by Nick Giongco
Manny Pacquiao is tapping the services of Los Angeles-based cutman Mike Rodriguez for his July 20 showdown with Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Nicknamed “War Tape”, Rodriguez, a homicide detective and a former member of US Air Force, will take over from orthodontist Ed Dela Vega, who worked the Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner fights.
Before Rodriguez came along, the 40-eyar-old Pacquiao worked with Lenny de Jesus, Joe Chavez and Miguel Diaz.
Rodriguez’ acquisition finally completes Team Pacquiao for the Thurman battle that happens in two weeks.
Hall of Famer Freddie Roach and Buboy Fernandez and conditioning coach Justin Fortune the main men in matters of strategy while Nonoy Neri, Roger Fernandez and Marvin Somodio make up the solid support cast.
It was Sean Gibbons, who serves as Pacquiao’s right-hand man, who made it possible for Rodriguez to finally hook up with the Filipino legend.
“I have worked with him many times and all-around good guy,” said Gibbons, who has been making sure that Pacquiao’s camp is in order every day.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao and Roach are going to host an open media workout on Wednesday at the Wild Card Boxing Club.
On July 15, Pacquiao and his team will head for Las Vegas.