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PACQUIAO LOOKS TO RECOVER OLD FORM


PhilBoxing.com




MANILA (PNA) --After two weeks of routine build-up that concentrated on body-conditioning, Manny Pacquiao looked to have almost recovered the form he needed to regain entering the most crucial fortnight of his five-week training camp in Los Angeles.

With his fourth fight against Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez only four weeks away and the body pains have slowly but surely subsided and his condition nearing it's peak performance, it’s now time for the eight-division world champion and his team to shift to retracing the best years in his career when he was beating the likes of David Diaz, Oscar DeLa Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto black and blue with his quickness and razor-sharp punches.

“Almost complete na ang recovery portion ng training at kailangan nang harapin kung anong strategy ang gagamitin to offset what Marquez does best, which is counter-punching,” Pacquiao, who battles Marquez anew on December 8 (December 9 in Manila) said Monday after another whole day on the road that saw him run along side NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller at the Griffith Park and doing the mitts in the gym.

“I really feel good na after two weeks here in LA. I feel I can do everything now going into the next two weeks when we expect to bring my body back to where I was three or four years ago,” Pacquiao added. “And this is how to pack more power to my fist and add more speed to my feet, which we believe will be crucial in this fight.”

Chief trainer Freddie Roach, actually, had the same idea when he told People’s Journal before pitching the LA camp that the last two weeks at the Wild Card sweat shop will sort of make or break what his pupil must do atop the ring comes December 8 at the MGM Grand.

“Two weeks here at LA will be devoted to continuing what Manny started in General Santos (where Pacquiao begun his preparations). The next two weeks will be focused on correcting the mistakes in Manny’s failure to do what we intended to do the last here times.” Roach said upon Pacquiao’s arrival at the Vine Street gym at the heart of Hollywood.

Although Pacquiao and his team intend to bring him back the days when he was still 24 or 25 years old, turning the clock back to when he was in his 28th summer looks enough for him to score more convincingly than the split and majority decisions he fashioned out over “El Dinamita” in the second and third fights of their trilogy.

It was at this age when, four years ago, he destroyed and sent legendary DeLa Hoya to retirement in a bloody 8th round technical knockout victory in the same MGM Grand Arena where he fought his first fight as a welterweight from lightweight.

It was also December 8, 2008 when Pacquiao gave the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games gold medalist a lot to think about, beating and battering DeLa Hoya around the ring for 24 minutes non-stop in a display of tremendous firepower and speed and forcing his rival not to answer the bell signaling the start of the ninth frame. Pacquiao’s domination was so shocking, coming in the hands of a relatively shorter and smaller fighter who only nine months before that showdown had been fighting as a 130-pounder.

DeLa Hoya, who was then 35, was so dominated he landed in a hospital after the fight. He won just one round in one of the three ringside scorecards and none in h other two judges.

“Yun ang target naming mai-balik para sa laban na ito,” Pacquiao said. “Ang lakas at ang bilis ko noon, no? Kaya nating ibalik ang araw na yun at ito ang gagawin namin this coming weeks until we move to Las Vegas for the final week of preparations.”

Even when he was 29 the following year, Pacquiao remained devastating, knocking out Hatton in only two rounds and Miguel Cotto in 12 before, demolishing, too, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito, both via unanimous decision triumphs.

Pacquiao at 33, could really not as fast as he used to, but Marquez, at 39, could also not be as a effective counter-puncher as when he faced he “Pacman” the last three times that it is doubted whether he can survive the Filipino’s blinding speed and power-punching he has been displaying in the camp.

Both Pacquiao and Marquez were very vocal in their plans to knock each other out to erase the doubts that have remained existing the past nine years since they fought first in 2004. The Mexican, in fact, has been traveling around the world, announcing he won all those three fights.

Photo: Pacquiao (L) tags long time sparring partner Ray Beltran during their sparring session last Tuesday at the Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles. Photo by Mike Quedilla.



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


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