Handlers of Manny Pacquiao said Wednesday that the Filipino fighting senator will reach razor sharp fighting form in two to three weeks time.
The reason, they added, why Pacquiao can afford to skip his training session on Tuesday to go to Manila and preside over the opening day of the Second Conference of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) held at the Araneta Coliseum that day.
MPBL is a grassroots-oriented project Pacquiao initiated in his effort to help discover untapped basketball talents from the countryside.
“Manny’s already in shape after almost a month since we opened his training camp while the Senate was in recess the whole month last month,” assistant trainer Nonoy Neri said in a long distance call from General Santos City.
Neri is a member of the training team, formed by the eight-division champion himself to prepare him for his coming fight with World Boxing Association welterweight belt-owner Lucas Matthysse set July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The team is headed by the ring icon’s boyhood friend Buboy Fernandez, now his chief trainer, and includes American strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune, Roger “Haplas” Fernandez, Nonito “Dodong” Donaire Sr., Ting Ariosa and Jonathan Penalosa.
“No, hindi naman ganoon. Hindi pagod si Manny at hindi din niya ina-underestimate si Mathhysse kaya huminto siya sa ensayo gaya ng iniisip ng iba,” Neri pointed out in allaying concerns that the fighter-turned lawmaker has spent himself in training or underestimating the WBA 147-pound titlist.
“Sa totoo lang, nasa kondisyon na si Manny kaya puwede na niyang gawin muna ang lahat ng dapat niyang gawin bago dumating ang laban, Neri, who also doubles as Pacquiao’s dietician, clarified.
“Ang trabaho na lang namin ngayon ay make him in tip-top shape pagdating ng laban. Maging very sharp siya mentally and physically,” he assured. “Sa kondisyon wala na kaming problema. Sa focus, ganun din, talagang concentrated na siya sa paghahanda.”
“Matagal pa naman ang laban kaya inu-unti-unti namin. Slowly but surely, sabi nga ng Kano,” he said jokingly. “Bago namin buksan ang camp, alam na namin ang gagawin considering all the circumstances. Ang edad ni Manny, ang long lay-off, etc. Alam ni Senador. Actually, kasama siyang nag-drawing ng training program.”
Neri said Pacquiao returned to GenSan the very next morning Wednesday and immediately plunged into training upon arrival.
Dodong Donaire agreed, noting that it wasn’t really that hard implementing the build up program despite what was perceived earlier as odds.
“Para pa rin ngang magsisimula pa lang mag-boksing si Manny. Napakasipag, matiyaga pa rin. Lahat ng suggestion namin sinusunod,” Dodong said. “At ang maganda, nandoon pa in ang lakas at bilis. Kaya hindi naging mahirap sa aming sundin ang programa.”
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