HOLLYWOOD—An old deadly punch tinkered a little bit may yet turn out to be the key for Manny Pacquiao to score a knockout over Jessie Vargas on Nov. 5 in Las Vegas.
Assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez referred to it as the “diving punch,” one which he and Pacquiao have been silently practicing even before chief trainer Freddie Roach assumed control of the preparations in Manila late August.
“If it connects, it’s going to be his most impressive win,” Fernandez said Sunday.
“I feel that even if Vargas will try to block, the impact will still be devastating.”
According to Fernandez, the straight punch will have similar effect to the one that flattened Ricky Hatton senseless on his back in the second round in 2009.
Roach got a taste of the diving punch during his intense 12-round mitts session held closed door at Elorde Gym near Mall of Asia last Friday.
That time, Roach was overheard telling Fernandez: “That punch will kill me.”
Fact is, Roach later experienced shoulder pains, prompting the seven-time trainer of the year to relegate the mitts session to Fernandez.
“His punchers are even stronger now,” said Fernandez, baring that the pain shot up from his palms to his shoulders, whenever Pacquiao unleashed power punches.
According to Aquiles Zonio, Pacquiao’s spokesperson, Fernandez, well over 200 pounds, actually stepped backward whenever the hard punches landed.
Fernandez attributed his bosom buddy’s new-found strength to the harder punching bag they’ve been using since training camp started.
“I changed its (punching bag) content to sawdust,” said Fernandez. “To an ordinary boxer it might hurt the knuckles, but, of course, Manny is different.”
A heavy 9-1 favorite to wrest Vargas World Boxing Organization welterweight crown, Pacquiao needs a knockout if he wants to forge a more lucrative fight next year.
The last time Pacquiao scored a knockout was seven years ago, at the expense of Miguel Cotto, in the 12th round.
Fernandez is hopeful that a stronger Pacquiao, who, he claimed is also faster following the coaching staff’s decision to abandon plyometrics this time, will be able to stop Vargas.
After taking a break Sunday, Pacquiao will resume training Monday, doing roadwork in the morning and gym work at Wild Card here in the afternoon.
TIDBITS: Manny Pacquiao and wife Jinkee attended church service then treated Team Pacquiao members and friends to lunch at Kabuki Restaurant in Hollywood. The Pacquiaos later watched a movie and did some shopping.