Justin says Floyd may not fight Manny
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune said yesterday he’s not sure if Floyd Mayweather may want to engage the Filipino icon in a rematch particularly after the near shutout performance over Adrien Broner in Las Vegas last January.

“I think Floyd may not be interested in another fight against Manny,” said Fortune in Los Angeles. “Manny looked good against Broner and maybe, Floyd’s not too keen on risking his undefeated record. That zero in Floyd’s record is important to him. To me, I don’t think it’s that important. Floyd hasn’t fought a real contender in a while. If the rematch doesn’t happen this year, it may not ever happen. If you wait until next year, they’ll be a year older. Floyd will be 43. Fans might lose interest in a rematch if they’re kept waiting too long.”

Fortune said it’s up to Pacquiao and Premier Boxing Champions CEO Al Haymon to decide who’ll be his next opponent. “It also depends on who’s available,” he said. “Right now, I have no idea when Manny’s next fight or who his opponent will be. Manny and Al will determine all that. I’m on the training side so I don’t know what’s going on in the business or promotional side. I stay in touch with Manny. We exchange texts from time to time. I know he’s busy with his work as senator and campaign manager in the coming elections.”

Once a date is set for Pacquiao’s next fight, Fortune said training camp will likely be in Manila for four weeks and in Los Angeles for another four weeks. “Eight weeks should be enough,” he said. “Manny’s always in shape so it’s not hard for him to get back in fighting condition. We’re all back together as a team and I’m sure whomever he fights, we’ll do a solid camp and the result will be what we want. It’s worked before, it’ll work again.”

If Mayweather declines to fight Pacquiao, Fortune said there are more than enough big-name fighters ready to step in. The top candidates in Fortune’s lineup are Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. Fortune said IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. isn’t in his wish list.

“Spence is a big 147-pounder,” said Fortune. “He’s scheduled to fight Mikey Garcia (in Arlington, Texas on March 16) and he’ll win. Garcia’s too small and Spence will overpower him. I honestly don’t know why Garcia took the fight.” Spence, 29, has a 24-0 record, with 21 KOs. He’s 5-9 1/2 with a 72-inch wingspan. Garcia, the IBF/WBC lightweight champion, has never fought in the welterweight division and the highest he has scaled for a fight was 139 1/2.

Fortune said his choice for Pacquiao’s next opponent is Danny Garcia. “It’s not my call but I like Danny because he comes to fight,” he said. “It’ll be an exciting war. Danny’s an easy sell because his father (Angel) is a loudmouth. Thurman is another option but didn’t look too good in his last fight (against Josesito Lopez). If Manny wants to fight Thurman, now’s the time.”

Garcia, 30, is 5-8 1/2 with a 68 1/2-inch reach. His record is 34-2, with 20 KOs. The Puerto Rican holds stoppage wins over Brandon Rios, Paul Malignaggi, Samuel Vargas, Amir Khan and Erik Morales. His other victims include Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson. Garcia’s next fight is on April 20 against Adrian Granados. He’s a former WBC welterweight and WBA/WBC superlightweight champion.

Thurman, 30, underwent surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow then injured his left hand in training and had a 22-month layoff before fighting Lopez last January, surviving a scare in the seventh round enroute to a win by majority decision. Thurman is 5-7 1/2 with a 69-inch reach.  His record is 29-0, with 22 KOs. The WBA recognizes Thurman as welterweight champion in the “super” category and Pacquiao in the “regular” category. A duel between the two will settle who deserves to be the “real” WBA titleholder.

Another option is Porter who is the WBC welterweight ruler. The former Pacquiao sparmate has a 29-2-1 record, with 17 KOs. Porter, 31, is 5-7 with a 69 1/2-inch wingspan. He’s set to defend his throne against Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas in Carson City, California, on March 9.

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