MANILA – Manny Pacquiao hardly broke a sweat during his training session. But you can see the determined look in the face of the Filipino pride.
One of his trainers commented that Pacquiao is having a lot of fun in most of his sessions. This could mean danger for Chris Algieri. Because when Manny Pacquiao is having fun, he is dangerous.
“If you have an athlete who is content and happy and trains hard, then you have an excellent athlete,” explains Pacquiao’s strength coach Justin Fortune. “If you’re playing your sport and you’re fucking miserable, you’ll never get that response out of an athlete.”
On Monday, Pacquiao was in cloud nine after working out for four rounds on the punching bag and 12 rounds on the punch mitts with head trainer Freddie Roach.
For his end, Fortune was with the boxing champ two weeks prior to Roach taking helm. He said that Pacquiao is about 70 percent prepared and only three pounds away from the required 144-pound weight. The challenge is not about keeping him in shape, but to avoid overtraining.
“If he misses a meal, he’s underweight,” says Fortune. “He’s nuts, he does way too much. If you overtrain, you’re fucked for like 2-3 weeks. It’s just better to be safe and pull it back and leave it for the fight.”
The fight, which is set to take place at the weight of 144 pounds, will allow Pacquiao to test the waters at lower weights. If Pacquaio is comfortable, then he will be moved back to 140 pounds.
Pacquiao has not won any knockouts in the last five years. His last shot at junior welterweight was in 2009 against Ricky Hatton.
“[WBC/WBA junior welterweight titleholder] Danny Garcia would be a good fight but now he’s talking about going to 147. There’s a lot of competition in the 140-pound division, a lot of them are going to 147 because they want to fight Manny for the bigger money but as soon as Manny goes to 140 all of those will come back down,” said Fortune.
With regard to Pacquaio as a player-coach for the Kia Sorentos team in the Philippine Basketball Association, his handlers say that the cardiovascular training that the boxing icon gets may account for why he is ahead of schedule with training.
“It’s the perfect plyometric leg workout; I have no problem with it at all,” says Fortune.
He added that they were able to reach an agreement to allow Pacquiao to play limited minutes in his team’s season-opener on Sunday against Blackwater Elite.
After, Roach said that Pacquiao needs to sit out the next games of the team.
“He told me he’s going to go into the game, make an appearance and coach most of the game. As long as that’s the way it is, I told him he can do that,” says Roach. “As far ahead of schedule as he is, he could use the day off.”
He added, “He will play basketball this Saturday, he said he won’t even break a sweat. He says he’ll do it for the audience and then coach the game. After that there will be no more basketball on that level, but he’ll stop playing basketball at his house 4 weeks before the fight.”
Will Pacquaio be allowed to participate from the bench for the team’s upcoming games?
“If it doesn’t interfere with training, yeah. But traveling all that way to Manila [two hours by flight] is maybe too much wear and tear. We haven’t talked about that yet and that may be a touchy situation but probably no,” said Roach.
On the other hand, Fortune said that Pacquiao will not jeopardize a $20 million fight.
“Manny’s a grown man, he’ll do what he wants to do. He knows when to play it safe and when not to. He won’t take unnecessary risks,” says Fortune.