source: Eddie Alinea | PhilBoxing.com
With the rust shaken off and his speed, strength and power partially recovered, World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao drives to Baguio City for the more serious phase of his preparation for the defense of his 147-pound belt against long-time arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez.
“We’ll proceed outright to high-altitude training and improve on what we gained in the first two weeks of training here in Manila,” Pacquiao who is facing the 38-year-old Marquez on November 12 (Nov. 13 in Manila) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas told this writer following a one and-a-half-hour training session Friday afternoon at the MP Tower Gym (formerly L&M Gym) he own in Sampaloc, Manila.
“That’s precisely the reason why I decided to start my build up program two weeks earlier than planned. To shake off the rust from being inactive for four months since my last fight (against Shane Mosley last May) and regain the feeling of what it is again to be on top the ring,” he said in Tagalog.
“And I think we’ve succeeded attaining our purpose. Not only had I gotten back the feel of the ring, I also somewhat recovered the speed in my hands and feet, my strength and punching power,” the “Pacman” added.
“Meaning, puede na kaming magsimula ng mabigat na ensayo. Di kapareho noon na sa start ng training, saka pa lang magpapa-kondisyon. Saka pa lang aalisin ang kalawang. Saka pa lang ibabalik ang lakas, bilis at physical condition. Ngayon medyo nandoon na lahat , “ he explained. “In Baguio and with Freddie (chief trainer Freddie Roach) supervising the program, we’ll just be improving and polishing what we have accomplished and when we get to LA (Los Angeles) maintaining na lang,” he said.
Without Roach, who will only be arriving tomorrow, assistant trainers and Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri has been overseeing the pound-for-pound king’s Manila training. Fernandez, who did the mitts with the eight-division champ, has, in fact, felt how strong Pacquiao’s punches are saying: “Sobra lakas ng suntok ngayon kahit nag-umpisa pa lang kami. Yumayanig ang kartawan at nanakit and buong katawan ko kahit sa kamayh alang ako tinatamaan.”
“Maganda nga at nagsimula nang ang training. Na-kondisyon agad ang katawan at pagiisip ni Manny. At least pagdating sa Baguio seryoso agad ang training at din a mangangapa pa,” Fernandez, Pacman’s boyhood friend in General Santos City said.
“Noon kasing mga naunang laban, pagdatring sa Baguio saka pa magde-decide kung ano ang magiging course ng training program. Ngayon alam na ni Manny kung paano patatakbuhin ang programa at sasabihin na lang niya kay Freddie,” Fernandez, a motocross enthusiast when not training Pacquiao, said.
“Mas magiging madali ngayon kasi wala ng yung mga problema na noong una ay nilulutas muna bago mag-umpisa ang serious training, ‘Neri, who doubles up as Pacquiao’s dietician, said by way of agreeing to Fernandez’s observation.
Pacquiao actually keyed off his training a week before the four-city press tour to promote the fight, a completion of what is expected a historic trilogy. He resumed working out at the Jupiter Gym in Makati City before transferring to the MP Tower Gym Thursday last week. The MP Tower is located at the site where the former L&M Gym then co-owned by boxing impresarios Moy Lainez and Lito Mondejar along Paquita St. in Sampaloc District which Pacquiao bought.
Pacquiao transformed the L&M Gym, then a place several Philippine and World champions like Erbito Salavarria, Rolando Bohol, Morris East and Luisito Espinosa, to mention a few, called home, into a four-storey, 36-room apartment catering to provincial students enrolled in educational institutions within the university belt.