By EDDIE G. ALINEA
There’s no substitute to early preparations.
With this in mind, eight-division world champion and now Senator Manny Pacquiao plunged into training Tuesday, stilll two months and a fortnight away fom his comeback date with American World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.
Pacquiao went through a day of very light training regimen, consisting of several rounds of early morning roadwork inside the posh Forbes Parks where he resides coupled with a “only to shed off rust” workout at the Elorde Gym in Pasay City.
Bosom friends Buboy Fernandez, himself a newly-elected councilor in his hometown in Bicol, and brother Roger “Haplas” Fernandez oversaw the day’s schedule.
“Pang-alis lang ng taba (only to do away with excess fat),” Buboy said after the affternoon session. “More than four months na kasi since Manny fought last kaya he decided to start feeling how it is to train again.”
Buboy was referring to the former flyweight, super-bantamweight, featherweight, super-featherweight, lightweight, junior-welterweight, welterweight and super-middleweight titlist’s impressive 12-round unanimous beating of Tim Bradley in the final chapter of their trilogy last April 9 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
The Pacquiao-Vargas encounter is set November 5 at the Thomas and Mack Center, also in Las Vegas, where the American belt-owner will be putting his 147-pound crown on the line.
“Nakaka-miss na ang boksing (I’ve missing boxing a lot),” Pacquiao told this writer in a phone interview before playing basketball a few hours following his afternoon session at Elorde where he worked on the double end and speed balls, shadowboxed, skipped rope and limbered for about an hour.
“Pahiyang lang muna (just to get the feeling of how it is to be atop the ring again),” he said. “It’s been quiet a long time since that Bradley fight, so, I thought maybe it’s time for me to start my preparations.”
“My opponent is not a pushover as others believe he is. He’s a reigning champion so I really have to prepare,” the husband of former Sarangani Vice Gov. Jinkee reasoned out. “And the best way to prepare is to start early.”
The ex- Sarangani congressman added though that no regular schedule of training has been drawn out yet. “Wala pa, Everything depends on the schedule of senate sessions as well as hearings in the committee level.”
“Today medyo maaga natapos ang session giving me time to train. Depende talaga. Pangako ko naman sa mga kababayan natin, I’ll be concentrating on my duty as a lawmaker bago and boksing,” he explained.
“It’s all a matter of time management. But of course, my priority is my job as a senator,” he assured. “I feel naman that I can do both jobs naman so there really is nothing to worry about as far as our kababayans are concerned. “
“Once I realize that I can no longer perform the job for which I was elected, then that’s the time for me to stop doing the thing I’ve been doing all my life — boxing,” he asserted.
After easily disposing off Bradley, the Filipino ring icon announced his retirement that elated no end his wife and mother Dionisia, who, among others, have long been calling him to hang up his gloves.
“It looks like Manny hasn’t change. He still possesses the speed and the strength he displayed when be beat Bradley,” two-time champion Gerry Penalosa, who watched his friend do his things, observed.
“Walang nagbago, gutom na gutom pa rin,” he noted. “Sa kinilos nya kanina sa ensayo parang hindi na-layoff. Pafa bang napakabango pa rin sa kanya ang glab kung sumuntok.”