IN order to ensure Manny Pacquiao’s undivided attention as he trains for his fight against Chris Algieri, trainer Freddie Roach will ask the boxing superstar to have their training in General Santos City and away from Manila.
Roach obviously wants Pacquiao to keep his focus on training as he defends his World Boxing Organization (WBO) title against the unbeaten Algieri on November 23 at the Cotai Arena in Macau.
In an interview, Roach stressed he will definitely insist that Pacquiao’s training camp be held in Gensan as he is not open to allowing the eight-time world champion to mix training for the Algieri fight with his work with PBA expansion team Kia Motors, where he serves as head coach.
“I am pushing for the training camp be done in General Santos City,” Roach was quoted in one of his interviews.
The 35-year-old Pacquiao also put his name in the coming PBA draft pool, which makes him eligible to play in the coming 40th season of Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
The season-opening Philippine Cup opens on October 19, or at about the same time when Pacquiao and Roach are supposed to be in the thick of their training for his fight against Algieri.
Pacquiao’s longtime confidante Rex ‘Wakee Salud, said he was not surprised to hear Roach demand a training camp away from his basketball team in manila.
“Alam ko talagang i-de-demand ni Roach `yun. At dapat pakinggan ni Manny 'yun kasi mas makakaganda sa training niya na sa GenSan gawin,” said Salud.
Pacquiao’s younger brother Bobby, himself a former boxer, believes Manny should train in GenSan.
“Mas okay nga sa GenSan. Kasi may gym na kami dito eh. Saka unlike dyan sa Manila, ma-traffic. Tapos ang dami pang tao,” said the former lightweight contender.
“Tingin ko mas okay talaga dito (GenSan) mag-training. Yung commitment nga lang niya sa Kia ang problema. Kailangan talaga pag-usapan nila yan,” he added.
Pacquiao normally trains for at least eight weeks for a fight.
But this time, Pacquiao will be forced to squeenze in his job as Kia’s head coach and player while trying to get himself in shape for his first title defense of the WBO belt he wrested from Timothy Bradley.
Other than that, the boxing great is also busy with his other commitments as congressman of Sarangani province and as a television personality.
Kia Motors team manager and Team Pacquiao business adviser Eric Pineda told Spin.ph earlier the Pacquiao camp plans to hold both his boxing and basketball training at Azure, a posh condominium complex partly owned by Columbian Autocar Corporation in Bicutan, Taguig.
“Pag natapos ang gym sa Azure (Taguig) ginagawa na kasi ang facilities at practice court ng Kia, part owner ang Columbian dun eh, dun na ang practice ng team pati si Manny,” said Pineda.
The amiable Kia official doesn’t see anything wrong with the arrangement as he believes in the time management capability of the Sarangani congressman.
“Basta a month before, he will only do his job as a coach. But to play, siguro he will forego that for the time being. Kasi very important ang prepration niya sa boxing kasi laban ito ng Pilipinas,” he added.
Columbian Autocar Corporation president Ginia Domingo insisted the company will always give Pacquiao the needed space if and when his boxing career demands it.
In fact, Domingo bared how the team has already advised commissioner Chito Salud of the team's optons in the time that Pacquiao might not be around for Kia’s games.
“There is a good chance that he will train in Manila for the duration of his training camp para ma-accommodate niya ang lahat ng demands sa schedule niya,” said Domingo.
“Pacquiao’s obligation naman is to the country and of course that should take precedence,” she added. “Actually kinausap na namin si Commissioner Salud regarding that and he was very understanding.”
Pacquiao is expect set to make his league debut as head coach when Kia meets fellow expansion team Blackwater Sports in a preseason game on October 4 in Binan, Laguna.