Monday, September 12, 2011

Shaping up Manny Pacquiao into a welterweight frame

source: Igor Frank |

“I saw Manny Pacquiao last week in Los Angeles,” exclaimed Big Steve during our Sunday morning Java at Starbucks on Western Avenue:” He is no welterweight. He looked so little. He looked much smaller than lightweight champion, Brandon Rios. How do they get him into shape to fight as a welterweight?”

That is a very good question for strength and conditioning Guru, Alex Ariza who is responsible for getting Manny into shape to fight as a welterweight. For more detailed information Alex Ariza started a blog to outline all the training he does with a pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao.

In case you just fell off the planet and do not know, Manny PacMan Pacquiao is scheduled to face his bitter rival, Juan Manuel Marquez for the third time on November 12th, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The contest for Manny’s WBO welterweight championship was contracted to be fought at 144 pounds weight limit.

Strength and conditioning coach was on hand in Los Angeles on Wednesday to answer all the media questions about shaping up Manny Pacquiao.

“Be honest,” requested Boxing Scene veteran reporter, Ernest Gabion:” How hard is it to keep Manny at welterweight?”

“It’s hard. It’s very hard,” replied Ariza:” He just doesn’t carry that kind of frame.”

Most fighters kill themselves going down in weight for the fight, supposedly to gain strength advantage. On the other hand Manny Pacquiao ate his way all the way to the top of welterweight division and the whole boxing universe.

“Freddie and I believe that fighters should fight at the weight where they feel the strongest,” continued Ariza who turned strength and conditioning into a science:” You don’t want a bigger guy and reduce him to nothing where he is weaker and more susceptible to getting injured. We like to build our fighter and make them bigger and stronger.”

A good example comes to mind where several years ago weight drained lightweight Amir Khan got knocked out by Breidis Prescott. Following his devastating loss Amir came to Hollywood, hired Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza, moved up in weight and doesn’t seem to have chin problems at the moment.

Of course, metamorphosis of Manny Pacquiao from super bantamweight all the way to light middleweight championship is a lot more incredible but the philosophy is still the same.

“ I think once his body started agreeing with him a little more and we didn’t have the problem with ailments,” continued Ariza:” An we were able to trouble shoot a lot of the problems that he had during Marquez and Barrera fights, he’s been able to take his game to the next level. He trains harder and he just feels better. His diet is a lot different now and we are focusing more on recovery as in before he used to like to train seven days a week.”

As far as a task at hand, a third installment of historic trilogy between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez to be fought at 144 pounds weight limit, Ariza stated:” At the end of the day Manny is going to weigh in 147,146. Marquez is going to weigh in at 147,146. It’s up to Marquez what’s he wants to weigh in. Nobody says he has to come in at 144. He can come in at 138 if he wants to.”

Campaigning as a lightweight champion in recent years Marquez is going to have to come up two weight divisions to face a two fisted fury that is Manny Pacquiao today.

“I suspect that Manny has a game plan in his head,” said Ariza:’ And that is to take him out. I think it’s important to execute your game plan and dominating a fighter the way you want to dominate him. I think Manny is going to show his strength and what a complete fighter he is now as opposed to back then.”

Some of the old school fighters like Floyd Mayweather refuse to accept the benefits of strength and conditioning as a separate entity in preparation for the fight, but if you look around the world of sweet science, it is here to stay.

“What we are seeing are a lot of those MMA guys making good competitive fights because of their conditioning,” concluded Ariza:” You take a good fighter and you add that athletic ability to him and you end up with a great fighter. Look what happened to Manny.”