Philippines

Trainers Give Pacquiao High Marks

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Trainers Give Pacquiao High Marks

GENERAL SANTOS CITY–With just less than three weeks left before his
defining fight with WBA champion Lucas Matthysse, Manny Pacquiao’s
handlers were pleased with the work ethic shown by the 39-year-old
legend.

Just moments after Pacquiao displayed his old and fiery form on
Tuesday, staggering sparring partner Gherich Chavez with a single
solid straight to the jaw, chief trainer Buboy Fernandez and strength
and conditioning coach Justin Fortune gave high marks for their
champion.

Pacquiao had to pause for 10 seconds to give Chavez a respite, as old
timers recalled memories of the Filipino’s single knockout punch that
took the lights out of Emmanuel Lucero in 2003 in Los Angeles.

“I would say he is 85 already percent ready and we don’t want him to
peak too soon,” said Fernandez, who is leaving no stone unturned in
their preparation for “Fight of Champions,” the biggest boxing event
in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia slated on July 15 at the Axiata Arena.

Fortune concurred with Fernandez. “He is right there where we want him
to be right now,” said the Australian coach who is seeing a resurgent
spirit of the only boxer in history who has won eight world titles in
eight different divisions.

Pacquiao challenged himself Monday morning, testing himself to the
limit by climbing the steepest route in Maasim, Sarangani province.
“It’s a sign that Manny is trying to ask himself questions whether he
still has it or not. That talks a lot about his warrior spirit,” said
Fortune.

Meanwhile, Matthysse is also doing all he can to match whatever
firepower Pacquiao will be bringing to battle. Under the tutelage of
Joel Diaz in Indio, California, Matthysse promised to keep his belt at
all costs.

Matthysse’s promoter Oscar Dela Hoya also dispelled rumors that the
fight might be cancelled due to financial problems as alleged by
Pacquiao’s long-time and former promoter Bob Arum of rival Top Rank
Promotions.

“I feel very, very confident the fight is going to happen, let’s put
it that way,” said Dela Hoya in an interview with boxing scribe Steve
Kim.

Matthysse is planning to arrive in Kuala Lumpur ahead of everyone to
acclimatize for 10 days prior to the match.

“I might be there for about ten days, I want to go out there and help
Manny promote and do my rounds in Malaysia. I have my plane tickets
already. So we’re set to go, we have a fight,” De La Hoya insisted.(pr)

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