World Boxing Organization welterweight crown-holder Manny Pacquiao would have wanted to surprise his Hall of Fame chief trainer Freddie Roach during their first workout Monday by asking for a 12-round session with the mitts.
Roach, the only seven-time Trainer of the Year honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of America, would have normally started with five or, the most, six rounds. He readily acceded though to his ward of 14 years wish though.
And the most successful boxer-trainer tandem in the business went on doing what Pacquiao wished for with Roach simply saying “good start” after a dozen round of absorbing the title defender’s best shots plus 12 rounds more elsewhere at the Elorde Gym in Pasay City.
All-in-all, the most decorated fighter in the world, completed 24 rounds of sweating it out that day, including the 12 rounds with the heavy bag, double end ad speed balls, ropes and shadow boxing. A 30-minute stamina-building abdominal exercises under the watch of strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune ended the day’s routine.
“No, not really,” Pacquiao told this writer when asked after the relatively two-hour job. “Kilalang kilala na ako ni Freddie para ma-sorpresa ko pa sya. “He wasn’t rven impressed. Kita naman nyo sa mga mata nya at body language nya.”
Pacquiao said Roach and Fortune’s arrival meant his preparation for his title fight with Australian challenger Jeff Horn has started in earnest. “Tuloy-tuloy na ito, the next seven weeks will be very busy na for all of us,” he pointed out. “Hindi naman ang ibig sabihin ay hind tayo naging seryoso the past two weeks.”
“That’s the reason nga why hindi na na-surprise nor na-impress si Freddie. Kasi alam nya na bago pa lang sya dumating dito sa Maynila ay nakahanda na ako sa anumang training regimen he has prepared for me,” Pacquiao explained.
Assistant trainers, brothers Buboy and Roger “Haplas” Fernandez, who have been overseeing the preparations since the camp was set up last May 8, agreed.
“The instructions of coach Freddie were very clear when we pitched camp last month. Give May the best possible training we could so that pagdating nya, handa na si Manny sa anumang ssunod na mabibigat na bahagi ng program,” Buboy disclosed.
“And that’s exactly what we did. At kapag gusto niyang magpahing, binibigyn namin ng rest. Remember, he’s doubling as a public servant, a job na kailangan ig pagtuunan din ng pansin at malaking oras kaya hindi naakadali mag-juggle nt time,” Pacquiao’s boyhood pal said.
The sparring portion of the build up program has also been started Saturday last week with locally-ranked junior-welterweights Leopoldo Doronio and Fil-Indonesian Sonny Katiandagho earning anew the honor of giving Pacquiao the feel of fighting atop the ring until the time when Roach’s choice comes asround.
Doronio and Katiandagho, whose father is a long-time Philippine-based Indonesian, did the job, too, last year when the Pambansang Kamao was preparing for the then 147-pound titleholder Jessie Vargas. He on that confrontation to wrest back the belt he lost to asrch0-rival Floyd Mayweather Jr.in 2015.