With everything believed to have been set in place, World Boxing Organization welterweight belt-owner Manny Pacquiao and his team move his training camp to General Santos City in the hope of transforming him to perfect shape for his coming fight with Australian title pretender Jeff Horn.
A day before flying to his hometown down south on Saturday, chief trainer Freddie Roach and his assistants surprisingly reduced an earlier planned 10-round, saying his pupil of 16 years has had enough of what he should achieved in a month since the camp opened a month ago.
“We believe we have already covered all he bases in our build up program. So we decided to cool things over in the coming few days to give Manny a break and at the same time allow us time to review where exactly we are now and find solution where we missed,” Roach explained of the raining team’s move.
Roach added the volume he frequency will be back to heavy middle of next week.
The38-year-old winner of 11 world titles in eight weight divisions only did eight rounds of skirmish with three sparring mates, including three with recently-arrived promising Australian lightweight George Kamposos Jr., only 23, but already the no.9 ranked by the World Boxing Council.
Local boy Leopoldo Doronio, Pacquiao’s dancing partner since sparring started two week ago, received the Fighting Senator’s wrath in two rounds, while Mexican super-lightweight Adrian Young, who joined the team only last Tuesday, boxed his way also for three rounds.
Roach could only absorbed his ward’s newly-reacquired punching power for four rounds instead of the regular nine rounds a day before. Even the routine two rounds each in the heavy bag, double end ball, speed ball and skipping rope were dispensed with.
Doronio though, along with Fil-Indon Sonny Kadiandagho, did not make the GenSan trip when he team left Sunday due to pains in different parts of their bodies due to injuries brought about by the punishments inflicted since sparing begun last month.
“Masasakit na ang buong katawan ko. Ang tadyang ko, di pa gumagaling, Bugbog na bugbog last week pa sa lakas ng suntok natanggap ko,” Doronio complained.
Kartiandagho, on the other hand, complained of pains around his neck as a result of a powerful right cross from Pacquiao during spirited exchanges last Thursday.
Both expressed pride though having contributed to their compatriot’s fine-tuning program. ”Sana nagbunga ng maganda ang resulta ng sparring namin para sa darating na laban ni Boss Manny,” they chorused.
“Considering that we only have a little less than a month left in the program, we need to fall back or turn what we have achieved so far to naught,” Roach pointed out further. “That could be disastrous.We can no longer afford that going into the last stage of reparion.”
Strength and conditioning guru Justin Fortune as well as assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez, Nonoy Neri and Ror “Haplas” Fernandez agreed.
“We all know how Manny is. He always love to please the crowd even when training. He loves it when people applause in his every move. Reason why he always ask tor more than what we scheduled him to do in a day’s work,” Fortune explained.
Some 300 spectators were on hand inside the Elorde Gym, including PBA standout Chris Ross of San Miguel Beer and his Barangay Ginebra counterpart Joe de Vance, applauding and cheering Pacquiao while displaying his wares.
Both confessed seeing the Filipino icon for the first time atop the ring, adding though that they have often play basketball with the Team Mahindra head coach in backyard games.
The Philippine boxing pride and Australia’s hope to win a world championship square off July 2 in Brisbane’s Suncorp Arena is what is dubbed the biggest boxing fight to be held Down Under.
Photos by Wendell Alinea/OSMP