BOXING legend Many Pacquiao is now winding up his preparations with still three weeks before his much-awaited comeback fight against World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight titleholder Jessie Vargas.
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach said his prized pupil comoketed the week with the heaviest load in his training program -- 12 rounds of sparring with a pair of training mates and another 12 rounds of doing the mitts with his decorated chief corner man.
The coming six days will end the eight-division champ’s six-week camp in Manila after which Team Pacquiao moves to Los Angeles in California for another week of applying the finishing touches at Roach's Wild Card Gym before motoring to Las Vegas in Nevada where the ring icon will try to recapture the 147-pound crown in a 12-round showdown on Nov. 5 (Nov. 6 in Manila).
“Everything is set. I think we now have to slow down a little this week to give Manny the needed break,” Roach told People’s Tonight in an interview.
“Manny went 12 rounds of sparring today, six against Joe (Mexican-American Jose Ramirez) and four against a local boy and he ended up still wanting for more.”
The seven-time 'Trainer of the Year was referring to former World Boxing Council and Eurasian Youth welterweight belt-owner Sonny Kabandagho, a substitute sparring partner, who filled in for regular mate Leopoldo Doronio.
Not that Manny’s already reached his peak, but we're heading to that. He'll be there, Roach assured.
“We still have three sparring sessions next week and several rounds more with the mitts which we believe are enough before going through the fine-tuning phase of the camp two weeks from now in L.A.”
“Starting Monday, we'll be looking for things that we missed and filling in the void,” Roach explained. “We’ ll try to improve a little bit here and a little bit there to be sure that we cover all bases down the stretch of our preparation.”
Strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune echoed Roach’s evaluation, saying that everything, including several minor glitches, has been addressed rather quickly.
|There was this mild cold (not flu as several media outfits reported) that struck Manny,” Fortune recalled. “Then the old leg cramps that suddenly recurred plus his responsibilities as senator, which at a certain point somewhat intervened in his training regimen.”
“But thanks to Manny’s superb physical condition, we survived all that. Truth is, under normal circumstances, this final three weeks would've been the toughest and the most crucial. But as we've been saying this camp has been going on smoothly, we don't need to go into that,” Fortune said.
Members of the training team -- assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez, Nonoy Neri and Roger Fernandez -- agreed with Roach and Fortune’s projections.
“Ako, sa tingin ko nasa peak na si Manny two weeks ago pa. Kaya nga na-survive niya lahat ng distraksyon na dumating habang nag-e-ensayo. Pero agree din ako that there's still room for improvement para maka-siguro,” said Fernandez.