JETLAGGED and all, Freddie Roach lost no time getting back to work by training boxing star Manny Pacquiao right away hours after arriving in the country Thursday.
Amidst all the fanfare that surrounded the first NBA preseason game in the country, the Hall of Fame trainer quietly slipped into town and immediately proceeded to General Santos City where the former eight-time world champion currently holds training camp for his November 24 ring comeback against dangerous Brandon Rios.
Roach came along with Liam Vaughan, a British junior middleweight fighter who will be one of the Pacman’s sparring partners along with Fredrick Lawson of Ghana.
The 53-year-old Roach had Pacquiao spar for six rounds behind closed doors, according to two-time world champion Gerry Penalosa, who was in General Santos City but returned to Manila late Thursday night.
Penalosa said Roach observed Pacquiao has yet to get his timing and rhythm right, although the power in his punches is still there.
Roach came over a few days late after failing to get a flight out of Florida where he manned the corner for Miguel Cotto’s light-middleweight fight against Delvin Rodriguez last Saturday (Sunday Manila time). Cotto won inside three rounds.
The renowned American trainer will have exactly six weeks to help prepare the Filipino ring icon get into shape for his much awaited return almost a year after dropping a stunning sixth-round knockout at the hands of Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez.