Manny Pacquiao works the mitts with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Wendell Rupert Alinea/MP Promotions
Roach 'pleased' with Pacquiao's first day at Wild Card
Dino Maragay ( - June 20, 2019 - 2:04pm

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) made his return to Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Los Angeles to resume training for his mammoth clash with Keith Thurman next month.

And Freddie Roach, now a training consultant for the Filipino icon, liked what he saw.

“I was very pleased with Manny’s first day at Wild Card. [Assistant trainer] Buboy [Fernandez] and [strength and conditioning coach] Justin [Fortune] have him in great condition for the rigors of this part of training camp,” said the bespectacled cornerman. 

Roach said a stubborn Pacquiao even went the extra mile in sparring.

“We were scheduled for six rounds of sparring and Manny insisted on going eight with two sparring partners,” he added.

Pacquiao, the WBA’s “regular” welterweight champion, will get a crack at Thurman’s undefeated record (the fighter from Clearwater, Florida is 29-0, with 22 knockouts) along with the American’s “super” title.

The 40-year-old Pacquiao, as was the case in his recent fights, will again be at a disadvantage in terms of youth against Thurman, who is 10 years his junior. 

But that doesn’t bother Roach at all.

“Manny loves beating undefeated fighters, especially the younger ones,” he continued.

“Heck, at this stage of the game, everyone Manny faces is younger. But that makes it fun for Manny,” added Roach.

Pacquiao, who arrived in Los Angeles over the weekend, begins training day with a morning run either at the flat Pan Pacific Park or the more challenging, uphill Griffith Observatory. In the afternoon, he checks in at Roach’s famous sweatshop for the hard grind.

Roach, for his part, is intrigued by the Pacquiao-Thurman collision, which will be staged at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 20 (July 21 Manila time).

“This is a great match-up. Thurman has youth and size. I’m sure he will come into the ring with 160 pounds behind his big right hand. Manny will be under 150 [pounds],” Roach explained.

“But we will have speed and movement. Winning this fight will come down to taking chances. Manny proved in his last two fights, against [Lucas] Matthysse and [Adrien] Broner, that he has his killer instinct back. Thurman better be prepared to shoot the works.”

Roach, a betting man, said he looks forward to a huge payday putting his money on his prized ward, who has been installed as the underdog against Thurman.

“I haven’t made a bet in a long time, but the oddsmakers have brought me back.  I’m going to make a huge score betting on Manny in this fight,” said Roach.

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