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    Pacquiao his old self at the gym
    By Abac Cordero Updated Tuesday October 01, 2013 - 12:00am
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    Pacquiao ABAC CORDERO

    MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao is bringing in a good old hand in a bid to change his fortune inside the ring.

    The Filipino boxing icon, according to his adviser, Mike Koncz, has decided to once again tap the services of Australian strength guru Justin Fortune.

    Pacquiao is stepping up his training for a decisive match with Brandon Rios on Nov. 24 at the Cotai Arena of The Venetian in Macau.

    Pacquiao lost his two fights against Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez last year, raising doubts if he'll ever be the same again.

    Alex Ariza, the strength coach from Colombia, is no longer around after a falling-out with trainer Freddie Roach, and to take his place is Fortune.

    Ariza is now on the other side of the fence working for Rios but has maintained that he's still hoping for the best for Pacquiao.

    Fortune served Pacquiao during the Filipino's breakthrough fights with Marco Antonio Barrera,  Marquez and Erik Morales in the early and mid-2000s.

    But after the Jorge Solis fight in San Antonio in 2007, Fortune and Roach had their own falling out. The former heavyweight contender from Australia put up his own gym along Sunset Boulevard, just a couple of blocks away from the Wild Card Gym.

    It didn't take long, however, for Roach and Fortune to patch things up, and now they're once again willing to work together for Pacquiao.

    Fortune, who looks more like a bodybuilder than a boxer, is scheduled to arrive in the country on Oct. 6 to oversee Pacquiao's conditioning. Roach flies in the following day.

    Pacquiao worked out for more than two hours at the MP Tower Gym in Manila yesterday afternoon, and said "someone" is coming in as his conditioning coach.

    But he did not say whether it's Fortune.

    Pacquiao trained hard before a small but appreciative crowd, doing eight heavy rounds with the mitts with Jonathan Penalosa, and working on the heavy bag.

    Pacquiao spent time with the double-end bag, skipped ropes and did his normal abdominal exercises. During breaks he chatted with friends, even cracking jokes.

    Pacquiao had late lunch after the afternoon workout, and had planned to play basketball at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum last night.

    In a short interview at the gym, Pacquiao said he's out to get the job done.

    "I need to focus on training and focus on the fight. First of all, we need to win this fight," said the most exciting boxer of this generation.

    He's still the same old Pacquiao.

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