Manny Pacquiao has gone full-blast in his training for his crossroads fight with pure puncher Brandon Rios, leaving his handlers in high spirits and confident of getting the job done on Nov. 24 in Macau.
“His power is still there,” said training assistant Nonoy Neri, who alternates with Buboy Fernandez in the punch mitts routine, delighted that despite his long hiatus, Pacquiao’s punches remain potent and paralyzing.
The first day of training camp proper kicked off last Monday in General Santos City where Pacquiao will sweat it out until two weeks before the Rios showdown.
Lead trainer Freddie Roach will be arriving in Manila on Oct. 8 or 9 and will immediately fly to General Santos City to hook up with his No. 1 fighter. Roach will be tagging along a sparring partner who will join two others from Korea and Ghana.
“Manny’s doing everything possible to get back on track. There is no hanky-panky,” said Pacquiao’s adviser Mike Koncz.
“I talked to him and he knows the magnitude of this fight. He knows that a win won’t be enough. He has to win big,” said Koncz.
Pacquiao’s last fight—a sixth-round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012—was deemed to be his swan song owing to its brutal end.
But Team Pacquiao is positive there is still a lot left in the tank.
“He just ran into that punch as he was winning the fight,” added Koncz.
A loss to Rios might not actually pushed him into retirement but Pacquiao will likely end up settling for crumbs if he continues to go on should he fail to ease back into his old, fiery ways. (Nick Giongco)
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