MANNY Pacquiao’s training shifts to high-gear starting Monday with the arrival of chief trainer Freddie Roach, the man who helped turn him from an obscure junior-flyweight into a world champion in a record eight weight divisions.
Roach flies in from Los Angeles Sunday morning to oversee the fighting senator’s training for his coming title fight with Australian contender Jeff Horn a month and two weeks from now.
Roach is coming in with strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune at a time when the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt-owner had gone through his initial two weeks of light preparations.
Pacquiao, 38, and former schoolteacher Horn trade punches on July 2 at the 55,000-capacity Suncorp Arena at the Queensland capital city of Brisbane in a fight billed as the biggest boxing event to be staged Down Under.
“Yes, coach Freddie is definitely arriving to supervise the senator’s training program,” Choi Garcia, the Sarangani lawmaker’s executive director in his Senate office.
Assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez and Roger “Haplas” Fernandez, confirmed the arrival the Hall of Fame trainer, who, actually, will be marking his successful 16-year trainer-boxer relationship with Pacquiao on June 23, a little over a week before the Pacquiao-Horn 12-round scrap.
It was on June 23, 2001 when Pacquiao first fought in the US under the tutelage of Roach as a substitute challenger against South African Lehlo Ledwaba, who he forced to surrender after six rounds to win the International Boxing Federation super-bantamweight championship.
“Okay na, ready na si Manny to go into the tougher stage of preparations,” Buboy said as he and Haplas prepared for their boyhood friend’s week-ending training session on Saturday at the Elorde Gym at the Mall of Asia compound in Pasay City.
“Ibig sabihin, simula sa Lunes, we will be concentrating on improving the gains we have achieved the past two weeks in terms of conditioning, ad ringmanship,” Buboy stressed.
Buboy said after next week, as the Senate sessions go into recess, training will be harder and longer until the team leaves for Brisbane probably two weeks before the bout.
“With coach Freddie here, tigil na muna ang basketball, pagpupuyat at pag-attend sa kung ano-anong social functions, “ he added. “Except, of course, those in relation to his duties as a senator.”