By Eddie G. Alinea
MANILA, Philippines (Oct. 09, 2011) – After completing a three-week high altitude training in Baguio City and a little more than a month before his trilogy with Juan Manuel Marquez, Filipino World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao pronounced himself ready to rumble.
“I can fight next week,” the 32-year-old Pacquiao declared last Friday as he wrapped up his preparation at the Shape Up boxing gym at Baguio home Cooyeesan Hotel. “Kulang pa sa sparring at takbo, pero mapupunuan na ‘yun pagdating namin sa L.A.,” he said. “One more week of training and I feel I am ready to face him (Marquez) and beat him again, this time convincingly.”
“I really feel good following our three-week stay here. Maganda ang naging resulta ng training despite missing some of the scheduled road workout because of typhoons,” he assessed.
Listening intently as he made his prediction were chief trainer Freddie Roach and strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza as they unanimously nodded in approval.
“Maybe not in a week’s time. There’s plenty of time left in or build up program, but yes, I believe him if he says he’ll ready to mix it up soon,” Roach said. “Certainly, we’ve lineup a tough sparring sessions for him in L.A.”
Roach said Mexican 140-pound challenger Roger “Speedy” Gonzales and Miguel Diaz plus two others are waiting at his Wild Card Gym to help the pound-for-pound king in his needs to completely feel his way atop the ring.
The four-time ‘trainer of the year’ honoree ruled out David Rodela, a long time Pacquiao sparring mate, who suffered a knockout loss in his last fight two weeks ago.
“Rodela’s out. I feel bad about it because he’s such a good sparring partner as he had shown in our previous preparations. But it”s different now that he wasds knocked out,” he said. “It’s really very hard for a fighter to suffer a stoppage.”
“We are targeting from 120 to 150 rounds of sparring to make Manny completely ready for the fight,” he bared. “After Baguio, he only has logged some 40 to 50 rounds although think, too, we don’t need that much.”
“Much as I would want him to recover immediately from that traumatic experience, fighting, even in sparring, won’t do it,” he reasoned out. “He’ll be a big loss, really.”
Ariza, for his part, said everything has been set in place in the Baguio leg of preparations, agreeing with the eight-division champion that several more rounds of sparring and miles of running should make Pacquiao really fit to fight.
Both Roach and Ariza agreed that basketball, which their ward used as substitute for missing roadwork several times due to rains that struck the city almost daily, wasn’t sufficient to make up for the loss.
Ariza, in fact, has suggested swimming is the better substitute, but Pacquiao refused. He played his second love nightly right after his grueling training schedule helping his Pambansang Kamao team win the Pacquiao Cup tournament.
Pacquiao and his team, including Roach and Ariza and assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri, flew to Los Angeles where he is to resume preparation at the Roach-owned Wild Card Gym in downtown Hollywood.
Pacquiao actually ended up his four-week Philippine side of preparation last Saturday at the MP Tower gym (formerly L&M Gym, which he bought and transformed into a four-storey structure in front of Central Market) in Sampaloc. (PNA)