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Monday, October 5, 2009

Pacman training enters punishing phase

BAGUIO CITY— Tatooed across the length of the underside of Alex Ariza’s right forearm is a Latin inscription that, when translated, reads: Action is the true measure of intelligence.

And, as far as the strength and conditioning coach of Manny Pacquiao is concerned, action steps up a notch higher today as the ring superstar enters the critical six-week period of his preparation for his fight against reigning WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto.

“We’re going to try to make sure that Manny brings his power with him and we build on his strength as he bulks up without necessarily negating his speed,” said Ariza.

It’s going to be a punishing last six weeks for the reigning pound-for-pound champion who braved the gusty winds, pounding rain and perilous driving conditions to make a tiring road trip and distribute relief goods to victims of Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in Manila on his rest day.

The Pacquiao convoy left here at 6 p.m. Saturday despite reports of landslides, road erosions and flooding along the route out of this vacation haven. He was scheduled to be back here last night.

“More rounds of sparring and lots of hard work,” American trainer Freddie Roach told reporters yesterday, when asked what’s in store for the reigning light welterweight champion.

Pacquiao faces the naturally bigger and stronger Cotto on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas in a championship match pegged at a catch weight of 145 pounds.

“We really don’t start boxing until the last six weeks of the fight,” Roach had earlier said.

Officially, that six-week period started Saturday, when Ariza implemented personally developed isometric exercises that Pacquiao will go through three times a week until two weeks before the fight.

“We’re going to be doing this during sparring days and we’re going to stop 14 days before fight night,” Ariza said.

While Roach has been drilling Pacquiao on strategy—how to fight a smart battle against the plodding and body-hunting Cotto—Ariza will try to even things up between the two combatants in the size and strength department.

“The goal is to create functional muscles,” said Ariza. “The problem with bulking up is that if you do it the wrong way, you could end up flat and sluggish. And that’s what I’m making sure won’t happen.”

Pacquiao is also expected to have a new sparring partner this week in former lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo—who fought an engaging trilogy with the late Diego Corrales.

Slated to arrive Tuesday, Castillo will join American Shawn Porter and Mexican Urbano Atillano in providing the Pacman with Cotto simulation in the ring.

Pacquiao has so far logged 12 rounds of sparring in the first two weeks of camp, but is expected to dramatically increase the number of rounds per day to fully prepare for Cotto.

Roach and his ward have already planted the seeds of strategy, with the Pacman showing off a few moves to reporters at ringside Saturday that, he said, “will be the key to the fight.”

Team Pacquiao will continue training here until Oct. 24, when the entire contingent leaves for California to set up camp at Roach’s Wild Card gym in Hollywood.

Source: inquirer.net

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