No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Manny Pacquiao is stronger than ever

At the peak of his boxing career, WBO welterweight champion and the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Manny Pacquiao is stronger than ever with no signs of slowing down, trainer Freddie Roach said before leaving Manila to fly to Los Angeles last Saturday. “I put on my body bag and Manny hit it harder than the big guys on the US Olympic team whom I trained for two weeks at my gym (Wild Card) and a month in Colorado Springs (the US Olympic training center),” said Roach. “Jorge (Linares), whom we brought to Baguio, told me during a sparring session with Manny, he got it on the jaw and his legs froze. He’d never been hit harder. Once, Manny hit me on the chest while I wore my body bag and it took my breath away. I think he’s stronger and hitting harder than ever.” Pacquiao worked out with Roach in Baguio City for three weeks. Roach flew in after spending a month in Colorado Springs. The team is now in Los Angeles where Pacquiao will train until his traveling party takes off for Las Vegas tentatively the Monday before his title defense against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Nov. 12. “Manny’s about 147 to 148 pounds right now,” said Roach. “We expect him to weigh in at 144 then he’ll come in for the fight just right at about 148 which is where we want him. As for Marquez, if I were his trainer, I’d make him enter the ring at 135 so he doesn’t lose his speed. Marquez is now 38 and if he weighs more than he usually weighs, he’ll be very slow. I think the added weight and his age will slow him down.” Roach said because of his age, this is Marquez’ last chance to get a big paycheck. “That’s why Manny can’t afford to be Mr. Nice Guy in this fight,” said Roach. “He’s going for a knockout. We expect Marquez to use his lead right a lot, that’s his power punch. So Manny can’t step into his power. Marquez will counter like he did in the first two fights. If he starts off with a jab, that’s fine with us. We’re ready for whatever he does. We’ll use movement to stay away from his right. Manny will set the pace and try to make it a physical fight.” Marquez was reportedly guaranteed $5 million for the fight compared to Pacquiao’s $20 million. The left hook put Marquez down four times in their first two meetings. The Mexican was knocked down thrice in the opening round of the first bout and once in the third round of the second. But Roach said the right might do the trick in the third encounter. “That’s my baby, the right hand,” he beamed. “Manny brought him down with the left in the first two fights. Maybe, he’ll do it with the right this time – the overhand right. We’ll take things as they come. We won’t rush but I think it’ll be over in six.” Buboy Fernandez, who joins Roach in Pacquiao’s corner, said the key is to step aside from Marquez’ lead right. “Manny knows when it’s coming,” he said. “Marquez will counter after Manny throws so he’ll have to move away quickly. Huwag magbabad. If Marquez changes his style a bit and jabs, that’s okay with us. We’ll prefer it so Manny can counter with the left hook. I think it’s the left that will put Marquez down. Manny’s too fast and too strong for Marquez.” The third man in Pacquiao’s corner is conditioning coach Alex Ariza who was with the team in Baguio. “Alex does a great job,” said Roach. “I brought him back to Amir (Khan) and he’s working with (Julio Cesar) Chavez (Jr.), too. He knows his stuff.” Roach said Marquez’ tune-up against Likar Ramos last July in Mexico was a joke. “He fought a taxi driver,” he laughed. “Sure, he scored a first round knockout but it didn’t mean a thing. I can’t imagine how that could’ve made him more ready for Manny. But we know Marquez is smart. He gave us problems in the first two fights. I don’t think he’ll give us problems this time. Manny’s a lot stronger, smarter and faster.” by Joaquin Henson | philstar.com
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