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Sports

No jet lag for Manny

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

It wasnt even 24 hours after super WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao arrived in Los Angeles from Manila that he hit the road and did calisthenics at the Pan Pacific Park last Monday morning. Pacquiao was supposed to arrive in L.A. Saturday night but an unexpected landing at Haneda Airport in Tokyo to attend to a medical emergency involving a passenger and a return to Manila to rebook the flight delayed his final landing to Sunday afternoon.

But despite the late arrival, Pacquiao stuck to his original schedule of doing early morning roadwork and reporting for work at the Wild Card Gym in the afternoon. Pacquiao was reunited with L. A.-based Australian strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune at the park and Freddie Roach at the gym. MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said he wasnt surprised that Pacquiao showed up for training like there was no delay in his flight.

Its been almost two years since I saw the Senator in person working out,” said Gibbons. “He was absolutely amazing. He was actually quicker and more explosive than when I saw him train for the Keith Thurman fight. Ageless Errol Spence is going to think hes in another car wreck on Aug. 21 (when they fight). Its man down!” Gibbons referred to the car accident that left Spence with broken teeth and bruises all over his body in 2019. Pacquiao and Spence will face off at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with multiple world titles in the 147-pound division on the line.

Well-known L.A.-based sports photographer Jhay Otamias was at the park and gym to snap Pacquiao and he, too, was impressed. “Masaya ensayo ni Senator, palagi naka smile,” said Otamias. “Gusto niyang klima sa L.A. at medyo mainit, sabi kay Justin. Daming tao nanood sa park. Walang jet lag. Nag-mitts kaagad kay Freddie sa gym. Katawan ni Senator, hindi nagbago.”

Pacquiao started light training in late May then spent a month in General Santos City increasing the intensity of his workouts, including sparring with local welterweight Jayar Inson who resembles Spence in size and style. He has seven more weeks to get ready for Spence and Fortune said thats more than enough time to build up to 100 percent.

California welterweights Alexis Rocha and Maurice Lee will spar with Pacquiao starting tomorrow (L.A. time). Rocha, 23, is a 5-10 southpaw with a 70-inch reach and a record of 17-1, including 11 KOs. In his most recent outing, Rocha knocked out Filipino James Bacon in the second round in El Paso, Texas, last month. Lee, 29, is also a 5-10 southpaw and his record is 12-1-2, with five KOs. Spence, 31, stands 5-9 1/2 and has a 72-inch wingspan. The left-hander boasts a 27-0 record, including 21 KOs. Pacquiao, 42, is 5-5 1/2 with a 67-inch reach and a record of 62-7-2, with 39 KOs. Spence holds the IBF and WBC welterweight title belts.

MANNY PACQUIAO
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