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Justin says Manny ready anytime


PhilBoxing.com



Justin Fortune.
Strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune said yesterday whenever super WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao decides to fight again, he’ll be fit and ready because “he is who he is.”

There is talk that Pacquiao could be back in the ring before the year ends although nothing is certain. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is spinning yarn that Pacquiao could battle WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford in a unification showdown in Bahrain but boxing insiders are laughing it off. Saudi Arabia has been mentioned as a possible fight site with royal backing and Mikey Garcia seems to be the front-runner as Pacquiao’s opponent.

Fortune, who has worked with Pacquiao since 2003, said he’s just waiting for a call when the time comes to start training. “Manny stays in shape,” Fortune said in a phone call from his Los Angeles home. “He can’t stay still, he’ll do something to keep fit, like what he’s doing in lockdown. I know he’s working out every day, banging the heavy bag, skipping rope, running on the treadmill, doing drills. If he comes back to fight in November, maybe we’ll do a little longer camp because he hasn’t fought since July last year. Just a little adjustment, maybe an extra week or two.”

Fortune said the pandemic has hit boxing hard. “Boxing is back in Las Vegas but without an audience and I understand fighters are getting reduced paychecks,” he said. “It’s just too bad that promoters have fighters over the barrel. Let’s face it, fighters need to fight, it’s how they live. But right now, fights are scarce so they have no choice.”

Fighting without an audience will be a difficult adjustment, he said. “The audience inspires you to get up when you’re down, to dig deep when you need to,” he said. “It’s because of the audience that fighters go out there raring to fight. I’ve seen many fighters on the brink of getting knocked out, coming back because the fans are cheering them on. It’ll be a different atmosphere without an audience.”

Fortune said he’s not sure if boxing will be back in California this year. “We’re supposed to be preparing for a second wave in this pandemic,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. The goalposts keep changing. In Vegas, they’ve opened up a few casinos and by July 4, all casinos will be open. The good thing about this lockdown is I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my wife and our twins at home.”

Fortune said his Los Angeles gym has been closed for at least six weeks with no clear signal of when government will allow it to reopen. “Things are phenomenally bad,” he said. “It’s absolute madness in the streets. I sense something sinister behind all of this. It’s like a plan for the total destruction of the world economy. I’m 54, I’ve got a family and I need to defend my home and property. The other day, there was crazy looting and the bike store across the street from my gym, maybe 15 feet away, was barged into. The store had shutters but in five minutes, they were gone. A mob of about 40 broke in. Some of them started to come close to my gym so I went out with a shotgun and a .45. They went away. That’s how ridiculous it is right now. We can’t let this go on, we can’t exist without law and order. The US is a First World country with the best medical facilities but Third World countries look like they're doing a better job fighting the virus. It’s hard to imagine and you don't know what to believe. We’re supposed to be enjoying summer, it’s hot as blazes in L. A. but when will this madness end? Hopefully, we’re back to normal soon.”


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


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