. It’ll take a couple of days to get adjusted and he’ll be fine.”

As soon as Pacquiao started working out, Roach knew he’ll be ready for Thurman. “I’ve been watching a lot of Thurman’s fights on tape, his last eight fights,” he said. “I think the footwork is really a big key, in and out. Manny can’t stay in the pocket too long because the guy does throw back. So the thing is he’ll be in and out really quick, score and get out and he did that with the first sparring partner (Abie Lopez). Manny did that very well. To me, Abie’s almost identical to Thurman. He’s the best sparring partner for Manny because he has that style. He’s one of my fighters. He’s a pretty good fighter and he’ll just get better and better. The confidence alone, just being in the ring with Manny, will get a huge boost. He’s so excited. He’s been waiting for two days. He came early. He’s a good prospect and I expect him to jump up even higher after working with Manny.”


Manny Pacquiao, accompanied by his team and supporters, runs at the picturesque and hilly Griffith Park in Los Angeles Friday despite the rain ahead of his world title bout against Keith Thurman of the United States on July 20 in Las Vegas. Photo by Wendell Alinea.

Lopez and Arnold Gonzalez were the first sparmates brought in for Pacquiao. Marvin Somodio, who used to be Roach’s chief assistant and now works on his own in Los Angeles, said Pacquiao’s performance on his first day of sparring was above par. “Si Abie, may speed at magalaw ang paa,” said Somodio whom Pacquiao invited to join his training team. “Si Gonzalez, may power at magaling na counter-puncher.”

It was a reunion of Team Pacquiao as head trainer Buboy Fernandez got together with Roach, Somodio and strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune. The atmosphere was almost nostalgic. But when it came to getting down to putting in the work, Pacquiao was all business.

Thurman, 30, is a formidable opponent and although he has fought only thrice in the last three years, remains a threat. Pacquiao, 40, isn’t looking beyond Thurman. He knows what he’s up against. Thurman is known as a thinking fighter, a technician who lays traps for his opponents and baits them into dangerous situations. Pacquiao can’t afford to get careless. To win, he has to dictate the terms of engagement and fight his fight, not Thurman’s. Battling an unbeaten opponent is nothing new for Pacquiao whose list of victims includes previously undefeated fighters like Chris Algieri, Tim Bradley, Jorge Solis, Emmanuel Lucero, Nedal Hussein and Seung Kon Chae. His goal is to add Thurman to that list.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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