ROACH EXPECTED TO ARRIVE TODAY
By Eddie Alinea
Thu, 10 Oct 2013
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Manny Pacquiao’s Hall of Fame chief trainer Freddie Roach will be arriving October 10 to see how far his prized student’s four-week training camp here has gone and what will be his plans to improve on the gains so far achieved and correct what he still lacks in preparations for the upcoming fight with American Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios.
Roach is flying in at dawn on board a Philippine Airlines flight from Los Angeles and will take the next connecting flight to this city, in time, probably to see Pacquiao spar with Ghanian light-middleweight Fredrick Lawson and Filipino Dan Nazareno.
What remained uncertain until yesterday was when conditioning coach Justin Fortune will be rejoining Team Pacquiao. Fortune was scheduled to fly in last Sunday yet but up to the last hour of workout session yesterday hasn’t showed up.
Although in Pacquiao’s previous outings, sparring normally started in his presence, that aspect of preparations opened as early as last week on the insistence himself the Fighter of the Decade or three weeks after pitching camp at the newly-opened Pacman Wild Card Gym at the heart of the city.
“Coach Freddie would be surprised on the gains Manny has accomplished he started preparations here lasts month,” assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez, who along with Nonoy Neri, Roger “Haplas” Fernandez and the rest of the training staff, have been overseeing the build-up program, boasted yesterday.
Fernandez, in fact, last Monday, has pronounced Pacquiao 85 percent ready for his first fight since losing twice in 2012 set November 24 in Macau.
Pacquiao had actually gone no less than 320 rounds of gym activities that included an average 12 rounds doing mitts with Fernandez, Neri and lately Jonathan Penalosa daily since September 16.
Gym session included shadow boxing, working on heavy bags, double end and speed balls, skipping ropes and limbering up exercises. Sparring started a little less than two weeks ago with local boy Marlon Alta doing the honor in lieu of Korean Min Wook-kim who failed to honor his commitment.
Lawson, the IBF international light-welterweight titleholder who arrived two Sundays ago, joined Alta Thursday last week, while Nazareno took over Alta’s place lasts Tuesday after the local welterweight quit unable to survive Pacquiao’s power-punching.
Since sparring begun, the only man in the universe to be crowned the world flyweight, super-fly, bantamweight, super-bantam, super-featherweight, lightweight, light-welterweight and welterweight champion, has so far logged 18 rounds of exchanging punches, eight against Alta, seven against Lawson and three against Nazareno.
Besides gym activities, Pacquiao has also been punishing himself on the road with regular sprints and long distance running at the Acharon Sports Complex oval.
Also last week, he also started body conditioning exercises in isometrics under the watchful eyes of Neri. Last Monday, he also began the more punishing plyometrics to strengthen his legs and shoulder.
Roach is expected to be bringing along a pair of sparring partners – one of whom, as earlier reports had it, is British light-middleweight Liam Vaughan – who will join Lawson and Nazareno in the sparring team.
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