JUST a week of training under chief trainer Freddie Roach has already done wonders for Manny Pacquiao as the WBO welterweight champ moves closer to top shape with a month left before battling Australian challenger Jeff Horn in Brisbane on July 2.
After dancing for eight rounds on Tuesday against three sparring partners, including newly-arrived Mexican super-lightweight Adrian Young, Roach proclaimed his prized student of 16 years has erased all doubts expressed by detractors on the eight-division champ’s capability to reach fighting form.
“I’m not saying Manny's already sharp as we want him to on the day of the fight, but what I can say is that we still have one month to go to prepare,” Roach said at the end of a three-hour session at the Elorde sweat shop inside the Mall of Asia commercial complex.
“We’ll be in that very ideal situation from today until we close the camp before the fight,” asserted the 57-year-old boxing guru, who arrived last May 22 with conditioning coach Justin Fortune to supervise the training chores with Filipino assistants Buboy Fernandez, Nonoy Neri and Roer “Haplas” Fernandez.
However, there’s no definite decision yet on whether to move the camp to Pacquiao’s own Pacman Gym in General Santos City next week when Congress will go on recess.
“Everything is still hanging in the air. Manny, I understand, is still weighing things up on how things are in Mindanao because of the declaration of Martial Law,” Roach said. “Whatever, our preparation will continue.”
Pacquiao sparred two rounds with local Orient Pacific campaigner Leopoldo Doronio, three with Fil-Indon Sonny Kartiandagho and another three with Young, who flew in Monday with father-coach Gregorio.
That raised Pacquiao’s output to 31 rounds in five sparring days, which according to the Hall of Fame trainer represents a higher rate than the training team’s target of 90 to 100 rounds of sparring for the entire camp.
“I will not say exactly where we are now, but I believe we are, this early, between 65 percent to 75 percent or better of what we want to come the day we climb the ring,” Roach assessed. “Yes, we’re going too fast than the plan, especially when we saw his sluggish performance in training upon our arrival a week ago. Besides, we knew he’s been very busy with his job as a senator.”
“But he keeps on asking for more on whatever we’ve been doing,” he added. “Well, that’s Manny for you. He knows what he can do and what he can’t. He can be sloppy at times, but he can be at his best the next moment. I have handled so many fighters in my many years as a trainer, most of them became world champions and frankly speaking, Manny has the best work ethic.”