by Nick Giongco
Australian conditioning coach Justin Fortune warns Manny Pacquiao not to look at Keith Thurman’s last fight as gauge as to how the undefeated American will perform on July 20 in Las Vegas.
“You don’t see Thurman as that guy against Josesito Lopez (last Jan. 26) as the fighter who will show up on July 20,” said Fortune.
Thurman struggled against Lopez and was even on the verge of losing badly, something Fortune doesn’t see happening next month at the MGM Grand.
“We are not preparing for that kind of Thurman. The Thurman who will fight Pacquiao will be somebody who’s going to be at his best because the fighters Pacquiao’s facing will always be at their best,” said Fortune, who arrived in Manila from the US more than a week ago.
“Thurman moves well and he is a good fighter, not the fighter we saw the last time.”
Pacquiao’s training takes a huge step this week with the kickoff of the sparring sessions.
Tim Tszyu, Australia’s fast-rising super-welterweight, has been asked to fly over from Sydney.
“Manny needs someone he can unload his punches on and Tim fits that type of sparmate,” said Fortune, who brushed aside plans to tap local fighters.
“Pacquiao won’t be able to do that against a local sparring partner.”
By the time the entire team relocates to Los Angeles on June 15 for the most crucial stretch of the preparations, Pacquiao would be ready to begin sparring six to eight rounds, added Fortune.
Wild Card guru Freddie Roach has also lined up a few guys as sparmates.
Thurman, who trains out of St. Petersburg, Florida, insists that he didn’t train like the way he used to against Lopez but guarantees that he will be razor-sharp on July 20.