Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Don’t be surprised if three-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach is grinning from ear to ear right on his first day in training camp with boxing star Manny Pacquiao.
Roach expressed surprise at how the boxing icon appears to be in shape with their eight-week training camp still to go the full grind.
The American trainer found this out after going nine rounds with Pacquiao working on the mitts.
“He was very sharp. If I didn’t know better, I would think he was in the gym for a month now," said the American trainer following the afternoon workout at the Shape-Up gym inside the Cooyesan Hotel along Naguillan Road in Baguio City.
“His combinations are fast and his power is already there. He wanted to make an impression on me and he certainly did."
Roach immediately went to work after arriving Tuesday in the summer hideaway shortly before noon, along with conditioning coach Alex Ariza and Wild Card Gym security head Rob Peters from a 14-hour flight from Los Angeles, California.
Initially hesitant to conduct training camp here because of the expected many distraction on Pacquiao, Roach appeared to be satisfied with the way things unraveled in his reunion with his prized boxer.
“It has nothing to do with the Philippines. The only problem I have is the jetlag and going back. So I want to make sure we’re going to have enough time to come back and adjust and be 100 percent," he said.
For the next four weeks, the country’s Summer Capital will be Team Pacquiao’s home as it primes up for a November 14 title fight with current World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight king Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.
The 30-year old pound-for-pound best fighter in the world won’t start sparring until Tuesday next week, although Roach said training would be made closed-door in the coming days.
Shawn Porter and Urbano Antillon, handpicked by Roach to be Pacquiao’s sparmates, are coming by Sunday from the U.S.
Thursday next week, a media day is scheduled to be held at the gym in time for the arrival of Top Rank big boss Bob Arum.
Middle of October, Pacquiao, Roach and the rest of the team will fly to the U.S. and resume the final phase of training camp at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
And Roach couldn’t help but look forward to the coming days as he expects Pacquiao to get even better. “Without a doubt, this is our best start. He’s now in great shape and I’m fine with that."