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Roach: Manny ready to fight

Fortune says Pacquiao has edge
By: - Editor / @RLuarcaINQ
/ 02:34 AM April 07, 2014

Manny Pacquiao trains with coach Freddie Roach on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Timothy Bradley on April 12 in a WBO welterweight title bout. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

HOLLYWOOD—Freddie Roach was so pleased with Manny Pacquiao’s form Saturday (Sunday in Manila) that he made the declaration two days earlier than usual.

“He’s 100 percent ready (to fight),” said the Hall of Fame trainer, who usually gives his evaluation on the Monday before Pacquiao closes training camp at Wild Card Gym and proceeds to his Las Vegas fight.

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Pacquiao wraps up his preparations in the gambling capital anew when he tries to dethrone World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Timothy Bradley on April 12.

Actually, Roach gave Pacquiao the thumbs-up sign as early as Thursday, when they had one of their best mitts sessions ever. Pacquiao will spar for three or four more rounds Monday before winding down training at 11 a.m.

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The brief session is intended to loosen up Pacquiao’s muscles while he and Roach review their strategies for the rematch with Bradley.

Pacquiao’s convoy, including the luxury bus bearing his image, will head for Las Vegas later in the afternoon.

Roach gave credit for Pacquiao’s fine form to strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune.

“I swallowed my pride and he (Fortune) proved to be a better fit,” said Roach, who had a falling out with the former Australian heavyweight in 2007 over money matters.

When Roach dispatched former conditioning trainer Alex Ariza last year, he patched things up with Fortune, who now runs a gym bearing his name on nearby Sunset Boulevard.

Fortune took over Pacquiao’s training for his bout against Mexican Jorge Solis in 2007, when Roach was tied up with Oscar De La Hoya.

Fortune, however, downplayed his role in Pacquiao’s newfound speed and power.

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“Manny has good muscle memory, I am just bringing back the old training methods,” said Fortune. “His conditioning is very good.”

Fortune, though, is not dismissing Bradley entirely. “This is not a cakewalk for Manny,” Fortune said.

“He (Bradley) has a big heart and never-say-die attitude. We are preparing hard. You don’t take somebody like him lightly.”

He said Bradley is raring to prove that he deserves credit for his widely criticized split decision victory two years ago.

What gives Pacquiao the edge, according to Fortune, is his speed and power—“a deadly combination.”

Fortune also said WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov, who knocked down Bradley in the 12th round last year before losing by a close unanimous decision, oozes with power but can’t match Pacquio’s speed.

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TAGS: Boxing, Freddie Roach, Justin Fortune, Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, Wild Card
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