Manny looking Sharp in Training!
By Roger Grajeda
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – I’m here live from General Santos City at the request of Manny Pacquiao , the 35-year-old WBO welterweight titleholder who will face Chris Algieri on Nov. 22 at The Venetian in Macau at a catchweight of 144 pounds to test out how he feels at a lighter weight, with his next fight to be at junior welterweight, says head trainer Freddie Roach.
“That’s the only reason we’re going to ‘44, that’s our choice, not theirs,” Roach said Monday at General Santos City.
Roach says that a move to junior welterweight would open up new fight possibilities, mentioning first a clash with RING champion Danny Garcia.
“There’s a lot of competition in the 140-pound division, a lot of them are going to 147 because they want to fight Manny for the bigger money but as soon as Manny goes to 140 all of those will come back down,” said Roach.
The eight-division titleholder last fought at junior welterweight in 2009, when he knocked out lineal champion Ricky Hatton in two rounds. He hasn’t scored a knockout since scoring a 12th-round knockout of Miguel Cotto that year.
“He’s never been a big puncher at 147,” said Roach. “I don’t think he’s lost his punch or his killer instinct; he’s just been fighting bigger, stronger guys. I think the knockouts will still start coming again at 140.”
Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 knockouts) is still in the early stages of camp for his bout with Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs), which will be his first defense of the welterweight title he won back from Timothy Bradley in their rematch earlier this year.
Pacquiao worked four rounds in sparring on Saturday with California-based lightweight Stan Martyniouk and will work with Martyniouk plus welterweight Mike Jones on Tuesday. Viktor Postol, THE RING’s No. 9-rated junior welterweight, is also expected to join but is being delayed due to visa issues, says Roach. Unbeaten junior welterweight prospect Jose Ramirez is on standby to join camp should the need arise.
Former WBC lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco and former IBF super middleweight beltholder Lucian Bute are also in camp training with Roach.
Conditioning coach Justin Fortune, who has been in the Philippines for two weeks working with Pacquiao, says that his conditioning is strong already.
“He’s right on schedule. If anything, I have to pull him back a little bit,” said Fortune. “Manny’s always very fit anyways, so it gives us a good base to work off of. So we have to be careful to make sure he doesn’t do too much.”
Roach says he has given Pacquiao permission to play limited minutes in the season opening game of the Philippine Basketball Association on Saturday, where he plays with the Kia Sorentos as a point guard and coach. Pacquiao will have to sit out the remaining games, however, with all basketball activities to cease four weeks out from the fight.
“He likes to do it and it helps his conditioning but doesn’t replace his roadwork,” said Roach. “He told me he’s going to go into the game, make an appearance and coach most of the game. As long as that’s the way it is, I told him he can do that, I have no problem.”